How CREDO funding to Feeding America is helping to alleviate hunger in America

Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, millions more Americans have struggled to put food on the table. In fact, 42 million people, including 13 million children, may be facing hunger because of the pandemic, with a 55% increase in people seeking help from food banks.

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank volunteers unload produce at Mobile Food Pantry distribution in Rustburg, Virginia as they prepare to serve the neighbors that visit during the pandemic.

Thankfully, CREDO grantee Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, has been on the frontlines of the hunger epidemic to ensure vulnerable communities and those who require help the most get the assistance they so desperately need. In the last year alone, Feeding America has distributed 6 billion meals and counting.

And thanks to our members, who helped us donate $51,620 last July as well as 200,000 meals to families in need last Thanksgiving season through Feeding America, CREDO is humbled to do our part to help Feeding America provide to those in need.

Between the economic impact or of the pandemic and the unrest that hit the Twin Cities in late May, many people were left without adequate food sources and stranded in new food deserts. Second Harvest Heartland volunteers work to get food to their neighbors facing hunger.

With these donations, powered by our members who use our products and services every day at no extra cost to them, Feeding America coordinated with the USDA to secure over 1.7 billion pounds of food through the Farmers to Families Food Box (CFAP) program. Although the program had been slated to end in December 2020, the USDA announced an additional round of CFAP distributions with deliveries to that are taking place from late January to late April 2021. These additional pounds will help food banks meet the sustained increased demand for food. 

The organization also achieved major policy wins to help address the unprecedented need created by the pandemic and to strengthen critical programs like SNAP now and in the future.

Feeding America would like to share a quote from a recent client that expresses her gratitude for incredible donors like CREDO:

“Without the food bank my family and I wouldn’t be able to make it this month. I have volunteered many times here before, in the client choice pantry, warehouse and cooler. No words can convey my gratitude to the angels that work, volunteer and donate here!” – Denise

If you’d like to learn more about Feeding America’s critical work to connect people with food and end hunger, please visit https://www.feedingamerica.org/.

Gabriel and Constancia Merrill like to do most everything together. Up until March, the two both worked for an organization that brought food to seniors in Washington, D.C. Constancia helped prepare the food, and Gabriel delivered it. “It is a joy to help others,” Constancia said. When COVID-19 cases began to rise and people were told to shelter at home, they lost their jobs on the same day. Gabriel has applied for unemployment multiple times, but there were issues with the paperwork. “We have zero in the bank. We have no resources other than this place,” Gabriel said of a pantry working with Capital Area Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, where they’ve been coming since the end of March. “It’s a blessing to come here. It’s our grocery store,” he said. Constancia is a great cook, he added. She makes Gabriel’s favorite American foods as well as dishes from the Philippines where she was born. The couple, who have been married for six years, said they had never needed food assistance before the pandemic. “God has blessed us through the years,” he said. “We have a house over our heads and no medical problems. The pandemic has been painful. It’s been a hard experience, but we stick together,” Gabriel said.

Fight for the Future: Taking on key battles in the fight for digital rights and freedoms

The mission of Fight for the Future is to ensure that technology is a force for empowerment and free expression rather than corruption and inequality. We’re on the forefront of shaping how your digital rights are being protected or abused, using a range of communication and political strategies to win historic outcomes:

WE’RE MAKING FACIAL RECOGNITION POLITICALLY TOXIC

Law enforcement frequently use facial recognition without warrants — using a technology that regularly misidentifies people of color and women, putting vulnerable people at greater risk of systemic abuse. After driving tens of thousands of comments to Congress, we got a bill to ban government and law enforcement use of facial recognition introduced in Congress, a measure seen as radical before our involvement. This year we’re ramping up support for this legislation. We’re also pushing to ban its use in schools (including e-proctoring technology), public housing, and other public venues. And we’ll continue working with municipalities across the US, helping other cities join places like San Francisco, the first major U.S. city to prohibit its municipal use, and Portland, OR, the first city to prohibit both government and corporate applications.

