Enough talk! Let's do something!
UNDERSTAND THE BROADER SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT'S HAPPENING
Frame it. We've heard the talk. Let's make this quick. You already understand, and that's why you're here. At a glance:
Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, wrote The Ten Stages of Genocide in 2016 to help people understand the danger.
Laurence Britt, an amateur historian, suggested these "early warning signs of fascism" in an article in Free Inquiry magazine in 2003.
Masha Gessen published these "rules for survival" just after the election in 2016.
I’m just going to keep posting this until we all catch on. https://t.co/wNzk1Qydfh— Ann Batenburg (@AnnBatenburg) July 3, 2019
KNOW THE RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES
Useful resources for helping (undocumented) immigrants access health care resources that they are entitled to https://t.co/rqn9gBhVvF— Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein 🙅🏽♀️ 🇧🇧🏳️🌈 (@IBJIYONGI) August 29, 2019
KNOW WHERE THE DETENTION CENTERS ARE
ATTEND A PROTEST OR VIGIL
If you can encourage a lot of people to travel, charter a bus. (Use the word "charter" in your search; it means renting a bus with a driver.) This can be a great activity for an existing organization.
Can't fill a whole bus? Sign up with Rally to create trips or find rides.
Don't need a bus, because you live near a rally site? Can you offer a bed for a fellow protester to crash overnight?
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - MoveOn "Close the Camps"
Friday, July 12, 2019 - Lights for Liberty held vigils near El Paso, TX; Miami, FL; San Diego, CA; New York, NY; Washington, DC; and many other places.
SPEAK UP WITHIN YOUR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY
Tell your spiritual leader what you believe. Will they give a sermon against concentration camps?
If your worship or study is self-directed, direct it. Bring the readings. Make the phone calls. You know what to do.
SPEAK UP AT SCHOOL
If you're a teacher or professor, incorporate appropriate materials into your lesson.
If you're a student, make your next paper or presentation on this topic.
If you participate in "adult ed," tell your community center that this topic matters to you and that you'd like to see a course on it. This gets people talking behind the scenes on an institutional level.
LEGISLATE CONCENTRATION CAMPS OUT OF EXISTENCE
Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act (H.R. 1069) GovTrack
Families Not Facilities Act (S. 388) GovTrack
If you're an American Jew, sign this e-petition by T'ruah (rabbis for human rights)
Contact your leaders in Congress and tell them about these bills. You can use GovTrack to find out what bills your leaders have sponsored.
Tell other advocacy organizations that you'd like them to endorse and educate about these bills.
BE VISIBLE ABOUT YOUR POSITION
When a Trump rally came to town, this restaurant didn't just pocket the windfall profit. They put a sign in the window saying they'd donate their profits for the day to an organization that defends immigrants. This strategy not only actually raises money for a good cause; it also informs and discourages people who come to town for racist rallies.
DONATE FOR A CHILD TO HAVE A LAWYEROver 13,000 kids in detention need lawyers. TogetherRising.org/give
VOLUNTEER AS A CHILD ADVOCATE
Friends, if you live in Houston, Chicago, San Antonio, Harlingen, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York City, or D.C., consider volunteering with the Young Center (@theYoungCenter) as a Child Advocate!— Costura Creative (@CosturaCreative) June 25, 2019
Learn more & sign up here: https://t.co/EXO7kUGY6l
VOLUNTEER TO VISIT SOMEONE IN DETENTION, SPEAK ON A HOTLINE, HOST ASYLUM SEEKERS, OR OFFER TRANSPORTATIONFreedom for Immigrants: Join Us
Sanctuary Not Deportation
New Sanctuary Coalition
Immigrant Defense Project
Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
Al Otro Lado
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Texas Civil Rights Project
United We Dream: DACA Renewal Fund
Kids in Need of Defense has a Target gift registry.
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley has an Amazon wish list.
For more, see the grassroots members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).
Think, too, about "unlikely allies." What organizations do you know that typically work on issues aside from immigration yet might have something to contribute to this cause right now?
A Twitter thread about Mississippi in particular:
MODERATE YOUR ORGANIZATIONS
If you run an organization (online or offline), develop and enforce policies for acceptable speech within the community. For example, on 23 June 2019, the knitting website Ravelry banned its members from supporting the current U.S. presidential administration whether through MAGA knitting patterns or other forms of speech.
