The Amp

May 15, 2019

This edition of The Opportunity Agenda's weekly action alert system offers tools and tips for using breaking news to frame and advance economic opportunity and racial justice solutions between May 15-22, 2019. If you'd like to get The Amp delivered to your inbox, click the "Sign Up" button on the left.

Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues

Urge Passage of the Equality Act

On Friday, the House of Representatives will vote on the Equality Act, which would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The act would add to existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. This is an intersectional issue that you can discuss by referring to the values of Equality, Voice, and Community.

Push Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit

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Senators Brown, Bennet, Durbin, and Wyden have proposed the Working Families Tax Relief Act which would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). These tax credits help working people with low-wage jobs support themselves and their families, an estimated 46 million households encompassing 114 million people. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Coalition on Human Needs are helping the senators get endorsements from state and local organizations. Cite the values of Economic Security and Community when discussing the act. 

Support Free Speech at the Border

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Shaun Slifer via Justseeds

Last week, Dr. Scott Warren, a volunteer with No More Deaths, went to court in Arizona for leaving water and supplies for undocumented migrants crossing the desert along the U.S.-Mexico border. He’s facing six months in prison on federal charges for littering and trespassing. It’s one of two trials he has this month. On May 29, Warren is fighting multiple felony smuggling and conspiracy charges and could face up to 20 years in prison. Warren argues that his actions were  religious speech protected by the First Amendment. Discuss the court cases by citing the values of Voice and Community.

Month of May

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It's Asian-Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate the history of and leaders in the APA community. Discuss the contributions of Asian-Pacific Americans with the values of Community and Voice.

The month of May is also:

Now until Monday, May 20

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We’re in the midst of Infrastructure Week, just in time for new discussions in Washington about infrastructure spending, an important part of creating economic opportunity, especially for Americans living in poverty. Be prepared to discuss any proposals by citing the values of Economic Security and Community.

Thursday, May 16

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To express solidarity with immigrants and refugees, MoveOn and United We Dream will erect a replica of America’s iconic Statue of Liberty, created by local artist Cesar Maxit, outside Union Station in Washington, D.C. The statue will be built on a massive platform, where participants will be welcome to stand next to it, fill out a torch-shaped sign declaring why they are "taking the torch for justice," and pose for photos with the statue. The installation will be open until 8pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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At 3:00 pm EST, The National Low Income Housing Coalition and its partners are leading a tweetstorm addressing HUD’s proposed rule to evict mixed-status immigration families from public housing. According to its own study, HUD estimates 55,000 kids who are U.S. citizens could face eviction if the new rule is approved. Cite the values of Economic Security and Community when discussing this proposal.

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At 6:00 pm EST, the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture is hosting a Citizen Artist Salon on “Creative Strategies for Commemorative Justice.” This interactive online video call kicks off a partnership with 400 Years of Inequality, which is marking the 400th anniversary of the 1619 arrival of the first Africans trafficked across the Atlantic Ocean and sold into bondage in the U.S. During the salon, they will explore the practice of “Commemorative Justice”—a term coined by Richmond-based tactical urbanist Free Egunfemi—to resurrect deliberately submerged narratives through arts and culture-based strategies. Watch a recording of the salon

Friday, May 17

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At 2:00 pm EST, The Opportunity Agenda’s Immigration Research Consortium will host a webinar with Dan Gordon from the National Immigration Forum and Miriam Juan-Torres and Mohammed Naeem from More in Common. The speakers will reflect on their research into the polarization of media and politics, and how different audiences are engaging with disparate concepts. Sign up to participate in the consortium.

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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.

Sunday, May 19

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Today is the birthday of two racial justice champions Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X. 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.

Tuesday, May 21

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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.

Wednesday, May 22

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Today is Harvey Milk Day, commemorating the birth of one of the nation’s first openly gay elected officials. Milk would have been 89 years old today, but instead he was assassinated by another city supervisor in 1978. With the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising just around the corner, 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.

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