WE’RE KEEPING FACIAL RECOGNITION FROM SPREADING TO COLLEGES AND MAJOR MUSIC FESTIVALS

With Students for Sensible Drug Policy, we organized a campaign to stop the use of facial recognition technology on college campuses. More than 60 colleges agreed to the ban, including UCLA, which had been planning to implement the software as part of its security system. We also got most of the largest music festivals in the world to agree not to use the technology, including SXSW, Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo. 

WE’RE TAKING ON BIG TECH’S MONOPOLY POWER

Many lawmakers and advocacy groups, both progressive and conservative, seek to revoke or revise Section 230 as a response to rampant online misinformation and disinformation. While hate speech is indeed a problem on the Internet, changing 230 will not fix that and will only help the big companies, who have armies of lawyers to defend their actions in court. It will crush smaller websites and make our antitrust problems even worse, while also stifling self expression. Instead, Fight is building cross-partisan consensus to address the actual root of the problem: Big Tech’s monopoly power and their surveillance capitalist business model that uses algorithmic amplification and micro-targeting to increase profits while spreading misinformation, manipulating public opinion, and silencing dissent.  

WE’RE KEEPING UP THE FIGHT FOR NET NEUTRALITY 

The importance of a free and open Internet has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, but millions of people are still without reliable, affordable Internet access. That’s why we’re continuing to fight for net neutrality, the principle that everyone should have access to websites and apps, preventing Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon from creating “fast lanes,” censoring content, throttling traffic, and even outright blocking access to their competitor’s products. We’re pushing the new administration to appoint a champion for net neutrality to the FCC and mobilizing millions to demand the agency restore net neutrality. Then, we’ll push Congress to enshrine net neutrality into law.

WE MADE ZOOM PROTECT CALLS FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST CORPORATIONS

Last year Fight led a coalition of groups that successfully pressured Zoom to offer end-to-end encryption to all 200 million daily users, after the company initially said it would only offer it to paid accounts and corporate clients. It was one of the biggest wins for encryption and privacy rights since the FBI backed down in its spat with Apple.

WE’RE TAKING ON AMAZON’S AUTOCRACY

Fight was the first group to expose how Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera is being used by 1,400+ law enforcement departments to access surveillance data without probable cause. We mobilized more than 50,000 people to demand a full Congressional investigation into these partnerships, made headlines with an open letter sent to Jeff Bezos about the security of Amazon’s election software, and called out the policy of not allowing libraries to purchase or lend e- and audio- books. As an active member of the Athena coalition, we helped build the national Anti-Black Amazon campaign, which called out the company for its firing of Black warehouse workers who speak out about unsafe working conditions and ongoing ties with ICE. We’re also targeting the company’s vast worker surveillance system, which creates a high-injury environment and is used to retaliate against whistleblowers and suppress labor organizing.

 You can support Fight for the Future’s impactful work by voting to increase their CREDO grant on www.credodonations.com today.

Reaching refugees, displaced people, and other vulnerable groups in humanitarian settings during the COVID-19 pandemic

It has now been over a year since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a public health emergency and a global pandemic. In that time, the pandemic has impacted all of us in some way, and while much progress has been made in some parts of the world with vaccines and the re-opening of economies, some of the most vulnerable groups around the world are still suffering from the virus and its long-term consequences.

Refugees and other displaced people who have had to flee their homes because of conflict and disaster face especially severe challenges. For people living in conflict zones in countries like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq, years of conflict and war have weakened health systems and shut down medical facilities even before the pandemic hit, threatening further loss of life. And in places where refugees have fled to, such as Greece and Bangladesh, they face a heightened risk of COVID-19 due to cramped and crowded conditions in densely populated camps and cities, making safety practices such as social distancing and proper hygiene difficult to maintain. 

