A democracy cannot thrive where power remains unchecked and justice is reserved for a select few. Ignoring these cries and failing to respond to this movement is simply not an option — for peace cannot exist where justice is not served. ~John Lewis
The women wear yellow shirts and bike helmets. They’re vaguely your age, or mine, or our aunt’s. They look like a friend you had. A former college roommate, maybe. Or that woman you nod at in the grocery store because you see each other, seemingly, every time you go shopping.
The men wear leaf-blowers, slung across their backs. The warlords of suburbia, they’re comfortable with the weight of it. They look like your friend’s husband. Or that boy you used to date, years ago. They probably tell dad jokes and have a kegerator in the garage.
And there they stand. The everypeople. The you’s, the me’s, the we’s.
They stand in the streets of Portland, between a government that is armed and ready to oppress, and the people who are crying out to be heard.
With their mom jeans and their lawn implements, they’re telling the government – and the world – that nothing could be more regular, or more American, than protest. Than crying out to be heard. Than protecting those who just need to scream.
With their mom hair and their dad bods, they’re the least intimidating protestors you can imagine. They’re pushing back against this administration’s claim that protesters are left-wing radical terrorists by showing just how regular, and normal, and … ordinary they are.
A few years ago someone coined the phrase “protest is the new brunch.” That’s not inaccurate. We’ve come into a new era of civic involvement, that’s marked with marches and protests, sit ins and die ins.
These are not the things to fear.
No, the thing to fear is silence.
The thing to fear is the moment the everymoms lock their doors, and the everydads keep the leaf blowers in the garage. The moment the you’s and the me’s and the we’s decide to stay home because it’s too risky, or too difficult, or that there’s just no use.
So why bother?
A few weeks ago I shared a chapter from The Grapes of Wrath. One section of it speaks to me in this moment: Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live—for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live—for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know—fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.
When we will no longer stand with one another, march in solidarity, lift each other up or shield one another – that is what we must fear.
And that is what we must fight against.
So watching the Wall of Moms in Portland has been another reminder that even though the world is in chaos and our country is in turmoil, we are not unsalvageable.
So long as there are everypeople like you and me who will stand together and link arms to protect and shield the souls who just need to scream. So long as we have that, we’ll be okay.
These are trying times, friends. Stay well.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of July 28, 2020
Tell Congress: Ramp up PPE production
Health care workers fight this pandemic on the frontlines every day. They’re saving our families, our neighbors, and our friends. Yet, nurses are still dying because of shortages in personal protective equipment available for use on the job. Our government isn’t protecting the individuals who are doing so much to protect us.
In response to PPE shortages for health care workers, National Nurses United (NNU) is calling for Senators to support a relief bill with two essential clauses. First, the government must uphold an OSHA emergency temporary standard to protect workers. Second, Congress needs to support the creation of a comprehensive and transparent medical supply chain system that includes the full use of the Defence Production Act to scale up domestic production of PPE.
We can support the demands of National Nurses United by calling our Senators about these two measures. Both of these demands are included in the HEROES Act (which has now been on Senator Mitch McConnell’s desk for over 70 days!). NNU has developed a script for you to use while on the phone with your Senators. Read the script and start dialing!
Windivisble Week of Action
On Monday, Indivisible kicked off their Windivisble Week of Action. (Cute, right?)
Sunday marked 100 days out from the election and this week “Indivisibles” are joining together to call and text voters about one message: winning in November. Their goal is to reach over 20 million voters. You can get involved by signing up to text or call voters at 2020.indivisible.org.
You’ll be in touch with voters who will cast essential ballots in the fight to defeat Trump, flip the Senate, and hold the House. And in case you need some inspiration before you hit the phone lines, listen to this special message from Vice President Joe Biden about the power of effective, direct voter contact.
Michael B. Jordan launched a campaign with Color of Change this week to reform Hollywood: #ChangeHollywood. The initiative calls for commitments from Hollywood to divest from police, invest in anti-racist content, invest in black talent and careers, and invest in black communities. The goal of the work is to create a roadmap for long term changes in the culture of Hollywood. Historically, Hollywood has excluded black talent and upheld systems of racial oppression by using the power of the industry to prop up police departments and silence cultural diversity.
If you happen to be directly connected to Hollywood, I recommend looking through the templates and directories written for executives and individual talents about implementing steps of the roadmap in your work. The website goes into great detail on how each of the four elements of the initiative can be directly achieved on the ground. They are looking for partners within the Hollywood network, so be sure to reach out demonstrating your interest.
If you, like myself, do not directly engage with Hollywood daily, I recommend checking out the research and work Color of Change has done on Hollywood. This is a great educational resource to expand your understanding of racism upheld in American culture. I read through the report and findings of their research on crime TV and learned a lot about normalized injustice in the crime TV genre. You can also read their report on racism in the writer’s room. Once you’ve explored the website, head to Twitter to endorse Michael B. Jordan’s roadmap!
Call your Senators about Unemployment Insurance
At the end of this month, millions of Americans will lose the $600/week unemployment insurance boost written into the last coronavirus relief package. This money has been a lifeline for families across the country facing unemployment because of COVID-related layoffs.
The end of the month also means rent, mortgage, and utility bills are due. The House passed the HEROES Act in May to continue to financially support families through the pandemic, but the Senate is still yet to respond. GOP Senators have been in discussions all week about a potential relief bill that includes $200/week unemployment insurance. For many families, this isn’t sufficient. Coronavirus is still here and jobs are not back. We need the Senate to support unemployed individuals until our economy recovers. Call your Senators today to ask them to support a provision in the next coronavirus relief package that allows unemployed Americans to claim $600/week from the federal government.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.