What is CallYourReps?

Hello all, this is Abby Lee, one of two administrators on this site. As I write you, it’s 9:41 pm and the Hyde Amendment was just made permanent. It greatly restricts access to abortions for women in America, and just yesterday, the new administration (you’ll rarely see me use his name) signed an executive order to limit abortion access to women around the world by denying funding to human rights/aid groups.

As Barack Obama said in his last address, here in Chicago: “Lace up your shoes and do some organizing.” 

This little blog is the first attempt at community organizing we’ve found, and a great way to build a community that holds each other accountable for calling our reps, writing letters, and fighting for our rights. After the Women’s March, it’s time to make good on the promises we made. Women, along with everyone who believes America should remain a free democracy, can change this.

For the first post, I’m sharing the letter I hand-delivered to Rep. Luis Gutierrez today. I took my dog into the office, and sans envelope becuase I wrote it while at the laundromat, handed it to the desk secretary. 

Rep. Gutierrez is a leader on immigration issues, fighting against deportation to keep families together. There are many more fights ahead, and in more than just this area. Here’s what I wrote.


Dear Rep. Gutierrez, 

My name is Abby Lee Hood. I’m a Chicago resident and I reside directly across the street from your office. I wanted to thank you for your leadership on immigration issues, because I appreciate your fighting to keep families together.

I also wanted to implore you to fight the recent executive actions Donald Trump has set forth. I appreciate your courage in boycotting his inauguration, and I hope you will reject the executive orders that destabilized Obamacare and reduced abortion access for poor women around the world.

I am deeply concerned about the outcome of these orders, and more threatening ones I’m sure will come. I’m frightened that the Constitutional rights of Americans are being threatened. 

The ACA, or Obamacare, has saved millions of lives. Cancer patients and others with preexisting conditions cannot get lifesaving treatment without it, and it will cost billions to repeal. Additionally, repealing Obamacare will leave millions without healthcare.

Planned Parenthood is equally important, because besides providing Constitutional access to abortion, which a fraction of its funding goes towards, it provides life-saving HIV/AIDS testing and cancer screenings. Additionally, access to bIRth control prevents unwanted pregnancies and the need for abortions. 

After calling some representatives today, I was appalled at the news that Trump further took action against abortion access. I am angry and afraid.

My friends and I are going to hold ourselves accountable to calling our representatives every day and writing frequent letters. We’re uncertain if we can stop Trump’s dangerous and irresponsible inertia, but we are going to try.

I know you likely feel the same way about some of these issues, but I want to encourage you to fight harder than you’ve ever fought before. Please, delay Trump’s nominations when you can. Please, challenge him at every turn. Don’t forget that not only Illinois residents, but millions of Americans rely on your leadership.

It is my body, and my choice. Many of my friends will lose healthcare. I made many new friends at the Women’s March, and many of the older ones said what we all felt. “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.”

Thanks for your leadership. Please fight for our rights. Please stop the new president from completing his dangerous agenda.


Sincerely yours,

Abby Lee

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Sen. Lamar Alexander 

I’m often highly dissapointed by the Senators in my home state, Tennessee. Lamar Alexander is no exception. Here’s a round of tweets I sent him tonight. There’s also a few more I sent to Bob Corker mixed in! 

Are you calling your reps? What did you tell them to prioritize? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Twitter! My handle is in the photo below.

Sen. Bob Corker

For today’s post, I’ve taken screenshots of tweets I sent Bob Corker, Senator in Tennessee. He’s a really awful leader and a disappointingly partisan-blinded legislator. 

He’s also over the Senate health committee, a dangerous position for him to be in.

Did you tweet your reps today?

Sen. Tammy Duckworth

I think I’ve already begun to see that the letters I send are a kind of journal, chronicling my thoughts, feelings and emotions at any given time. Sometimes, when I’m in a positive mood, they’re nicer and have a lighter tone. When I’m feeling dark and hopeless, my letters sounds angry and are a little less articulate. Here’s the one I submitted to Tammy Duckworth just now.

She’s been a real leader on many issues, showing up at the Women’s March, fighting for her fellow veteran’s rights and care, etc. But I am overwhelmingly disappointed with the majority of Democrats who have rolled over and are voting to confirm T’s nominees, not challenging his executive orders or speaking out as loudly as they should be. Some of that is reflected in my letter, because the new administration has already violated the Constitutional multiple times and signed illegal executive orders. 

Read on for more.

Hi Sen. Duckworth,

I hope you’re doing well. I’m reaching out today to encourage you to viciously fight any and all legislation Donald Trump is introducing. I am concerned by the dissapointly large numbers of Democrats rolling over and confirming Trump’s nominees, not challenging his executive orders, etc. Where are they?

I loved your message at the Women’s March, and I appreciate your military service. I’m proud you’re representing America. I urge you to support the following measures:

*Planned Parenthood, which provides Constutional access to abortion and saves lives through cancer screening and birth control.