We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. More details: https://t.co/hEyu9LjqXa— Ravelry (@ravelry) June 23, 2019
REPORT ABUSEA New York Times editorial on June 24, 2019 said:
"Report and document raids and arrests. The National Immigration Law Center has suggested reporting raids to local hotlines, such as United We Dream’s MigraWatch. Raices has urged that people verify any social media posts saying ICE has been spotted before sharing or retweeting them because false alarms could spread fear in immigrant communities."
KNOW WHAT COMPANIES PROFIT
Who's profiting off family separation and detention?
Southwest Key Programs
Comprehensive Health Services
Dynamic Service Solutions
- from a list by CBS News in June 2018
In June 2018, Green America recommended divesting from (i.e. not investing in) Geo Corp, CoreCivic (CXW: NYSE), Wells Fargo (WFC: NYSE), Bank of America (BAC: NYSE), JPMorgan Chase (JPM: NYSE), BNP Paribas (BNP: NYSE), SunTrust (STI: NYSE), and US Bancorp (USB: NYSE), Accenture, and General Dynamics. They also recommended complaining to Accenture, Comprehensive Health Services Inc., Dynamic Service Solutions, LLC, Dynamic Education Systems, a subsidiary of Exodyne, General Dynamics, MVM, Inc., Southwest Key Programs, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, and Delta Airlines.
They recommended thanking American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and United Airlines.
If you work for a company that's involved?
USE DIRECT LANGUAGE
"Why don’t you use the lexicon of reality to describe what is happening before your eyes?" Umair Haque asks. "Did you really learn nothing from Orwell? Why did Orwell teach us that reality was so important, anyways?"
"We fight fascism with moral power, social power, the power of our humanity. Or else the fascists defeat us, with our very own denial and willful ignorance. Truth, therefore, is the idea fascism fears most."
VIEW ONLINE ARTICLES
If you're uncomfortable with the term "concentration camp," these articles may persuade you. If they don't succeed in persuading you, I am not mad. I have an opinion, but that's not a hill I choose to die on. People are literally dying inside these "facilities," whatever we choose to call them. The language matters, but the language is mostly instrumental to the goal. What ultimately matters is that each of us takes some action to end these camps and what's happening inside them.
(Notice that I didn't even mention the controversy over terminology until the middle of this article, because the more important point that good people agree on is that we end these policies and these facilities whatever they are called.)
Word choice aside, Adam Serwer writes, the real question is "whether the Trump administration's treatment of migrants amounts to a historic crime, whether future generations will wonder how those involved could possibly have gone along with it, whether there will one day be memorials erected to commemorate it, whether historians write solemn books about it, whether those looking back will vow never to repeat it."
"An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border," Jack Holmes, Esquire, 13 June 2019
"Appropriate ways of describing what is happening at the border," Alexandra Petri, Washington Post, 19 June 2019
"‘Never again’ means nothing if Holocaust analogies are always off limits," Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Washington Post, 19 June 2019
"With Trump’s Migrant Camps, the History We Should Fear Repeating Is Our Own," Eric Levitz, NY Mag Intelligencer, 20 June 2019
"George Takei was sent to US internment camps during WWII. He says we're operating 'concentration camps' again," Michelle Lou, CNN, 20 June 2019
"I’m A Latina Jew. My People Are In Concentration Camps Today — Just Like They Were During The Holocaust," Tae Phoenix, The Forward, 20 June 2019
"AOC’s Generation Doesn’t Presume America’s Innocence," Peter Beinart, The Atlantic, 21 June 2019
"A Jewish Mother’s Warning," Jennifer Rosen Heinz, Use Your Outside Voice, 23 June 2019
"American 'Concentration Camps,'" Karen Jensen and Matthew Abrahams, Tricycle, 21 June 2019
"A Crime by Any Name," Adam Serwer, The Atlantic, July 3, 2019.
Media companies track their online page views. They get payments from advertisers, so this matters to them. Read the article on the original website if you can.
Authors and publishers should be compensated for their work. It allows them to keep writing so they can keep getting the word out. (I, too, get a small commission off these affiliate links. If someone makes fifty cents, it compensates them for the effort they've put in to create, host, and promote something online, like this blog post.) The aggregate number of book sales also tells bookstores which titles they should restock. Popular books may earn a place in the window of brick-and-mortar stores, a form of advertising that is free to the writer and publisher and a way of informing a community about the values held by its residents. Really popular books gain places on the New York Times Best Seller list, a mark of prestige that helps recognize and define what's culturally important to the nation. The publishing industry pays attention.
Paperback from BookPeople, an independent bookstore
Kindle eBook from Amazon
Libraries, too, respond to demand. If this subject matter is popular, they may be able to allocate their budget for more copies. Use your library card so the library knows what you're reading.