Photo Credit: Abdullah Hammam / International Rescue Committee

At the International Rescue Committee (IRC), we’ve developed a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation and response plan in over 40 countries where the IRC works, including over 20 cities in the United States. Our COVID-19 response is based on three critical components:

  1. Preparing for, preventing, and responding to the spread of coronavirus within vulnerable communities and meeting our clients’ other immediate health and economic needs
  2. Ensuring the safety of all frontline workers and emergency responders
  3. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring other life-saving programming can continue, reducing the economic, health, education, and protection impacts of the outbreak

COVID-19 has been a powerful and sobering reminder of the world’s inequalities, especially for communities living in conflict areas. While virus testing has expanded in many countries, there remains a lack of testing in conflict-affected areas and we still don’t know the true extent of the outbreak or if the virus continues to spread undetected. COVID-19 will also have lasting societal impacts, leading to long-term issues from famine, loss of education and a severe lack of economic opportunities for those that need it most.

The impacts of COVID-19 are further exacerbated by existing challenges. Millions of children in humanitarian settings do not have the same tools and resources to adapt to remote learning as children in more advanced countries and the pandemic has further burdened health systems that were already devastated by crisis and conflict, meaning other diseases and illnesses are easier to spread, and access to healthcare is even more difficult.

Despite our best efforts and expertise in handling health related crises, the IRC and other humanitarian organizations can’t do it alone. A truly global pandemic requires a truly global response. Governments, donors, the United Nations, the private sector, other NGOs and global citizens all have a role to play in preventing further spread of the disease and investing in weakened health systems. And because the pandemic is causing so many long-term health and economic consequences, we must rebuild markets and job opportunities for those who were already struggling to rebuild their lives.

Now that the world has made progress in delivering vaccines, we also must ensure that there is equitable vaccine distribution, especially as virus variants and mutations continue to appear in conflict-affected countries. If these weakened health systems continue to see a rise in cases without proper vaccine distributions, we may see hospitals and health centers pushed beyond their breaking point. This is why it’s critical that everyone around the globe, including the most vulnerable, are vaccinated.

Despite the urgent need that still exists, we have plenty of reason for hope. Just recently, on April 7, the IRC celebrated World Health Day, an opportunity to recognize the incredible work of healthcare professionals and essential workers who are on the frontlines providing safe and healthy futures for the millions of people impacted by conflict and crisis around the world.  From IRC medical doctors to psychologists and clinical staff, our frontline colleagues have inspired us with their stories and dedication to their work.  Learn their stories here.

Photo Credit: Schneyder Mendoza/International Rescue Committee

While frontline workers and health teams are critical in carrying out the response to COVID-19, there’s still even more that needs to be done, and that’s where you and can help. Help us reach families in coronavirus-affected areas in more than 40 countries worldwide by voting for the IRC in this month’s CREDO grant.  COVID-19 will not be beaten anywhere until it is beaten everywhere, including among the most vulnerable.  You can also join the IRC in pledging your support for an inclusive global response, including equitable access to vaccinations.  

To learn more about the IRC and our response to COVID-19 and other humanitarian emergencies around the world, visit rescue.org.

CREDO’s donation to Vote.org helped drive voter turnout in the 2020 election

By all accounts, the 2020 elections were historic. More than 6 in 10 people of voting age, and two-thirds of eligible voters, casts ballots — a 7 percent increase over 2016 voter turnout, according to a Pew Research study. In total, a record 158.4 million ballots were cast in the 2020 election.

These incredible voter participation numbers were due in no small part to the great work of Vote.org, the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan voting registration and get-out-the-vote technology platform in America. 

Vote.org was an August 2020 CREDO grantee that received a $97,974 donation powered by our members who use our products and services every day. Vote.org also participated in CREDO Votes 2020 program, our voter information project that helped CREDO members take action and make a greater impact during the 2020 election.

With CREDO and other funders’ generous support, 2020 was Vote.org’s most impactful year to date. Rising to the dual challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and a contentious election year fraught with misinformation, the organization helped voters cast ballots in record numbers by addressing the barriers that made it difficult

for them to participate. Throughout the 2020 election cycle, the organization focused on its website and online tools that help voters verify their registration status, register to vote, and request an absentee ballot; and its record-breaking GOTV campaign.

