The Amp

May 1, 2020

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, many long-standing May events have been modified or postponed. Online advocacy is more important now than ever as we shelter in place and understand how existing inequality is manifesting under the challenges of this crisis. See our guidelines for talking about coronavirus using language grounded in inclusion, empowerment, and justice as you find intersections between May hooks and the coronavirus crisis.

Upcoming Media Hooks & Events

During the Month of May


It's Asian-Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate the history of and leaders in the APA community. Amid increased incidents of anti-Asian discrimination and harassment during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is an opportunity to discuss the contributions of Asian-Pacific Americans using the values of Community and Voice.

During May, Community Action Month calls attention to the positive programs by Community Action Agencies that help thousands of families across the U.S. These organizations were founded in 1964 as part of the War on Poverty and funding provided by Community Services block grants. Join the conversation by using the values of Community and Economic Security.

    Jeff W. Gates

    The month of May is also National Mental Health Month, when advocates draw attention to the challenges faced by millions of Americans living with mental illness and push for policies that support them and their families. For criminal justice reform advocates, use this theme to talk about the impact of criminalizing people with mental illness. Cite the values of Mobility, Economic Security, and Community when talking about this hook. 

    During May, the federal Administration on Community Living recognizes Older Americans Month. The campaign is a great opportunity to discuss racial and economic justice. Discuss the values of Community and Economic Security.

      May 1

      by Eric Drooker

      May Day is also known as International Workers' Day. In past years, immigrant leaders and allies have gathered for marches and rallies calling attention to Immigration Issues. Use this opportunity to talk about the values of Community and Economic Security.

      May 3

      Today would have been folksinger and activist Pete Seeger’s 101st birthday. Use Pete’s birthday to talk about the need for artists and activists to move others to support progressive social change and work together for economic and racial justice. Cite the values of Economic Security, Voice, and Community. 


      Also on the same day, but in 1898, civil rights activist and educator Septima Clark was born. Clark is most famous for establishing "Citizenship Schools" which taught reading and citizenship rights to adults throughout the South. Clark often said “Literacy means liberation.” Connect her legacy of activism to the ongoing work for racial and economic justice today. Cite the values of Voice, Community, and Economic Security. 

      May 4


      On this day in 1961, the original group of 13 Freedom Riders left Washington, D.C. on a Greyhound bus to protest segregated bus terminals in the South. Use the anniversary to discuss how today's racial justice activism echoes their pioneering actions and furthers their work. Cite the values of Voice and Mobility.



      Today would have also been the birthday of artist Keith Haring, who was a pioneer in pop and street art on LGBTQ issues. Use his birthday to talk about the importance of artists in the struggle for intersectional social justice. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Community. 

      May 6

      On this day in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur. In 2012, the U.S House of Representatives and Senate formally expressed regret for denying basic freedoms to Chinese Americans. While today's Muslim Ban is an Executive Order, you can draw the comparison to this earlier legislation that is now seen as a shameful act of xenophobia and discrimination based on national origin. On April 10, 2019, Democrats in Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Chris Coons (DE) in the U.S. Senate, introduced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (No Ban) Act, as companion bills H.R. 2214 and S. 1123. The legislation wouldn’t just repeal Trump’s Muslim, asylum, and refugee bans — it would limit the ability for this or any future administration to do something like it ever again. Cite the values of Equality, Voice, and Community when discussing the bills.

      May 8

      On this day in 1973, Governor Nelson Rockefeller enacted the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which became the national policy model for addressing drug use and abuse through the criminal justice system instead of through the medical and public health systems. These laws mandated extremely harsh prison terms for possession or sale of relatively small amounts of drugs. Talk about this anniversary using the values of Redemption and Community. 

      May 10

      On this day 1886, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Yick Wo vs. Hopkins that all people—citizens and non-citizens—had equal protection under the law. The case stemmed from San Francisco’s discriminatory issuing of permits for laundries. The court concluded that the kind of biased enforcement experienced by the plaintiffs amounted to “a practical denial by the state of that equal protection of the law” and therefore violated the provision of the 14th Amendment. Discuss this anniversary citing the values of Equality, Voice, and Community. 

