The Amp

August 1, 2020

Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues

Remembering John Lewis (1940–2020)

John Lewis

As August begins, we remember John Lewis, the civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman who died July 17. The moving final words he wrote were published July 30, the day of his funeral, according to his wishes. Readers of The Amp will appreciate his advice to, "study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time... The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time."  Read the full essay here (New York Times)

Upcoming Media Hooks & Events

August 2

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On this day in 1934, writer James Baldwin was born. Baldwin was an outspoken and influential advocate for racial justice. Use this anniversary to discuss the role of artists and culture shifters in challenging white supremacy. Cite the values of Voice and Equality.

August 6

The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on this day in 1965. Since the Supreme Court gutted the act, use this anniversary to talk about the need to pass H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, and enable everyone to participate in our democracy. Point out the values of Equality and Voice.

Night Out for Safety and Liberation

(Rescheduled to October 6, 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis) The Ella Baker Center and its partners' Night Out for Safety and Liberation counter-programs the law-enforcement driven National Night Out held on the first Tuesday of August (also rescheduled) by reimagining what #SafetyIs: dignity, opportunity and freedom for our communities. Use this event to talk about the values of Community and Economic Security.

August 9

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On this day in 2014, a Ferguson, Missouri police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an African-American teenager. His death sparked weeks of protest in Ferguson and outrage across the country. Use this anniversary to discuss police brutality and redefining safety in our communities. Cite the values of Voice and Equality.

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The United Nations has designated today as International Day of the World's Indigenous People. Use this hook to amplify the voices and issues facing Native American communities by citing the values of Economic Security, Equality, and Voice.

August 10

On this day in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which provided reparations for Japanese-Americans who were interned by the U.S. government during World War II. In recognition of the impact of this shameful period in American history, the act gave each surviving internee about $20,000 in compensation (roughly $43,600 in inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars). Today, advocates are comparing these internment camps to the present-day policies of the Trump administration in detaining and separating migrant families and banning Muslim immigrants. Talk about this anniversary by referring to the values of Community, Voice, and Equality.

August 11

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In 1965, the Watts Rebellion was ignited by the violent arrest of an African-American driver in Los Angeles. Use this anniversary to discuss policing and economic opportunity with your networks. Cite the values of Equality and Economic Security.

 

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On this day in 1973, hip hop was officially born. At a dance party in the Bronx, NY, DJ Kool Herc used two turntables to create a “break beat.” Hip hop became a messaging tool for political activism. Some even credit it for violence prevention since some gang members stopped fighting in order to breakdance. Use this anniversary to talk about art and culture’s role in creating social justice. Cite the values of Voice and Community.

August 12

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On this day in 2017, during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, a counter protester, Heather Heyer, was killed. Use this anniversary to talk about the values that Heather was defending: racial justice as exemplified by the values of Equality and Community.

August 13

62 cents

Today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day 2020, the approximate day that an African-American woman must work into the new year to make what a white non-Hispanic man made at the end of the previous year. This is based on the 2020 calculation of 62¢ for every dollar, a mere penny more and nine days earlier than in 2019. Use this news hook to talk about the values of Equality and Economic Security. 

August 14

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On this day in 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act. Use this anniversary to discuss policy changes that would undermine the social safety net by reaffirming the values of Economic Security and Community. 

 

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Today also marks when professional football player Colin Kaepernick first protested racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem in 2016. Use this news hook to talk about the First Amendment right to challenge injustice and the value of Voice.

August 14, 1 p.m. ET: Please join us for a free webinar introducing the new COVID-19 Social Justice Guide. In this webinar, The Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting, Demos, and The Opportunity Agenda will present our new messaging tool, Map The Truth, a COVID-19 Social Justice Guide. Map The Truth is a timely resource for advocates, educators, the media, and people who want -- and need -- to understand the importance of racial justice and how to talk to the community at large about the pandemic and all the related issues that have been laid bare as a result. Register for the webinar here.

August 15

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Susan Simensky Bietila

On this day in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) began to be implemented. This anniversary is important today because DACA recipients and their families are currently under threat as the Trump administration continues to dismantle DACA despite recent Supreme Court rulings. Refer to the values of Community, Voice, and Economic Security when discussing this news hook.

