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Remember to Donate to Food Banks During the Summer Months, When Schools Are Closed

This OTYCD post originally appeared in April 2018.

 

Remember to make a point of donating to your local food banks during the summer months, when schools are closed.

 

Students who receive free and reduced-price school meals can suffer during the summer, when their schools close. Their schools are often their most reliable source of nutritious meals. While many communities have programs that feed children under 18 during the summer, not all do.

 

It’s almost a cliche to volunteer at soup kitchens and food banks during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but summer is when the need can be keenest.

 

Food donations are always welcome at food banks, but donations of money are even more effective. Also ask your food bank if they accept donations of diapers, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene products, which cannot be purchased with food stamps.

 

 

Find your nearest food bank:

http://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/

 

 

Donate to the AmpleHarvest.org food pantry network:

http://ampleharvest.org/donate-m1/

 

 

Find the nearest summer meals program in your community:

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

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Subscribe to My Civic Workout

Subscribe to My Civic Workout, an activist outlet that delivers twice-weekly action items broken down into things that demand a bit of your time, more of your time, and a bit more of your time than that.

My Civic Workout is one of the many online activism outlets that sprung up after the November 2016 election. It belongs to Action Alliance, as does One Thing You Can Do. But it doesn’t seem to get the play or the recognition that some of the others do, so we’re giving it a blog post.

My Civic Workout does an admirable job of picking a timely resistance-related topic and breaking it down into three actions that demand varying amounts of investment.

The “Five Minute Workout” is quick and simple (but not necessarily easy)–donate money, read a short article, watch a video.

The “Ten Minute Workout” is more involved. Read a longer, more densely written article, such as a white paper or an academic article. Type your address into a database and learn about gun deaths in your area, and share it with friends and family. Call your senators, using a script offered by MCW, and advocate for a bill.

The “30 Minute Workout” is even more involved, and sometimes reminds you to do stuff that you should have done ages ago anyway. For example, in the wake of Harvey, it suggested drawing up a comprehensive, personalized disaster plan. During the effort to defend Obamacare, it encouraged setting up a phone tree–recruiting friends to call their senators, and having them recruit friends in turn. One of its post-Charlottesville tasks was to check an interactive map and see if there were Confederate monuments on public land near you, and if so, urge local officials to remove them.

The twice-weekly email finishes with a selection of nice little digestifs: “Second Wind,” a nugget of wisdom related to the overall theme of the email, and “Need a Little Joy?” a bit of pure fun.

My Civic Workout also stands out among the post-2016-election activist sites for its consistency. Sarah Jane, OTYCD leader, has been a subscriber since January at least and she can’t recall MCW missing a week or otherwise dropping the ball. The graphics are elegant, well-chosen, and pleasant to look at. *We say check it out.

 

Visit the website for My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Subscribe to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Suggest a topic to My Civic Workout or otherwise contact them:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/contact/

 

Meet the My Civic Workout team:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/theteam/

 

Donate to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/support/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/mycivicworkout/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@MyCivicWorkout

 

And while you’re at it, check out Action Alliance, which accepted My Civic Workout and One Thing You Can Do as members who offer and encourage post-2016-election actions.:

https://www.actionalliance.co/#members

 

*My Civic Workout didn’t ask us to write about it. As of late-ish 2017, when we wrote this post, neither MCW or any member of its six-member team followed or subscribed to OTYCD (at least as far as we know). We’ve interacted with whoever speaks for MCW on Twitter. We wrote about MCW because we like it and thought you might like it too, simple as that.

Community Activism · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Your Local Library, Always and Forever

Support your local library, always and forever. 

 

Libraries are many things to many people. They’re often the heart of the community, or at least a vital organ that helps it survive and thrive. Its employees respect knowledge and provide the tools to fight back against fake news and attempts to undermine the truth.

 

Librarians are also foot soldiers in the resistance, both the capital-R Resistance going on now and resistance efforts in the past. When Trump declared his Muslim travel ban, librarians pushed back with “Libraries Are for Everyone”–imagery, book displays, and declarations that underline the fact that libraries are, indeed, open to one and all. Several leading library organizations also condemned the ban.

 

You have many options for supporting your local library.

 

The biggest and most effective one is to use it regularly.

 

Don’t have a library card? Get one, and make sure everyone in your family has one.
Go to the library often. Follow it on social media. Attend library events that interest you, and bring friends.

 

Spend liberally at library book sales. Check out books and other media, and bring them back on time.

 

If you don’t use your library you do run the risk of losing it.

 

You can also volunteer, join a “Friends of the Library” group, or donate money. Please stay alert to state and local legislative efforts that might affect library funding and access.

 

As for donating books–first, ask the librarians if they’re accepting book donations and if so, what types of books they’re currently seeking. They may not need what you have; don’t be offended if they turn you down.

