These are uncertain times, and it’s easy to feel helpless as we watch the COVID-19 epidemic unfold.
But staying inside doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from the fight for equality and fairness.
As many of us try to find ways to stay engaged from the confines of our homes, ACLU-WV has several suggestions for how to remain vigilant and involved.
Here are a few ways to do just that:
Update Your Voter Registration
- You can visit https://services.sos.wv.gov/Elections/Voter/AmIRegisteredToVote to make sure your voter registration is active. For those needing to register to vote, you can do so online at https://ovr.sos.wv.gov/Register/Landing
Fill out Your Census Form
- We need everybody to participate in the Census. Undercounted communities will receive less representation in government and fewer resources.
- Census data informs our nation’s most important decisions, including how the federal government spends $900 billion on critical services like building roads, providing for health insurance, and supporting education. More information here.
Request an Absentee Ballot
Secretary of State Mac Warner has announced that all West Virginians will be able to request an absentee ballot in the May 12 Primary. You can do so here. Just be sure to mark the first box under section 4A on the form which states you are requesting to vote absentee due to “illness, injury, or other medical condition which keeps me confined.”
Tell Governor Jim Justice to Release ALL Pre-trial Detainees Being Held on Bond
No person should ever have to purchase their freedom, especially not during a deadly viral outbreak. And yet, that is the case for so many West Virginians being held before their day in court simply because they cannot afford to post bond.
Wealthy people accused of the same crimes are able to purchase their freedom and exercise social distancing, as recommended by health experts, at home as they await trial.
Jails are breeding grounds for illness, making incarcerated West Virginians sitting ducks for infection as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread across the country.
Call Gov. Jim Justice’s office and tell them you want pre-trial detainees being held on bond to be released immediately. The health of incarcerated people, corrections workers, and their families depends on it.
Set up Phone Calls or Zoom Chats With Folks in Your Community to Prep for What’s Next
- Right now, everyone might be sequestered to their houses, but that doesn’t mean planning for the future is out of the question. Set up a time to chat with your friends, neighbors, or colleagues and formulate a plan of attack for when it is safer to congregate publicly to tackle your plans for advocacy. Sign up for a free account here.
If You Can, Watch the News
- Staying informed can take an emotional toll, so if you need a break from the news, please do so. But it’s also important to stay abreast of events as this pandemic unfolds. Staying informed on what is happening in your community means knowing how and when to react. Just make sure your sources are credible. We recommend outlets like our state’s newspapers and West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
Get the Kids Involved
We know that advocacy comes in all forms and quite frankly, is appropriate for nearly any age. Whatever work you do, be sure to get your family involved – even the little ones! Check out our ACLU coloring pages below that can be printed off on demand. They’re perfect décor for your fridge or home office.
We are in this together, and together we will overcome.