Fight for Freedom: “To Do” list

Bill Newman’s (and others) “To Do List” under a Trump Administration:

This is the list that was read at the December 19 “Fight for Freedom” panel at JFK Middle School. If you have any corrections, updates, or items that you think should be added, submit them here at the bottom of the page!

  1. Protest, march, demonstrate. A lot.
  2. Do something every day or week or month. Check out
  3. Donate your time to organizations you believe in.  There are many local ones:
  4. Help with resettlement of refugees here in Northampton. Check with Catholic Charities.
  5. Help new Americans—there is a lot to do. Contact the Center for New Americans in Northampton to volunteer. You don’t have to be an expert. But if you have professional expertise, donate some time. Take on a client.
  6. Support sanctuary Communities, Cities, towns, campuses. Learn about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s [ICE’s] Sensitive Location Directive. Let’s make the entire Valley a “sensitive Location.” No ICE raids in our towns.
  7. Inform your elected officials about your support for Sanctuary Cities/Campuses/ towns. Find out who your elected officials are here.
  8. Work with your faith-based group to organize itself as a sanctuary.
  9. Set up a Know Your Rights workshop. Teach others. Use your rights; don’t let them atrophy. Don’t forfeit them unknowingly. Learn, for example, about your right to videotape law enforcement officers while they are conducting official business. In 2017, a cell phone camera can act to prevent official violence and can bring a measure of justice after-the fact. Learn what questions you can refuse to answer and what demands you may refuse without breaking any law.
  10. Encrypt your phone. Now. Don’t help the government surveil you and your friends and political co-workers.
  11. Give money to worthy organizations: civil rights, civil liberties, and immigrant organizations, NGOs that help mitigate humanitarian disasters. Give regularly. Set up a monthly contribution.
  12. Make telephone calls to the Governor’s Office. Are Massachusetts State Police really going to act as deputy enforcers for ICE? As of now, yes they are.
  13. Help mitigate the Real ID law. In Massachusetts, proof of lawful entry to the state is now required in order to get a driver’s license. Can you give a ride to someone who needs it?
  14. More calls! Under Trump (and Attorney General Sessions?), the Department of Justice will become a force for voter suppression, an enemy of our civil liberties and civil rights. You can call and express your opinion.
  15. Use the Massachusetts Attorney General’s hotline (1-800-994-3228) to report hate crimes or fill out a civil rights complaint form at http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/your-rights/civil-rights/civil-rights-complaint.html.
  16. See something, say something. If you hear something racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, anti-semitic, etc., say something. It’s not easy, but we all need to do this.
  17. Support your local and state officials who are fighting to do the right thing. Let them know that you appreciate their work. E-mail, call, or write to let them know.
  18. We all need to be organizers. Organize your faith-based community to call, contribute, write, and picket. Look at what Amnesty International accomplishes with letter-writing campaigns.
  19. Organize your non faith-based communities. Don’t miss opportunities to talk. Is there a discussion about politics at your upcoming high-school, college, or professional school reunion? Why not?
  20. Build coalitions; even unlikely ones. Your organization can work with out-of-state groups that agree with you about an issue (e.g. public education) even if you disagree with those same groups on a host of other issues. These coalitions may defend social security from attacks.
  21. Support National Politicians. Senators McCain and Graham, for example, are fighting for an investigation into Russia’s manipulation of the presidential election. Write, call. Say thanks. Some issues transcend party partisanship. This is one of them—at least for a few people.
  22. Support criminal justice reform in Massachusetts. The issue will be before the legislature this session. Contact you state representative and senator about this.
  23. Contribute to bail funds. People should not stay in jail and be found guilty because they are poor, but in Massachusetts /and across the country, they are. Use this link to donate to the Massachusetts bail Fund: http://www.massbailfund.org/donate.html
  24. Preserve fundamental liberty. States are laboratories of democracy, and the Massachusetts constitution provides more rights than the federal constitution. Our state, through our Attorney General, can guarantee rights that the federal government will attempt to deny everyone in the U.S. Support those efforts to preserve fundamental liberty.
  25. Support states that support rights. What can you do support states on the right side of history? Where is your group having its convention? Consider choosing a location in a state your group wants to support.
  26. Help tip the scales. Do volunteer to work in states where just a few votes decided the electoral college vote; Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Pennsylvania. These are wonderful places for a summer vacation and you’ll meet a lot of interesting people.
  27. Adopt a precinct.
  28. Write a letter to an elected official. Letters matter more than on-line petitions or e-mails. Elected officials appreciate that a little more work goes into a letter.
  29. Are you willing to concede eight years to Trump? If not, start now to prevent him from gaining a second term. The Democratic Party would like to hear from you. Leave them a comment or get their mailing address and phone number at http://my.democrats.org/page/s/contact-the-democrats 