 

Also, run the used books’ ISBN numbers through Amazon’s trade-in link to see if they’re actually worth anything (see link below). Don’t donate them unless they are. And don’t be offended if the library ends up selling your donated books.

https://www.amazon.com/Sell-Books/b?node=2205237011

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read about how libraries and librarians have been leading the resistance to Trump:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/librarians-protesting-trumps-executive-orders/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/21/us-libraries-join-struggle-to-resist-the-trump-administration

http://mashable.com/2017/02/21/library-donald-trump-resistance/#h2S2kJpDDmqV

http://boingboing.net/2016/12/20/librarians-must-resist-trumpis.html

 

 

Read this GOOD article on how librarians have historically been in the forefront of resisting Nazis and other enemies of the truth:

https://www.good.is/articles/rogue-librarians-save-history-and-the-truth

 

 

Follow the Libraries Resist account on Twitter:

@LibrariesResist

 

 

Read about ways to help libraries:

http://www.ilovelibraries.org/get-involved

https://mastersreview.com/8-ways-to-support-your-local-library/

https://www.bustle.com/p/7-ways-you-can-support-your-local-library-47363

 

 

 

Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Support Your Local Independent Bookstore and Avoid Amazon

Do you have a local independent bookstore? Spend money there, early and often. And stop buying your books, or anything really, at Amazon until it pulls its ads from Breitbart and stops carrying Trump products.

 

Reading is good. Fundamental, even. If you are lucky enough to have an independent bookstore near you–aka not Barnes & Noble–go spend some money there as soon as you can, and make a plan to swing by on a regular basis. Also, follow your local indie bookstore on social media, attend its events, and bring your friends, too.

 

Independent bookstores were vulnerable before Amazon arrived (Barnes & Noble did much to kill them) and not much has changed. Please step up and support your nearest one with your dollars.

 

Giving indie bookstores your business is a social good in and of itself, no matter who’s running the country, but it takes on greater importance under the Trump administration.

 

Both #GrabYourWallet and Sleeping Giants have been targeting Amazon for months, because it sells Trump family products and because it has not moved to pull its ads from Breitbart. It has been deaf to all entreaties, even as Sleeping Giants closes in the milestone of convincing 2,000 advertisers to leave the stomach-turning alt-right web site and despite countless calls, emails, and letters from supporters of #GrabYourWallet (As of early April, Amazon ranks as number 5 on the site’s Top 10 list of retailers to boycott.)

 

Important: You should know that Amazon is a somewhat controversial choice to boycott because its owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which has been one of the best, most relentless newspapers covering the Trump administration. Also, the Amazon Prime service makes it cheap and easy to read the Washington Post by offering free access online for six months and then at $4.99 thereafter. For some, Bezos’s support of the Washington Post nullifies any sins that Amazon is perpetrating.

 

Boycotting Amazon is far more difficult than other retailers because it offers so much more than books. Fortunately, the #GrabYourWallet community is way ahead on this, with a whitelist of alternatives to look to.

 

Speaking of which–if you don’t have a local independent bookstore and want to stop giving money to Amazon, try these shops instead:

 

 

Powell’s

http://www.powells.com

 

 

The Strand Bookstore

http://www.strandbooks.com

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s whitelist of retailers (bookstores included):

https://grabyourwallet.org/Shop%20These%20Companies.html

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s list of retailers to avoid (retailers who sell Trump-branded products):

https://grabyourwallet.org

 

 

See the Sleeping Giants list of advertisers who have dropped Breitbart:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i9o8CR_kjJ6mBd44k6CRZEhlXuZqq-XCCOoj-e8RJ7Q/edit

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

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Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? by Obama Alum Alyssa Mastromonaco

Read Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House, a refreshingly open and honest book by Alyssa Mastromonaco, alumna of the Obama administration. 

Mastromonaco served as the White House deputy chief of staff for operations and assistant to President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014.

Her book is a riveting account of what it’s like to work in high-profile political jobs and it’s a breezy read, too. She salts it with useful tips (if you save your bosses money, make sure to tell them; never be a jerk; everyone is replaceable) but its greater value is in showing someone facing challenges and overcoming them.

Mastromonaco’s book, like Al Franken’s book, is one that you need to read right now. She never uses the phrase ‘impostor syndrome’, as far as I can remember, but her approach, her openness, and her willingness to talk about things others would just find too embarrassing, such as how she wrestled with episodes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) on the road, make it a gem.

Mastromonaco is like the senior executive sitting down nervous interns or entry-level staffers on their first day and telling them, “You can do this. I did it, and here’s how.” If you are interested in running for office or helping someone run, it will give you confidence that you can do it.

Note also: Her Twitter bio says she has a new podcast coming soon. We suspect it’ll launch with Crooked Media, given that Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Favreau, and Tommy Vietor are peripheral characters in her book. We’ll update this page accordingly when the time comes.