Amazon and Goodreads are two of the most popular sites on which you can leave a comment about the book you've read. This can trigger social media notifications and gain the book free online promotion, so your review helps other people to find the book.
If you've bought a book through Amazon, your Amazon review will have a "verified purchase" badge that makes it count more highly in Amazon's algorithm.
SUBSCRIBE TO A NEWSPAPER AND WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
For example, to the Washington Post. Subscribe yourself. You already get the paper? Buy a gift subscription for someone else. Your subscription funds the news, in part from your subscription fee and in part because advertisers pay the newspaper based on their number of subscribers.
If a story feels important, then, whether your reaction is positive or negative, write a letter to the editor. Most newspapers prefer letters of about 150 words (about one paragraph). It's a chance to show the editor that you're engaging thoughtfully with the article. If the newspaper receives a large number of letters on a single topic, they're likely to publish one of the letters, so be part of the avalanche of correspondence that causes someone's letter to be published.
'SUBSCRIBE' TO, AND REVIEW, PODCASTS
It's free for you. Pressing the "subscribe" button means you'll get the newest episodes of the podcast automatically delivered to you. Remember to leave a positive review for the podcast. This helps other listeners find the podcast, and it can also eventually help the podcaster get corporate advertising dollars so that they can continue to produce episodes. Your free "subscription" and your positive review is helping the podcaster get paid for their work.
Positive feedback also buoys spirits.
Recommended podcasts could include "Mueller She Wrote," a Webby award-winning podcast about the Mueller investigation, as it is co-sponsoring the Lights for Liberty national protests of the concentration camps.
Artists, poets: How about creating something on this political topic? Here's a list of literary journals to which you can submit.
Musicians: Write a song? Perform a song? Play it in the street? Upload a video?
CALL OUT FAKE NEWS
Learn to recognize real news sources. This 2017 Forbes article names credible sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, Economist, New Yorker, wire services (Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News), Foreign Affairs, Atlantic, Politico, National Public Radio (NPR), TIME magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC. Business reporting includes Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune, Financial Times. Right-wing: National Review, Weekly Standard. Left-wing: New Republic, The Nation.
Learn to recognize fake news sources. Wikipedia has a list of such sources, including the frequently shared, intentionally "satirical" World News Daily Report.
Avoid sharing information that may be incorrect...or unsubstantiated...or even simply unactionable. Some stories only spread panic and do more harm than good.
If you think someone is sharing incorrect information, use Snopes (which fact-checks all kinds of things) or the Washington Post Fact Checker (devoted to POTUS #45) to see if it's already been debunked.
DONATE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
Support immigrants (and people who are marginalized for other reasons). Just by existing in a society that tries to crush them, they may be performing "emotional labor" and they may implicitly or indirectly raise awareness in others. Just by existing, each of us contributes something to the world. It is everyone's job to respect everyone else's humanity. So please actively support immigrants in their lives; support them as friends, neighbors, coworkers, artists and authors. Listen, accept, and help if you can when they request it of you, in the specific ways that they want you to help (and not in the ways that they don't).
In this Elle article from 2017, "15 writers with immigrant backgrounds have selected a book by an immigrant that holds importance for them."
Remember that people have multiple identities. An immigrant may be Black, disabled, gay. A person needs to be able to live as all the things they are. We need to make that possible for each other. When everyone in a society survives and thrives, the society is stronger, and it strengthens the perceived importance of diversity and equality.
ACCEPT OTHERS' PREFERRED FORMS OF ACTIVISM
Since we're in this for the long haul, remember that we need people to organize for next week, next year, next decade. We need loud people and quiet people. We need every voice and a multitude of tactics.
And keep the pressure on and the intensity up. Do it in a way that's sustainable for you, but don't forget. This issue will cycle in and out of the headlines. Remember that this is important, and it's possible to care about multiple issues at the same time.
REMIND EVERYONE TO REGISTER TO VOTE
I'm sure you're a voter. (Though, if you've recently moved, have you updated your address? Updating your address with the U.S. Postal Service isn't enough; you have to update your voter registration separately.)
Who else do you know who needs to register to vote? Someone who moved recently? Someone who may never have registered at all? Remind them. Why not now?
And stay informed about candidates' positions.
