“We can never surrender to democracy’s enemies. We can never allow America to be defined by forces of division and hatred. We can never go backward in the progress we have made through the sacrifice and dedication of true patriots. We can never and will never relent in our pursuit of a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all Americans.” From Chairman Bennie Thompson's Forward to Jan 6 Select Committee Report
Thanks For All You Do
As we embrace the potential and hope of a fresh new year, BAM's leadership team wants to thank everyone reading this email for all you did this past year to build a better community for us all. Your engagement in the issues that motivate us, your presence at meetings, rallies and canvasses, GOTV activities, your letters to the editor, emails, and calls to our elected officials -- every effort matters. While we had far fewer successes at the polls than we'd hoped for, one key achievement of 2022 was our deepening ties with other progressive groups here in Duval. Mandarin Indivisible, DWIN, NOW, Moms Demand Action, Duval Dems, Public School Defenders, WEN - this is just a partial list of the organizations BAM worked with in the past year. If you didn't attend our joint holiday party in December, treat yourself to a look at this photo montage of BAM and our partners working throughout the year to make Duval, Florida, and the nation better.
Why Our Fight Matters
While most of us are still enjoying a deep breath of relief over the national Midterm results, here in Florida we face a hostile state government and a challenging path forward. For a reminder of why this work is worth doing:
Take the time to read the Select Committee on Jan 6's full report - or watch the full hearings. Like the Chairman's quote above, these are invaluable reminders of the values that built this country, the bipartisan commitment to democracy that powered this investigation, and the importance of our ongoing struggle to hold the nation to its best visions of justice & equality especially here in Florida - where too many Jan 6 participants were based.
If you like what you see, join a national Indivisible Zoom for a deeper dive into this work on Thursday, Jan 12 @ 8 pm. Register here.
And stand ready to help as we focus in the coming months on the March 23 municipal elections for all Jacksonville's City Council seats, our next Mayor, and a range of other important local offices.
Duval Redistricting Update & VBM Alert
If you're not sure which district lines the upcoming local elections will use, and which candidates are running where you are not alone. Thanks to the JAX City Council's decision to appeal Judge Howard's rejection of the Council's map in favor of one presented by the plaintiffs challenging it, Duval voters - and potential candidates for these races - are still in limbo. The appellate court was asked to decide by Friday, Jan 6 which map will be used. What we know already is that Duval voters will need more help than usual this election to know where & how to vote. Everyone who used Vote by Mail in 2022 must register for it again to use it in 2023. If you've not already done so, please renew your VBM status now - and remind friends & family to do the same. If you use the online request form, be prepared to put in BOTH your driver's license # and the last 4 digits of your social security number, though only one is legally required. You can also print out a paper application and mail it in.
Public School Defenders Needs You!
In his 2nd inaugural address yesterday, DeSantis pledged to interfere more deeply in Florida's educational system in his defense of parental rights and assault on what he considers "woke." Thanks to his initial efforts, the Duval County School Board has already shipped 73 books originally purchased to enhance the diversity of school libraries back to their publishers - books banned before children or parents ever saw them. These assaults on the young people moving through our local schools must not stand unopposed. The Duval Public School Board meets next Monday, January 9 at 6 pm. Public School Defenders plan to be there and needs people prepared to speak out. To learn more about their plans, join an organizing Zoom call this Thursday, January 5 - at 6 pm.
More Inspiration for the New Year
If you have not seen Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's stark and inspiring New Year's message, watch here.
183 Ways the World Got Better in 2022.