 

Buy Mastromonaco’s book at these independent bookstores:

http://www.strandbooks.com/index.cfm

http://www.powells.com

 

Follow Mastromonaco on Twitter:

@AlyssaMastro44

Call Your Members of Congress · Community Activism · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Read This New Yorker Piece on What Calling Congress Achieves

Read What Calling Congress Achieves, a New Yorker piece that explores that question and gives a history of Americans calling their Congressional representatives.

 

It’s a long read, but a good one. The author not only explores what works and what doesn’t and why, and what a Congressional office would consider a “flood” of phone calls, she goes back to the late 19th-century beginnings of calling Congress.

 

The story is festooned with tasty little anecdotes and wonderful bits of evidence that calling and emailing Congress actually does something.

 

This paragraph, for example:

 

For political watchers, the most striking thing about this outpouring of political activism is its spontaneity. “If Planned Parenthood sends out an e-mail and asks all their donors to contact their Congress members—that’s honest, it’s real, it’s citizen action,” Fitch said. “But this thing was organic: people saw something in the news, it made them angry, and they called their member of Congress.” At this point, he paused and informed me that he was “not one for hyperbolic statements.” But what was happening was, he said, “amazing,” “unprecedented,” “a level of citizen engagement going on out there outside the Beltway that Congress has never experienced before.”

 

And this one:

 

Perhaps the most striking shift so far, though, has happened on the Democratic side of the aisle, in the form of a swift and dramatic stiffening of the spine. In the past month, at the insistence of constituents, the party line has changed from a cautious willingness to work with the White House to staunch and nearly unified opposition. “If you ask me, before the calls started coming in, someone like Neil Gorsuch”—Trump’s pick for the vacant Supreme Court seat—“would have passed with seventy-one votes,” said one Democratic senator’s chief of staff, who has worked on the Hill for close to twenty years. “Now I’d be surprised if he gets to sixty.” More generally, that staffer noted, the newly galvanized left is suddenly helping to set the Party’s agenda. In thinking about Cabinet nominations, Democratic members of Congress had planned to make their stand over Tom Price, then the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services—until their constituents chose Betsy DeVos. “That was not a strategic decision made in Washington,” the staffer said. “That was a very personal decision made by all these people outside the Beltway worrying about their kids. We’re not managing this resistance. We can participate in it, but there’s no chance of us managing it.”

 

Oh, and this one:

 

Republicans, of course, can’t manage the resistance, either—and, so far, they are struggling to figure out how to respond. Some have merely expressed frustration that so many calls are apparently coming from out of their district or state. But others, including Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Cory Gardner, and President Trump, have tried to discredit concerned citizens by claiming that they are “paid protesters,” an allegation supported by precisely zero evidence. Still others have expressed disingenuous outrage over political organizing, as when Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for Representative Lou Barletta, of Pennsylvania, criticized “the significant percentage who are encouraged to call us by some group.” And other legislators simply turned out not to like their job description. “Since Obamacare and these issues have come up,” Representative Dave Brat, of Virginia, said last month, “the women are in my grill no matter where I go.” In an apparent effort to dodge such interactions, a number of Republican legislators, including Representative Mike Coffman, of Colorado, and Representative Peter Roskam, of Illinois, have cancelled or curtailed town-hall meetings. Other G.O.P. legislators have allegedly been locking their office doors, turning off their phones, and, in general, doing what they can to limit contact with their constituents.

 

…but enough quoting. Go enjoy it for yourself.

 

Read What Calling Congress Achieves:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/what-calling-congress-achieves

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

Subscribe to the New Yorker:

https://subscribe.newyorker.com/subscribe/newyorker/111547?source=AMS_NYR_ARTICLE_NAVBAR_MemorialDay_2017&pos_name=AMS_NYR_ARTICLE_NAVBAR

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Subscribe to Your Local Newspaper, Even If It Stinks, and Urge Its Editors to Improve It

Subscribe to your local newspaper, even if it’s a terrible, poorly-written right-wing rag, and urge its editors to improve its coverage.

Yes, really. You’ve long since heard the calls to support the heavy-hitter papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. You need to support your local paper with your dollars, too, even if you hate it.

Why? First off, it’s the only game in town. A bad local newspaper is almost always better than no local newspaper because a local newspaper is one of the best checks on local government, and sometimes it’s the only check on local government. A subscription is an investment in checking your local government.

Second, newspapers are obsessed with giving their readers what they say they want. If their readers want coverage that slants to the right, that’s what they’ll print. The only way to make a bad local paper better (aside from starting a competing local paper), is to subscribe and demand that they cover things that matter to you, and praise them when they do.

Third, local papers, even bad ones, will nonetheless tell you, at minimum, the basics of what’s happening with local government, the school board, the police department, the fire department, community groups, and other entities you need to keep an eye on. Again, if the paper is doing a lousy job, give its editorial staff polite constructive criticism in the form of emails and letters to the editor (a future OTYCD post will deal with how to write Letters to the Editor).