1. On May 2, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), and in the Senate by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). H.R.2282 and S.1006, known as The Equality Act, would update existing civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected attributes. Per the Human Rights Campaign, “The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.” This bill has huge bipartisan support with 241 original cosponsors. Let’s reach out to our members of Congress and make sure they know we expect them to support this important bill.
- Goodlatte: Staunton (540) 885-3861, Harrisonburg (540) 432-2391, Lynchburg (434) 845-8306, Roanoke (540) 857-2672, Washington DC 202-225-5431 and email form here.
- Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _______, and my zip code is ________. I am contacting Representative Goodlatte to ask him to support HR 2282, the Equality Act. The majority of Americans agree that LGBTQ Americans deserve the same rights and protections against discrimination as every other citizen as designated by law.”
- Kaine: Washington DC: 202–224–4024, Manasses 703–361–3192, Roanoke 540–682–5693, Virginia Beach 757–518–1674, Richmond 804–771–2221, Abingdon 276–525–4790, Danville 434-792–0976, and his contact form is here.
- Warner: Washington DC 202-224-2023, Roanoke 540-857-2676, Abingdon 276-628-8158, Norfolk 757-441-3079, Richmond 804-775-2314, Vienna 703-442-0670. His “Submit Comment” form is here.
- Suggested script: “Hello, my name is _______, and my zip code is ________. I am contacting Senator ______ to ask him to support Senate Bill 1006, the Equality Act. The majority of Americans agree that LGBTQ Americas deserve the same rights and protections against discrimination as every other citizen as designated by law.”
2. The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows the president to protect America’s wilderness and historical sites by designating them as national monuments. Former POTUS Barack Obama designated and expanded a total of 34 national monuments, the most of any president. On April 26, our 45th president issued an executive order threatening protection for 27 of the national monuments that have been established since 1996 (those over 100,000 acres in size). This is no doubt an effort to undo preservations to public land made by Obama and open up possibilities to profit off of our shared national treasures.
These 27 monuments (22 on land, 5 marine) are now subject to review by the Interior Department and the new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, who will be holding a formal public comment period starting on May 12, but he still has the power to adjust or remove designations as he sees fit. Comments may be submitted online at regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.
Let’s be sure that Zinke hears from all of us that we are not happy that the fate of these national monuments is even up for discussion (for a list of monuments see here).
- In case you’d like to make some comments before May 12, the number for the Department of the Interiors: Office of the Secretary is (202) 208-7351 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Suggested script: “My name is _________ and I am contacting you from ___________VA, where national parks and monuments are some of our most valuable resources. The American people will not abide reversal of protections to our wild areas, especially if stripping those protections will signal profiteering by private interests. These lands were protected by former presidents and we, the people, intend for it to stay that way.”
If possible, check out the list of monuments up for debate and add a personal story about a visit you’ve had to one or more of the monuments and how important that was for you.
3. EVENT – Staunton/Augusta Dems meeting – Staunton City Hall – 7pm