      Mothers' Day

      Mother's Day is an important time to discuss economic and racial justice for families. Forward Together's Mama's Day campaign works to "ensure all families have the rights, recognition, and resources they need to thrive." In 2019, Black Love Bail Out prepared for the holiday by raising money to bail mothers out of jail and working to end money bail. Others have organized around Mothers' Day to oppose family separation and child detention. Use the values of Economic Security and Community.

      May 17


      On this day in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Brown vs. Board of Education that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Several of Trump’s judicial nominees refused to affirm Brown, a troubling sign for advocates. Cite this anniversary by referring to the values of Voice, Equality, and Mobility.

      May 19


      Today is the birthday of two racial justice champions Yuri Kochiyama (1921) and Malcolm X (1925). Talk about their important work with your networks while also asserting the need for ongoing activism to address social and economic injustice. Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Economic Justice. 

      Fighting COVID/Building Power: Workers & Unions on the FrontlinesAn online forum via zoom featuring speakers from Make the Road New York, TWU Local 100, ATU Local 1056, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, and the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.  

        May 21


        On this day in 1968, only a few weeks after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activists formed the Poor People's Campaign and set up a shantytown known as “Resurrection City" on the National Mall to draw attention to poverty in the U.S. Many saw this as an initiative to complete King’s unfinished work. Today the Poor People's Campaign is on a #TruthandPovertyTour across the U.S. Use the anniversary of this action to discuss the values of Community, Voice, and Economic Security.

        This is also Red Nose Day 2020 which, through engagement with celebrities, raises awareness and funds to help children in need. Watch and tweet during the prime time Red Nose Day Special on NBC and look for Red Nose Day face filters in your favorite social media apps. Use this opportunity to discuss the values of Economic Security and Community.

        May 22


        Today is Harvey Milk Day and what would have been the 90th Birthday of one of the nation’s first openly gay elected officials. His life was cut short when he was assassinated in 1978. Milk’s life provides an important milestone in the struggle for LGBTQ rights. Also use the hook to discuss the Equality Act (see Emerging Issues above). Cite the values of Voice, Equality, and Community when discussing Milk and LGBTQ rights. 

        May 25

        On this day in 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which gradually raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It was the last time that the federal minimum wage was raised. Use this anniversary to talk about the need to change this to create economic opportunity for more Americans through a liveable wage. Cite the values of Economic Security and Community. 

        May 28


        On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act, which authorized the president to “negotiate” with southern Native American nations for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in order for white Americans to settle their ancestral lands. Today, we see this act as legitimating the genocide of native people. Despite this history, Jackson continues to be honored on the $20 bill and President Trump has cited him as his hero. Talk about this anniversary by citing the values of Voice, Equality, and Community

        May 29


        On this day in 1851, Sojourner Truth made her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the Women’s Rights Convention held in Akron, Ohio. Today,  scholars see the speech as an intersectional critique of single-issue activism. It’s also an important anniversary in light of recent abortion bans passed at the state level and their potential impact on people of color. Use this anniversary to discuss intersectionality and the values of Voice, Equality, and Community. 

        May 30


        On May 30, 1955, the Supreme Court ordered that schools should be integrated “with all deliberate speed." Known as “Brown II,” the order was issued because few schools had integrated since the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Today, several of Trump’s judicial nominees refused to affirm Brown, a troubling sign for advocates. Cite this anniversary by referring to the values of Voice, Equality, and Mobility.

        May 31


        Today is the birthday of Walt Whitman (b. 1819). Because Whitman criticized slavery and stood up for social justice, he is considered the first "poet of democracy" in the United States. The poet’s sexuality has been disputed but some still consider him a gay icon. Use Whitman’s birthday to discuss the role of artists in changing hearts and minds for lasting social change. Cite the values of Voice and Equality. 



        On this day in 2009, Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller was the medical director of Women's Health Care Services and was targeted by anti-abortion extremists. Use the anniversary of Tiller’s death to talk about the dire need for reproductive healthcare for women living in poverty. Recent state legislation banning abortion also makes Tiller’s life more resonant. Cite the values of Economic Security and Community.

        The Amplifier logo

        Sign up forThe Amp

        Receiving the Amp newsletter is free and easy. To get on the list, send an email to with the subject line “Sign me up.”

        Sign up