Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues
Remembering John Lewis (1940–2020)
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
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: Magnolia Pictures’ documentary I Am Not Your Negro (now on Amazon Prime); Pop Culture Collaborative’s Imagining a Future Beyond White Supremacy; The Opportunity Agenda’s Working with Cultural Influencers and The Power of Pop; Color of Change’s A Dangerous Distortion of Our Families; Movement for Black Lives’A Vision for Black Lives
- Hashtag: #JamesBaldwin
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Voice; The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights' The Great Poll Closure; Social Media Guidance; Protecting Our Voting Rights Important Now More Than Ever; Misinformation Nation: The Threat to America’s Federal Data and Civil Rights; Demos' The Voting Rights Fight Of Our Generation
- Hashtags: #RestoreTheVote; #VotingRights
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Racial Divide in Attitudes Towards the Police; Implicit Bias and the Limitations of Video Footage in Tackling Police Brutality and Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice; Movement for Black Lives’ A Vision for Black Lives; Magnolia Pictures’ documentary “Whose Streets?” (currently on Amazon Prime)
- Hashtags: #MichaelBrown; #Ferguson; #BlackLivesMatter; #racialjustice
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Standing Rock, Ferguson or Mexican Border, ‘We Are All Related; IllumiNative’s Reclaiming Native Truths and Change the Story toolkit; Rebecca Nagle’s podcast, This Land; National Congress of American Indians’ Tribal Juvenile Justice Background & Recommendations
- Hashtags: #WeAreIndigenous; #NativeTruth; #IllumiNative
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s What does safety really mean in America? and The Relationship Between Racial Integration and the Duty to Further Fair Housing; Densho’s Righting a Wrong and Why This Matters Now
- Hashtags: #NeverAgainIsNow; #NoCampsNoCages; #StopRepeatingHistory; #NeverAgainIsNow
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.
- Messaging tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Create Fair and Effective Policing Practices and Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice
- Hashtag: #WattsRebellion
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Working with Cultural Influencers and Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice; Sourcebooks’ Hip Hop Speaks to Children; Laban Carrick Hill’s When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and The Creation of Hip Hop; The Rethinking Schools’ Rhythm and Resistance: Teaching Poetry for Social Justice
- Hashtag: #hiphopbirthday
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.
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.
- Take action: Join a social media storm at 2 p.m. ET
- Messaging and communication tools: Equal Pay Today’s 2020 Toolkit; Inequality.org’s Ten Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide; The Opportunity Agenda’s Talking About Economic Justice and Shifting the Narrative on Poverty;
- Hashtags: #BlackWomensEqualPay and #BlackWomenCantWait
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.
- Take Action: Join the "Truth about Social Security" tweetstorm from 2-3pm ET. See resources and hashtags below
- Messaging and communication tools: Social Security Works' Tweetsheet and social media graphics; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Social Security Lifts More Americans Above Poverty Than Any Other Program; National Employment Law Center's Work Benefits - Ensuring Economic Security in the 21st Century
- Hashtags: #SocSec84; #TruthAboutSocialSecurity
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s The Case of the Cultural Influencers; Working with Cultural Influencers; Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice and Create Fair and Effective Policing Practices
- Hashtags: #TakeAKnee; #ImWithCap
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda's Communications to Protect Dreamers and our Nation’s Values; United We Dream's latest resources; The National Immigration Law Center's DACA resources
- Hashtags: #HereToStay; #DefendDACA
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: 400 Years of Inequality’s timeline and Guidebook to Planning Your Place-Based Observance; The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice
- Hashtags: #400YearsofInequality
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.
- Messaging tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Talking About Poverty & Economic Opportunity Today: Three Core Pillars and A Window of Opportunity: Media and Public Opinion on Poverty in America
- Hashtags: #HandsOff; #Headstart; #EconOpp4All
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.
- Messaging tools: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' SNAP Supports Seniors’ Health; Medicaid Works for Seniors and SNAP Helps Millions of Low-Income Seniors
- Hashtag: #seniorcitizensday
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Talking About Poverty & Economic Opportunity Today: Three Core Pillars and Shifting the Narrative on Poverty; The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ TANF at 22: Cash Income Is Vital to Families Living on the Edge and Potential Changes to House TANF Bill’s “Universal Engagement” Approach Would Discourage States From Helping Those With Greatest Needs
- Hashtag: #HandsOff
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The New York Times’ 1619 Project and podcast; 400 Years of Inequality’s timeline and Guidebook to Planning Your Place-Based Observance; The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice; UNESCO’s The Slave Route: breaking the wall of silence and Legacies of Slavery: A Resource Book for Managers of Sites and Itineraries of Memory
- Hashtags: #1619Project; #400YearsofInequality; #FightRacism
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Tips for Putting Intersectionality into Practice; Social Justice Sexuality Project’s Intersecting Injustice: A National Call to Action Addressing LGBTQ Poverty and Economic Justice for All; Center for American Progress' Protecting Basic Living Standards for LGBTQ People; Making Gay History podcast’s episode Marsha P. Johnson & Randy Wicker
- Hashtag: #MarshaPJohnson
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Tips for Talking about the President’s Pardon of Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio
- Hashtag: #Arpaio
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: Southern Poverty Law Center's Challenging the whitewashed history of women’s suffrage; National Park Service’s African American Women and the Nineteenth Amendment; New York Times Editorial Board’s When the Suffrage Movement Sold Out to White Supremacy; Zinn Education Project’s Seneca Falls, 1848: Women Organize for Equality
- Hashtag: #19thAmendment
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice; Building a Narrative to Address Violence in the U.S. and Opportunity for Black Men and Boys; Movement for Black Lives’ A Vision for Black Lives
- Hashtag: #EmmettTill
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.
- Messaging tools: The Opportunity Agenda’s Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism and Racial Justice and Talking about Economic Justice
- Hashtags: #ihaveadream; #civilrights
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.
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.
- Messaging and communication tools: The Opportunity Agenda's Talking About Economic Justice; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' Factors Affecting SNAP Caseloads and Senate Agriculture Committee’s Bipartisan Farm Bill Strengthens SNAP and Avoids Harming SNAP Households; Center for American Progress' Tax Cuts for the Top 1 Percent Cost More Than SNAP and The Sargent Shriver National Center for Poverty Law's The House GOP Budget: A Recipe for More Hunger
- Hashtags: #HandsOffSNAP; #SNAPMatters