Traffic to the Vote.org website and use of its online tools grew exponentially — on Election Day 2020

alone, Vote.org had 2.78 million users on its site. Preliminary analysis indicates that at least 70% of our site

visitors turn out to vote. Most impressively, voter registration, voter verification, and absentee ballot request tools each had more users this year than in all previous years combined. 

By Election Day, 34 million voters used Vote.org tools, including:

  • 9.4 million registration verifications
  • 3.7 million new voter registrations
  • 3.3 million voters absentee / mail-in ballot requests
  • 16.5 million polling location look-ups

And of those 34 million voters, 44% were under 30 and more than half were women.

One thing is clear — in 2020 voters turned out and broke records, and Vote.org helped them do it. 

Vote.org would also like to thank CREDO members for their donation to help this amazing success in 2020:

Thank you so much! We are deeply grateful to CREDO for including us in your consideration, and the significant support we received from you truly helped us reach more voters at a critical point in the 2020 General Election.

To learn more and get involved with Vote.org, you can visit their website at — you guessed it — Vote.org.

How to save your important voicemails on your phone

There are lots of reasons you might want to save voicemail messages from your phone.

A sweet note from a distant relative. A doctor’s appointment reminder. Directions to a kid’s ball game. Or even switching carriers to CREDO or adding a line!

Thankfully, there are some easy ways to save and backup those voicemails from your Apple or Android phone. Here’s how to do it.

How to save voicemails from your Apple iPhone

First things first, your iPhone will save your voicemails practically forever, unless you accidentally delete them. Even if you do, they will still be available in your “Deleted Messages” section of your iPhone’s Voicemail feature until you delete those, too.

But, let’s say you want to save your voicemail to another device, you’re switching from iPhone to Android, or you want to simply share a voicemail with a friend. Here are a few simple steps to save or share those important voicemails from your iPhone.

  1. Go to your Phone app > then tap Voicemail in the bottom right corner.
  2. Tap on the voicemail message you want to save, which will reveal a transcription and some playback options.
  3. Tap the share button
  4. Here, you will have a number of options to save or share your voicemail, including sending an email, sharing via AirDrop, sending via Messages to your contacts, or saving to a cloud service, like iCloud or Google Drive, if installed.

No matter which option you choose, your voicemail file will be saved in the .m4a file format, which most major audio players recognize. 

How to save voicemails from your Android device

Saving voicemails from your Android device is also very easy. Some third party Android apps, both free and paid — like YouMail, HulloMail or InstaVoice — can assist with backing up and organizing your voicemail, but you can also save individual voicemails straight from your Android without an extra app. 

Since the Android interface can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the directions below could be slightly different depending on the model of your phone.

  1. Open your voicemail app.
  2. Tap, or tap and hold, the voicemail you want to save.
  3. Choose the menu option that allows you to save, which may be “Send to…,” “Export,” “Archive,” or “Save.”
  4. From here, you can choose the method to save or share your voicemail, like Google Drive, Messages, Gmail, or another option. 
  5. Click Save or Ok when you’re done.

 

COVID Survey Results: There’s light at the end of the tunnel

What a year it’s been. Through all the hardships we’ve endured, we’ve built resilience, a new sense of community and hope for what’s to come now that we see a light at the end of this long tunnel.

We recently checked in with our CREDO members like you to see how life has changed during the pandemic year, how prepared you think we are for another big crisis, and your plans for a vaccinated world. 

After more than 4,000 great responses to our survey, here are the results.

 

After the past year, how prepared do you feel our country is for a future crisis or pandemic?

When it comes to how our members think our country is prepared to respond to another big crisis, we’re all still feeling a bit shell shocked from the incompetent and botched response from the Trump administration. Even though we’re on the right track, as millions are vaccinated each day and our government now believes in science instead of conspiracy theories, our members still hold some hesitations that we’d be well prepared for another pandemic in the future, with only around 14% saying our country would be “very” or “extremely” prepared.