  30. GET TRAINED in civil disobedience! There will likely be massive demonstrations against Trump that will most assuredly be met with repression from law enforcement. Learn how to minimize the chances that you will be over-charged. Learn to avoid getting provoked by undercover law enforcement agents and right wingers in your midst. There are a number of mediation services that can offer this kind of training.
  31. Use social media wisely and well. A 2015 meta study in the journal Information, Communication & Society “Social Media Use and Participation: A Meta-Analysis of current research” shows a positive correlation between social networking sites and involvement in civic or political engagement.
  32. Support efforts to flag false news stories planted by the right wing. (If you see it on Google news, e-mail Google. If you see it on Yahoo! News, contact Yahoo!)
  33. Work locally to build national infrastructure. We need to have available an infrastructure of accurate and helpful information. For example, support National Priorities Project and Represent.US.
  34. Talk to people with whom the conversation might be difficult; relatives or people you know in purple states with whom you tend to avoid political conversations. A lot of people voted for Trump against their own interests or influenced by right-wing crazy social media. YOU can shine a light. Will you commit to starting a conversation?
  35. Keep publicizing the fact that TRUMP LOST THE POPULAR VOTE BY ALMOST 3 MILLION votes. Half of his supporters are convinced that he won the popular vote. We have to do everything in out power to continue to prove that he has no mandate.
  36. Write or reach out to friends or relatives in other states who are at least concerned about Trump. You might inspire them to increase their political and civic engagement.
  37. Fight NOW for the millionaires’ tax on the ballot in Massachusetts in 2018. A person earning $2 million per year will pay an additional $28,000 in tax. Not much for that person, but that dedicated tax can guarantee quality public education and transportation infrastructure. Remember, when the Republicans cut programs that help people, they are hurting their own states and voters. Generally speaking, red states get more money from the federal government than blue ones.
  38. Ask Governor Baker to commute the sentences of people in jail or prison for low-level drug offenses. Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont has just commuted the sentences of persons serving time for marijuana offenses. Haven’t mandatory minimums and draconian sentences destroyed enough families and communities?
  39. Form a study group or a women’s group or a men’s group. Become knowledgeable about an issue. How about the [name of town] committee to expose the truth about [issue or politician]? This is more than socializing. This is building a network and a community. There is strength and safety in numbers.
  40. Educate yourselves. We need to read the hateful garbage that, for example, Breitbart News spews forth. We need to know what totalitarian social networks are saying.
  41. Send love. Seriously. Support your allies, colleagues, and friends. For example, it’s really cold at Standing Rock. The water protectors there have been extraordinary. How can you let them know how much we admire their tenacity and courage? Knowing that people on the outside care is meaningful.
  42. Unify behind the issue of Climate Change. The future of earth is at stake. There is no time to spare.
  43. Stay involved/get more involved in the political process. Gerrymandering is horrifying, the electoral college is anachronistic and undemocratic, and right wingers control the House, the Senate, the White House, and the Courts. Get involved in raising awareness and advocating for changes.
  44. Let bygones be bygones. The primaries are over. Those of us who believe in equality and liberty have so much more in common than we have differences. We have to work together. Every ounce of energy that we spend fighting each other is energy that could have been spent fighting Trump. We can’t afford to do that. He and his appointees are dangerous beyond words.
  45. Have an answer to the question, what have I done today? This week? Have I contributed money, written a letter, held a sign, attended a vigil, called the Governor’s office, thanked a local official, participated in a study group, given to a bail fund, made plans to attend the next march on Washington, agreed to assist an immigrants’ rights group, sent support to an ally? The answer here is both personal and collective. There is no guarantee of success. But we need to do everything we can. And if we do that, we may save democracy and equality in America.
  46. Be sustained by what Martin Luther King Jr. said: “The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” Find inspiration in Robert Kennedy’s words: “Each time a person stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Stay strong. Be creative. And let’s stay together.
  47. Add ideas to this list; it was not remotely drafted as a comprehensive document. It is intended only as a beginning. You may have gotten to this point and said, how could you have not mentioned or emphasized ____________. I agree with that criticism. Let’s get to work.
  48. Learn of more ways to resist in The Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/.
  49. Join the Three Million Bumper Sticker Campaign. Contact pauldspector@gmail.com, ask for a bumper sticker, help us all stiffen our spines and stare down the threat.
  50. End the electoral college. Join the fight to pass the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/.

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