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Anthropologists: Time to Take Action!

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October 3, 2017

Anthropologists: Time to Take Action!

The new administration has settled in and is now considering a number of proposals that are of concern to the field of anthropology. 

Now is the time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Anthropologists need to come together to stand strongly against these potentially devastating decisions. 

Here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Protect the Antiquities Act. Congressman Rob Bishop is leading an attack on the Antiquities Act. He aims to erect numerous hurdles that would cripple the ability of future presidents to designate national monuments. If enacted, Congressman Bishop’s legislation would gut the Antiquities Act, one of America’s best tools for preserving our national treasures.

    The bill, HR 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act, would impose stringent rules based on the size of the proposed monument. Monument designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would have to be approved by all county commissions, state legislatures and governors in an area affected by a national monument. Requiring so many diverse state and local lawmakers to agree on the monument designation is nothing more than a clever ruse. Under the guise of local control, this bill would impose such onerous requirements for approvals that it would make it virtually impossible for the President to designate any large national monuments. Furthermore, HR 3990 bars presidents from designating any marine national monuments – an egregious refusal to value underwater sites that are home to natural wonders and unique species of marine life.

    The Coalition for American Heritage opposes HR 3990 and asks all Coalition members to call their lawmakers and ask them to vote against HR 3990.

  2. Stand up for Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico syllabus project provides a list of resources for teaching and learning about the current economic crisis in Puerto Rico. The goal is to contribute to the ongoing public dialogue and rising social activism regarding the debt crisis by providing tools with which to assess its roots and its repercussions. Contribute or access the materials here. Additionally, more than 200 academics have signed their names to this statement addressing the current humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC) is also in need of financial support in the wake of Hurricane Maria. You can learn more and make a donation here

  3. Support those in need. AAA member Lauren Zentz has provided us with a list of organizations you can donate to in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

  4. Advocate for others. People from Latin America, Africa, and six Muslim-majority nations have been targeted by the Trump administration for arbitrary detention, increased surveillance, deportation, and immigration bans. Members of Congress will be visiting their local districts in August. We urge all AAA members to meet with elected representatives—sharing your research expertise and specific concerns about unlawful behavior of ICE Agents (H.R.2073) and the status of the Bridge Act (S. 128). Find additional details in our Congressional Action Alert on Immigration. You can also read AAA's statement against the Trump administration's plans to eliminate the DACA program
  5. Stand against racism. In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville, the AAA joined forces with the American Historical Association, the Society for Applied Anthropology, and the American Sociological Association to establish the Understanding Race After Charlottesville initiative to help our members and the public continue moving forward with important conversations on race and convert those conversations to action. The cycle of violence must end.

  6. Oppose the elimination of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)! The Trump Administration has proposed the elimination of this important source of grants for preserving our heritage and making it accessible to the public. Act now to tell Congress level-fund NHPRC at $6 million next year! Use the contact form on the NHA website. 

  7. Support the Paris Agreement. Reach out to local elected officials to encourage them to step up where the President isn't on climate. Here are some tips from our partners at March for Science to help: 

    • Contact your Governor to ask him or her to take evidence-based action on climate change in your state.
    • Connect with your local March for Science Satellite and take part in their local actions.
    • Not a U.S. citizen? Contact your nation’s leaders to urge them to remain a part of this historic agreement.
    • Read and share the March for Science statement on this decision here.
    • Share your support for the Paris Agreement on social media by sharing this graphic and using the hashtag #ActOnClimate

  8. Advance scientific stewardship. The Consortium of Social Science Associations co-leads the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR), a coalition of national organizations committed to promoting public health, innovation, and fundamental knowledge through scientific research. Their petition: Advancing Principles of Scientific Stewardship reaffirms support for responsible and effective stewardship of the scientific infrastructure and maintaining the quality of our nation’s research enterprise by embracing the fundamental values that have long sustained its development.
  9. Tell Congress to oppose the elimination of NEH! The Trump Administration has issued a budget request that calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), along with other cultural agencies. Use the form on the National Humanities Alliance website to ask your Members of Congress to oppose this proposal by email or phone. 

  10. Urge your members of Congress to fund science. Show your support for scientific research by contacting your members of Congress, and urging them support science while they craft their appropriations bills. Use this contact form on the AAAS website.

  11. Go on record in support of humanities programs. Make sure your members of Congress know how important programs like international education (Title VI and Fulbright Hayes) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are to your research or institution. Let them know if your institution has benefitted from federal funding for the humanities and share how the work completed with that grant benefits the greater community. 

    • The National Humanities Alliance has resources to help you prepare for your calls including issue briefs, an NEH fact sheet, and images for use on social media as well as a page where you can take direct action in support of humanities funding. 

  12. Attend Town Hall Meetings. One of the most effective tactics we've seen over the years to influence Members of Congress is attending town hall meetings. Find resources to help you prepare and tips for locating a meeting near you on the AAAS website. Follow the Coalition for American Heritage on Facebook for additional updates. 

  13. Register for Advocacy Days. Attending an advocacy day event is an excellent opportunity to receive training and lobby your representatives on behalf of social science research and the humanities.
  14. Use our resources. In the wake of the 2016 US election, AAA has been gathering a variety of resources to support our members. Access those resources on the AAA blog and add resources that fellow anthropologists might find helpful in the comments. 

  15. Get social. The Congressional Management Foundation found that 80% of Congressional staff pay close attention to their constituents on social media. Find your elected officials, including their social media information, and start following them to learn about their priorities, so you are prepared to make the case. Also be sure to follow AAA on Facebook and Twitter and use #AnthroForward for advocacy updates, tools and resources.

  16. Attend the AAA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. AAA encourages its 10,000 worldwide members to come to Washington for our Annual Meeting this November to voice their concerns and criticisms. Holding the meeting in the US capital allows AAA members to engage directly with their representatives, and brainstorm practical academic responses with fellow anthropologists. This is your chance to personally let the government know, in hearable tones, about the pain and suffering it is causing in the US and abroad with its failure to imagine the consequences of its actions.

  17. Stay Engaged After the March for Science. AAA is an official partner organization of the March for Science. Download Building Momentum: Advocacy Resources for Societies here.

Access all of AAA’s advocacy resources on our website.

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