 

How prepared do you feel, personally, for a future crisis or pandemic?

On the other hand, CREDO members feel more certain that they, individually, will be better prepared for the next big crisis.

 

Did you expect things would be better or worse than they are right now with our pandemic response?

Similarly, some of our members still hold healthy skepticism about our country’s current response to the crisis. While a full majority believe the response is “somewhat” or “far” better than they had expected, a good number of CREDO members feel the response is about what they predicted, or a bit worse.

 

Do you have stronger preferences for any of these lifestyle choices after the last year?

Over the past year, we’ve adapted to a new normal and came accustomed to a whole set of new lifestyle choices. As we look to a life after the pandemic, CREDO members aren’t yet ready to part with these new ways of living — and we don’t blame them! The top five include avoiding large gatherings, access to open space, using hand sanitizer, avoiding public transportation, and living near family. 

 

Have you developed any of these habits over the past year that you plan to continue after the pandemic?

Likewise, a majority of respondents expect to continue new habits they picked up over the last year, and the top response was keeping extra essentials at home.

 

After the pandemic ends, which activities are you most excited about doing again?

When thinking about what our members are most excited for, a majority highly anticipate returning to some old activities this year, and traveling and eating at restaurants top the list.

 

After the last year, have you developed a greater appreciation for any of the following?

Not surprisingly, our members developed a greater appreciation for health care workers during the last year, along with “strong crisis leadership” (which we were sorely lacking for much of the pandemic), virus science, our family and friend, and in-person interaction.

 

How would you compare the Biden Administration’s pandemic response to the Trump Administration’s?

This one speaks for itself.

 

Vaccine questions

Next, we asked our members a series of questions about vaccines. Here are the highlights:

 

 

Our March grantees thank you for your support

Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups working for climate justice, disaster relief and women’s rights. In March, over 40,000 CREDO members voted to distribute $150,000 in donations to Amazon Watch, Center for Disaster Philanthropy and UltraViolet.

These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our March grant recipients thank you.

Amazon Watch
$58,287

Thank you for your vote to protect and defend the Amazon rainforest in solidarity with Indigenous peoples in these most critical times. With your support we will ensure a thriving Amazon and livable future for all!” – Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

To learn more, visit amazonwatch.org

Center for Disaster Philanthropy
$38,191

Thank you for your generosity! CREDO members like you help CDP place vital resources closer to communities with the greatest needs so they can recover stronger from wildfires, hurricanes and other disasters.” – Patricia McIlreavy, President and CEO, Center for Disaster Philanthropy

To learn more, visit disasterphilanthropy.org.

UltraViolet
$53,522

Thank you CREDO members! Your support helps us build a feminist future, now.” – Bridget Todd, Communications Director, UltraViolet

To learn more, visit weareultraviolet.org.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in April, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.

CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.

Vote for Fight For the Future, International Rescue Committee and Transgender Law Center this April

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This April, you can support civil rights, humanitarian aid and transgender equality by voting to fund Fight For the Future, International Rescue Committee and Transgender Law Center.

Fight For the Future

Fight for the Future is a group of artists, engineers and activists who have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling outrage into political power to win victories. Fight works to build a future where technology liberates — not oppresses — us.

Funding from CREDO members will help Fight for the Future protect freedom of expression online, restore net neutrality, ensure affordable Internet access for all, curb Big Tech’s surveillance practices, and end government spying.

International Rescue Committee

The IRC responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. The IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities.

Funding from CREDO members supports the IRC’s mission to provide life-saving care and relief to refugees, displaced people and vulnerable populations fleeing from conflict and disaster.

Transgender Law Center

TLC is the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for our rights.

Funding from CREDO will help TLC promote our visionary new national Trans Agenda for Liberation; develop movement leaders and build power for change; and create and advance the legal and policy frameworks that respect and support transgender equality.