ENCOURAGE PEOPLE WHO DON'T TYPICALLY SUPPORT 'LIBERAL' OR 'LEFT-WING' CAUSES
Many people who have historically voted Republican are appalled by Trumpism, racism, and concentration camps. No one should be complicit in the Trump administration. Ethically, everyone does need to withdraw their support from the Trump administration. At the same time, however, no one has to share all the Democrats' beliefs and policies.
How can conservatives resist Trump? Let people think creatively here. For example, did you know that Trump has a challenger in the Republican primary? Bill Weld is running. That may be a protest vote that you can tolerate (whether cast by you or someone else). It is up to each individual to find a political path they can walk. The election is still 500 days away. Let people find entry points to their political evolution and involvement. As long as someone hits the basic moral notes — e.g. no concentration camps — you may be able to accept, and maybe even provide some encouragement for, their words and actions that differ from your approach.
Quoted from a 2 July 2019 email from the Catalyst Project:
Call your reps and tell them to close the camps: 202-224-3121
Use Hand-in-Hand’s toolkit to plan a Playdate Protest
Support Asylum Seekers
Use our Immigrant Justice Curriculum to support non-immigrants to take strategic, effective and accountable collective action in solidarity with immigrant communities toward the end of deportations, detentions, and discrimination.
Organizing tools from Detention Watch Network
Help pay bail by giving to community bail funds
More ways you can offer support
DON'T PICK ON PEOPLE WHO ARE ON YOUR SIDE
Twenty-five Democrats are running for president in 2020. When they're not talking about immigration and human rights, they should be talking about climate change, clean air and water, mass shootings, Neo-Nazis, police violence, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, foreign policy, science denialism, college loan debt, access to healthcare, separation of church and state, disenfranchisement and gerrymandering. There are a lot of big issues. There's a time and a place to spend a lot of time talking about each of them.
Don't spend an excessive amount of time highlighting minor issues that ultimately don't matter, like a candidate's exact choice of words or a tiny donation they accepted from someone you don't like. Don't get sucked into whatever petty barbs may be thrown by them or at them, such as the color of someone's suit. That drags down the quality and effectiveness of the conversation. Keep yourself and others on point.
This holds true for all your allies, too — I mean, the ones who aren't politicians. Hold each other accountable to talk about important matters. Don't waste time, and don't snipe over the small stuff.
DON'T FEED THE TROLLS
The nastiest comments on social media are by trolls (human or bot). If a comment clearly violates the platform's community standards (e.g. a direct slur against a marginalized group), report it, and it's likely to be removed. If you can't report it, block the human/bot user so you don't have to be distracted by their comments anymore. If you don't want to bother blocking them, then, at the very least, ignore them and move on. Don't engage. They are just looking for attention.
DON'T BOTHER SENDING 'DONATIONS' OF TOOTHBRUSHES AND SOAP TO THE US BORDER PATROL
Vice President Mike Pence claims in a June 23 TV interview that it's difficult to bring toothbrushes and soap into facilities because that has to go through a Congressional budget "appropriations process." This is a transparently weak excuse. The government can bring toothbrushes and soap today if they want. They don't want to and they choose not to.
If you send hygiene or comfort products to concentration camps, realize that you're staging a protest to continue exposing the government's agenda. The government already gleefully exposes its own agenda; you can continue helping it do so if that's important to you. Your protest may have some impact if you do it publicly, but the goods will never, ever arrive to actually help any immigrant, so don't expect them to.
I keep seeing comments on threads about the children in camps. "Let's airdrop them soap and blankets." "Is there a charity for these children?" "Can I bring them toothbrushes?"— S.I. Rosenbaum (@sirosenbaum) June 22, 2019
Do people not realize that this isn't a matter of a LACK of RESOURCES. It's a PUNITIVE POLICY.
I don't think it's a bad idea to overwhelm CBP with "donations." To march on the camps armed with soap and blankets, to mail thousands of toothbrushes to their offices, to send drones armed with medicine over the camps. But don't think that this is a charity cause. It's war.— S.I. Rosenbaum (@sirosenbaum) June 22, 2019
For example: Rep. Terry Canales (Democrat, TX-40) reports that Border Patrol will not accept these donations.
Just so everyone is clear: They go to court and argue children shouldn’t have toothbrushes, and then they don’t allow the public to send donations to the 10,000+ children in concentration camps? https://t.co/5ibgW9mW6H— RAICES (@RAICESTEXAS) June 23, 2019
Again, this is not about a need to wait to approve hygiene products through Congressional budget appropriations. This is about government not allowing hygiene products. If you show up and say, "Here are hygiene products," they will not accept them.
CONTRIBUTE MORE IDEAS
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