*The ACA, which if repealed would leave millions without care and which provides life-saving treatment for, among others with pre-existing conditions, cancer survivors who wouldn’t otherwise get this treatment.

*Climate change efforts, becuase science is real. Additionally, Trump’s company has financial holdings in the company which is building the Keystone XL pipeline. This is unconstitutional.

*Efforts to impeach Trump. He has already violated the Constitution and his many conflicts of interest are illegal. Can you lead the charge to impeach him?

I feel sorely dissaointed by Democratic leaders who seem weak in the aftermath of the election. Please stand up for our rights!

Thanks so much for your time, thank you for your service to our country, and please have a great day.


Fight the Supreme Court nominee: Sen. Dick Durbin

Another shot to the gut came today from the new president. According to Daily Kos and Vox, he will announce his pick to fill the open Supreme Court position. And of course, his three picks are white, conservative men. What happened to the Supreme Court being independent? My frustration with this decision can only yield crafty letters because I am unable to call the office during the day. So, time to send a letter to Sen. Durbin to filibuster and fight against the Supreme Court nominee. If anyone has time to call your senator in person, please do! You can use the same script if you want!

Hi, I’m Ariel from Chicago. Donald Trump plans to nominate a right-wing extremist to the Supreme Court. Every person on his shortlist is a right wing ideologue and would be disastrous for civil liberties, civil rights, reproductive rights, protecting the environment and progress. Can I count on you to publicly oppose and filibuster any Trump nominee?

Republicans stole a Supreme Court nomination from President Obama by refusing to vote or even hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee. Now, Democrats need to use the same hardball tactics against Donald Trump.

Trump’s racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and misogynist statements and his connections with Russia make suspect any nomination he makes to the Supreme Court.

Become Bernie famous and stand up for what is right. I want to believe that “our side” of in the White House (although it may be limited now) will speak for us citizens, desperate over here for something positive to counter the horrible news we get every day from Trump and his side. PLEASE filibuster Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court!! In the words of Amy Poehler – don’t yield!!

amy

Letter to Tammy Duckworth

Hi everyone, happy not-so-happy Tuesday night. This is Ariel, the other half of the administrative team for this site. It is 2017 and I am already exhausted. I can’t believe that we, as women in this country, are having to fight like it is 1918 for our respect from the new administration—and as a result, from much of the country who thought he was the solution to our country’s problems. As several signs from the past weekend’s historical Women’s March read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” My thoughts exactly, and I know that many other women feel the same way.

A poet and writer that I recently met at the Chicago chapter of Writers Resist on Jan. 15 said, “we stay silent at our peril.” She is absolutely right, and I can still hear her telling me this with a serious tone. This is how we are not staying silent. The march proved that women all around the world (and men, thank you guys) will not stand for anything proposed by the new admin if we can help it. Thus is born this blog, a place where we can share our letters to our representatives and senators and urge/demand them to stand up to the new orange headed clown that sits in the White House.

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“This is what democracy looks like.” Strong women came out to Chicago’s Women’s March Jan. 23 to stand up against Trump and his attacks on women.

My first letter is to Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois senator who was elected just last year and greatly supports veterans rights, affordable college and of course, women’s rights.

Hi Tammy, my name is Ariel. I am 22 and live in Chicago. Today has been rough, to say the least. As a young woman in this country, nothing feels more demoralizing than to have someone (who is NOT a woman) take away our right to proper healthcare, contraception and the right to choose. With just a stroke of a pen, the new president signed the Hyde Amendment today, which restricts access to abortions for women in the U.S. HE (who shall not be named, a la Harry Potter) is setting un unbearable precedent for the future of women’s rights in this country and for young girls trying to understand what is happening politically. Even though his support is small (just like his hands), his executive orders are passing like cars on a highway, and we need to stop them.

to please support the right to choose and fight the bogus reality Trump lives in—and the one he is trying to impose on us. I believe that while all life is important, a pregnant person’s right to choose to have an abortion is a constitutional right that cannot be taken away. I also believe that if we introduce better legislation to care for pregnant people before and after birth, less abortions would occur. Protecting federal funding for Planned Parenthood and making sure people have access to healthcare, good housing and stable jobs means less people have unwanted pregnancies, or pregnancies they can’t afford. Planned Parenthood funding towards abortions is only 3 PERCENT. There are PLENTY of other things Planned Parenthood offers to women AND MEN, so taking away this incredibly IMPORTANT funding is insanity that cannot happen. Furthermore, taking away abortion does not stop them, but creates more illegal and harmful ways of getting the job done. You know what I mean.

THANK YOU for listening. I really appreciate your time and everything you have done for the people of Illinois and the country. I very much respect you and your voice for women. I know you’ll do everything you can to protect my rights and the right to choose. PLEASE stand up for the people who are praying for a better tomorrow.

Best, 

Ariel