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Woodstock, one of the biggest rock festivals of all time and a cultural touchstone for the late 1960s, began on this day in 1969. Use this anniversary to talk about art and culture’s role in creating social justice. Cite the values of Voice and Community.

Democratic and Republican National Conventions

The Democratic National Convention (August 17-20) in Milwaukee and Republican National Convention (August 24-27) in Charlotte are both modified to be mainly virtual events amid the Covid-19 crisis. President Trump had proposed to hold events in Tallahassee, Florida when North Carolina could not guarantee a full capacity arena would be allowed, against public health recommendations. Since then, the crisis in the U.S. has worsened under Trump's neglect of the issue. Both conventions will be held virtually except for essential business.

August 20

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On or about August 20, 1619, the first enslaved people from Africa arrived in North America. As 400 Years of Inequality writes, “Nearly 400 years of division have created an apartheid society: we need a new social infrastructure to carry us through the challenges of climate change, decaying physical infrastructure, rapidly evolving jobs, underperforming schools, uneven access to health care and lack of affordable housing.” Throughout this year, communities and organizations across the country are addressing these inequalities by sharing their stories of oppression and resistance. Discuss this anniversary by citing the values of Voice, Equality, and Economic Security. 

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On this day in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act into law. This created Head Start and nine other federal programs to combat poverty. Use this hook to discuss the benefits that these programs have had for Americans and how current Congressional proposals could undermine them. Reference the values of Economic Security and Community.

August 21

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On this day in 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring today National Senior Citizens Day. Use this hook to discuss how safety net programs are vital for elderly Americans. Use the values of Economic Security and Community.

 

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In 2018, men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declared a National Prison Strike in response to the riot at the Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina, where seven people lost their lives. The strikers demanded “humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.” Cite the values of Redemption and Voice when discussing the anniversary of the strike.

August 22

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On this day in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, known as Welfare Reform.”  The act created Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which Congress is currently considering changing drastically. Use this anniversary to talk about the need for safety programs and the values of Economic Security and Community.

August 23

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Today, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognizes the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. This year, the day has even more resonance in the U.S. with the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved people from Africa. Cite the values of Voice, Equality and Community when talking about this event.

August 24

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by Ruben Guadalupe Marquez

Today is the birthday in 1945 of LGBTQ activist Marsha P. Johnson, a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. She was a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, and S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) along with Sylvia Rivera. When discussing Marsha P. Johnson’s birthday, cite the values of Economic Security, Community, and Voice.

August 25

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Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC

On this day in 2017, President Trump granted a pardon to Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his obstruction of justice conviction. By pardoning him, the president sent a message that civil liberties are only for some, and that he is fine with law enforcement flouting the very laws they are meant to uphold. Other sheriffs, like Butler County’s Richard Jones, are continuing to follow Arpaio’s example. When discussing this anniversary, cite the values of Equal Justice and Community.

 

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by Meredith Stern

On this day in 1925, A. Philip Randolph and colleagues launched the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). The union was was the first labor organization led by African Americans to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor and played a vital role in U.S. labor and civil rights movements. Discuss this anniversary by citing the values of Voice and Economic Security. 

August 26

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Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C.

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was formally adopted. While a groundbreaking accomplishment, it only gave white women the right to vote since Jim Crow laws prevented many women of color from exercising this right for decades. Cite the values of Equality and Voice when talking about this anniversary.

August 28

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On this day in 1955, African-American teenager Emmett Till was abducted for allegedly offending a white woman. His brutalized body was found a few days later. Today, vandals continue to tear down and shoot historical markers that were erected to recognize Till’s death. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Community when discussing this anniversary.

 

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During the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on this day 56 years ago. Use this anniversary to remind your audiences about the importance of reaffirming our values, as exemplified by Dr. King’s speech. Cite the values of Community, Voice, and Equality.

August 29

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On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi . The humanitarian disaster that followed laid bare racial and economic inequities and served as a precursor to recent hurricanes like Harvey and Maria. Use the anniversary to discuss the need for equitable infrastructure spending and emergency assistance. Cite the values of Community and Economic Security.

August 31

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In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act, which formalized the federal program now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Trump administration has attacked SNAP benefits through executive orders over the objections of Congress. Use this hook to discuss protecting a program that supports the economic security of families and protects the American values of Community and Economic Security. 

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