Nothing is so contagious as example, and we never do any great good or evil that does not produce its like. ~Francois de la Rochefoucauld
[D]on’t ever underestimate the importance that you can have. Because history has shown us courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. ~Michelle Obama
Back in 2015, a young Indian lawyer named Afroz Shah stood with his 84-year-old neighbor and looked out at their local beach. Or rather, they looked out where the beach should have been. In place of sand, trash and plastic was strewn out as far as the eye could see.
They were … disgusted.
But rather than shaking their heads and walking away, they did something courageous, and hopeful, and provocative. And simple.
They put on gloves, and started picking up trash.
Weekend after weekend they returned to the beach to continue their mission of clearing the beach of plastic and filth.
And honestly, that would be enough for a story, wouldn’t it? Voluntarily making a dent in the trash on a beach because it was the right thing to do, taking matters into their own hands, not just sitting on the sidelines and complaining but taking real action – that’s all fantastic stuff.
But the story gets … a little better.
After about six weeks of working on their own, one weekend two other men approached and asked politely: Can we use your gloves?
And that’s when a movement was born.
See – doing good is contagious.
After those first few people joined, more and then more and then even more people joined – pulling plastic from the ocean and digging chip bags out of the sand. What seemed impossible became not only possible – but a reality.
Now more than two years later, the beach is mostly plastic-free, and can once again be enjoyed by everyone – and every living thing.
In fact, sea turtles began using the beach as a nesting ground again – after having been absent for over 20 years.
Shah doesn’t have a degree in environmental studies (that I know of), and he’s not a professional organizer.
He’s someone who just saw something needed to be done, and put on some gloves.
He also isn’t the CEO of some big nonprofit now. He’s still just a regular guy who uses google forms to continue to organize people to go out and clean up waterways – like rivers and mangrove forests. Observers have said that in the 28 weekends he’s been cleaning up the River Mithi, it’s made a huge difference. (There’s nothing like removing 8 tons of trash to make a difference in a waterway…)
All this to say… You may just be one person, but you’re one person. And we don’t give nearly enough credit to all of the wonderful things that one person can do.
Especially because once one person takes action and tries to make the world a better place, other people are sure to follow suit.
Doing good is contagious. Go out there and spread the good.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of June 4, 2019
Tuesday: Pass a Strong Dream & Promise Act!
Again and again, the Trump administration has used our concern for humanity as leverage. When he wants to do something crazy – like build a huge wall on the southern border – he holds our concern over our heads the health and safety of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status Holders (“TPS” holders have been allowed to remain in the United States because their homeland is too dangerous; many have been in the U.S. for decades. You might recall that Trump recently eliminated protections for 300,000 TPS holders – seemingly for no reason) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) holders. The Dream and Promise Act (HR6) would provide permanent relief from the threat of deportation to these groups.
This bill will come up this week in the House – and the GOP will likely use a “Motion to Recommit” to try to derail it. So call this morning and encourage your MOC to vote in favor of a clean bill.
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling to ask Congress(wo)man ___ to vote in favor of HR6, and to vote against any Motion to Recommit. Dreamers, TPS holders and DED holders shouldn’t be used as pawns or bargaining chips, and that’s how the Trump administration has treated them. Will the Congress(wo)man commit to voting in favor of a clean HR6?
Wednesday: Tell Congress Enough is Enough
Tired of the slow-rolling of impeachment? Me too – particularly after Mueller basically said “I did my job – Congress, you need to do yours.” I don’t know why doing the right thing is so darn difficult for some MOCs, but that’s where we are. Time to call your Congresscritter to let him/her know that you expect serious investigation.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because after Robert Mueller made clear in his announcement that (1) he can’t exonerate the president and would have said so if he could and (2) only Congress has the power to hold a president accountable, it’s Congress’s responsibility to take up this investigation. This is pretty clear cut. It isn’t about politics – it’s about the rule of law. What is Congress(wo)man ____ doing to move investigations forward? Has s/he publicly called for impeachment? If not, why not?
Thursday (and friday): Voting is Power!
Friend and fellow Resister Sister Jennifer Hoffman and her glorious team have created a wonderful, month-long action series focused on actions that protect and promote voting rights. The actions are simple, well-researched, and effective. Plus, there’s a way for you to record that you’ve done the actions and/or shared the page – which will help tally how many of us are doing this wonderful, important work.
Check it out here: https://americansofconscience.com/empower-more-people-vote/
This week, rather than including separate actions for Thursday and Friday, check out her list for this week; do as many actions as you can and then check them off so she and her team can record as many responses as possible! And then share the page – let’s make this spread far and wide, shall we?