 

Your vote this month will determine how we divide $150,000 in donations among these three progressive groups. Be sure to cast your vote to support one, two or all three by April 30.

CREDO members who use our products and services everyday are the reason we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile and CREDO Energy and join our movement.

How to Block Annoying Robocalls and Spam Calls on Your Phone

We hate robocalls and spam calls, and we know you do too.

Scammers flood our phones about expired warranties, overdue taxes to the IRS or irregular activity on a credit card. They are persistent, annoying and dangerous.

But we’re here to give you a few simple ways to help slow or stop the irritating and aggressive robocalls and spam calls that you might be getting on your phone.

If you’re getting these annoying spam calls to your phone, you’re not alone — and the problem is growing worse every year. In 2020 alone, the average American received more than 28 spams calls per month, a big increase over the year before, despite the pandemic.

There are some simple and free steps you can take to slow the onslaught of spam calls hitting you every day. In addition, a few paid apps can help to significantly try to reduce the robocalls and spam calls that you receive. 

 

Register your phone number with the National Do Not Call list

In addition to some initial common sense steps to protect yourself from scammers, like not answering your phone from blocked numbers or numbers you don’t recognize and never giving out personal information to people you don’t trust, take a few minutes to register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

The Do Not Call Registry is an FTC initiative to stop unwanted telemarketing calls to landlines and mobile phones along with a mechanism to report bad actors. While this should reduce the number of calls you might receive from legitimate marketing campaigns, it won’t stop disreputable marketers or illegal scammers from dialing your number. You can also legally receive calls from pollsters, political organizations, charities and debt collectors, however we do think it’s a good first step for everyone to take.

Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry here.

Find more tips to protect yourself from phone scammers here.

 

Silence unknown numbers in iOS 

If your Apple device is running iOS 13 or higher, you can silence all incoming calls to your phone that aren’t in your contact list and send them straight to voicemail. This won’t completely stop the calls coming in, but it will prevent your phone from ringing or vibrating from unwanted calls. Before turning this on, make sure important phone numbers are stored in your Contacts if you don’t want to miss an important call (never fear – they can still leave a message!).

To turn on Silence Unknown Callers, go to Settings > Phone, then scroll down, tap Silence Unknown Callers, and turn on the feature.

 

Block all unknown numbers in Android

If you have an Android device, you may be able to block all calls coming from unknown numbers. This is a little more extreme than silencing unknown callers, but if your phone is ringing off the hook, this could be a good option.

To turn on this feature (the instructions may vary from one Android device to another), Tap the phone icon > Tap the three dots at the top of the screen > Tap “Settings” in the dropdown menu > Tap “Block numbers” > Toggle the button beside “Block unknown callers.”

 

Block specific numbers on your phone

As robo or spam calls come in, you can block each phone number from calling you again. We’ll be honest, this is a game of whack-a-mole, since scammers use endless numbers — even spoof your number, a neighbor, or your bank’s phone number — to keep calling you, but it’s worth a shot if you want to slow these calls.

To block numbers on iOS, open the phone app, tap Recents, tap the Info button next to the phone number or contact that you want to block. Scroll down, then tap Block this Caller. Do this for every number that you want to block in the future.

To block numbers in Android (again, this will depend on the model of your phone), open the Phone app > Tap recent calls or call history > Tap the number you want to block > Find the command to block or report as spam. 

 

Use a Third-Party Spam Call & Text Blocker

If all else fails — and it might — a third-party app to identify and block annoying robocalls, spam calls and texts is a great option.

These apps enhance the caller ID functions of your phone, employ large blacklists of spam numbers to automatically block calls and texts in real time, along with other call blocking features. Some apps are free with limited bells and whistles, while the paid apps have more robust features and customer service, which also comes with a monthly or yearly user fee.

Some popular spam blocking apps include Hiya: Caller ID & Spam Blocker (Free on iOS & Android), Nomorobo ($1.99 per device, per month + a 14 day free trial), and RoboKiller: Spam Call Blocker ($39.99/yr + 7 day free trial).

Check out 7 of the best robocall blocking apps and tools for avoiding phone spam on Mashable for more in depth reviews to help you find the right spam blocking app for you.

 

 

AT&T is Funding Voter Suppression & Republican Insurrection

Once again, AT&T is funding right-wing causes and Republican politicians when they thought no one was watching.

In the last few weeks, journalist Judd Legum reported that the telecom giant quietly donated tens of thousands to Republican lawmakers in Georgia and Florida who are behind new Jim Crow-style voter suppression bills that will make it hard or impossible for Black and brown voters to cast their ballots. 

If that isn’t enough, just weeks after AT&T promised to end donations to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election — which enabled the deadly Capitol insurrection — the company broke its pledge and cut a $5,000 check to the PAC of a leading Republican objector.

All of this is on top of AT&T’s long history of supporting the right-wing agenda, reinforcing a pattern of Republican political spending and revealing where their values really lie.

 

AT&T is funding voter suppression efforts in Georgia and Florida

In the wake of record voter turnout in 2020, especially among communities of color that helped secure Joe Biden’s victory, Republican state lawmakers across the country are aggressively pushing highly restrictive voter suppression laws to keep Black and brown voters from casting their ballots in the next election. 

These bills would institute harsh voting restrictions like requiring voter IDs and limiting drop boxes, early voting, mail-in voting, and voting on Sundays (a traditional day for voting in many Black communities). One Georgia bill recently signed into law — below a painting of a slave plantation, no less — would make it a crime to hand out water to people waiting in line to vote.

While AT&T publicly claims they support voting rights, the company has quietly been a top funder of lawmakers in Florida and Georgia who are behind these racist voter suppression efforts.

Earlier this month, Popular Information reported that AT&T donated at least $99,700 since 2018 to a group of Georgia Republican lawmakers who are sponsors of House Bill 315 and Senate Bill 241, two voter suppression bills that would make voting much harder for many Georgians.

In Donald Trump’s new home state of Florida, Senate Bill 90, backed by state Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis, is a harsh voter suppression bill that buys into Trump’s lies of voter fraud and would ban ballot drop boxes, limit who could return a legal ballot to a polling place, and place restrictions on mail-in voting. Popular Information also recently reported that, since 2017, AT&T donated at least $45,000 to Ron DeSantis and eight state senators pushing for the bill to become law. 

 

AT&T broke its pledge, continues to fund Republicans who enabled the US Capitol riots

In January 2021, we shared reporting that uncovered AT&T was the largest corporate contributor to Congressional Republicans who announced that they would overturn the will of the voters and object to certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, having donated a whopping $2,053,000 to those 130 lawmakers.

These members of Congress fueled Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” due widespread voter fraud. None of this was true, yet thousands of insurrectionists took their cue from Trump and these conspiracy-toting lawmakers and stormed the U.S. Capitol in a last-ditch, deadly attempt to install Trump for a second term.

After news reports and widespread public condemnation — including here at CREDO — AT&T issued a statement claiming that it “decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes this week.”

Barely a month went by before Popular Information revealed that AT&T’s political action committee turned on the Republican donations spigot once again and on Feb. 22 donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund, the Leadership PAC of Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who not only voted against certifying the Electoral College, but also announced on Twitter just hours before the deadly insurrection that it was his “honor to help lead that fight in the Congress today.” 

You’d expect this frightening irony would make any self-respecting corporation think twice about donating to a politician like this. Apparently not for AT&T.

And it won’t surprise you that this isn’t the first time AT&T has acted in its self-interest or the interests of Republican lawmakers. Here are 11 more reasons why it’s time to drop AT&T.

At CREDO, our customers never have to worry that we would fund Republican lawmakers or right-wing causes. Just the opposite. We donate millions to our partners and allies who are fighting harsh voter suppression efforts, like the Brennan Center for Justice, Black Votes Matter and Fair Fight Action, and organizations standing up for civil rights, including the ACLU, NAACP and Color Of Change.