Help us honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Like you, we were all so heartbroken when we learned of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday evening. For many of us, it will be one of those moments, forever marking a dark day in our memories. Justice Ginsburg was an unrivaled trailblazer for women’s rights, equality and justice for all people, and she was a critical offset to the worst elements of the conservative Supreme Court, and the worst elements of human nature.

Our world is a more just and fair place because of Justice Ginsburg’s incredible, selfless and inspiring work, and she is and will continue to be deeply missed by all of us. 

We at CREDO also join our allies in the incredible anxiety being felt throughout the progressive community, as her passing also poses an imminent threat to our shared core values — with abortion rights, health care, LGBTQ equality, voting rights, and fundamental civil liberties being just the start — as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and their spineless colleagues attempt to ram through her replacement just weeks before a presidential election. 

On her deathbed, Justice Ginsburg said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” That’s why, as we mourn her passing, we must also heed her call to take action and fight for the values Justice Ginsburg spent her life working to protect and expand. The stakes are simply too high not to act. 

I’m asking that you please join us in this call to action. Here are some ways to make your voice heard, protect our democracy, and fight for Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish:

 

Thank you,
Ray Morris

 

CREDO Tip: Incredible voter resources from the ACLU

Next Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, and we’re working hard to ensure our members are registered to vote and that everyone can participate in the most important election in generations. We’re building voter resources and guides to help you vote, while funding great progressive groups working to defend our voting rights.

One of our incredible allies in this fight is the American Civil Liberties Union, who are experts on voting laws and protecting our rights at the ballot box. Over the years, thanks to our members, CREDO has donated nearly $1.4 million to the ACLU, and the group is up for a share of $150,000 in donations this September.

This year, the ACLU has developed comprehensive voter resources to help you and others vote safely and navigate the troubles you might face during this unprecedented election. We’ve compiled some of these resources in a quick blog post so you know your voting rights and learn how to register, get your ballot, and vote safely by mail or in person.

Visit the ACLU’s “Let People Vote” resource

The ACLU’s “Let People Vote” website is a one-stop resource to find all the information you need to vote by mail in this election. Visit the site and choose your state, where you’ll find important deadlines for requesting and mailing your absentee ballot as well as links to check your voter registration and helpful tips to ensure your ballot is delivered correctly. 

The ACLU also includes additional state-specific information, like voter eligibility (Yes, you can vote in Indiana if you’ve been previously incarcerated) and action the ACLU is taking in the courts right now to protect your vote.

Visit the ACLU’s “Let People Vote” website.

Learn about your voting rights 

Many people will face significant challenges accessing their right to vote this year because of a fundamentally unequal process that is rigged against people of color, seniors, immigrants and other marginalized communities. It will become that much more difficult amid a pandemic as some states and local governments will force voters to choose between their health and exercising their right to cast a ballot, while Trump and others in his administration are actively working to spread misinformation and reduce public confidence in the postal service and our election systems.

The ACLU has compiled a great guide for knowing your voting rights, including what you’ll need to register to vote, documentation you may need on Election Day, and what to do if a poll worker says you’re not registered to vote. Here are some quick links to the topics they cover:

Subscribe to the ACLU’s “At the Polls” podcast series

If you’re like many of us here at CREDO, you can’t get enough election news and information. The ACLU just launched “At the Polls”, a weekly mini-series on this election and all things voting. 

The first episode, “What Will Election Night Look Like in a Global Pandemic?,” features host and ACLU voting rights lawyer and organizer Molly McGrath who talks to election law scholar Rick Hasen and election administrator Rachel Rodriguez about what to expect in this year’s election. 

Listen to the “At the Polls” podcast mini-series here.

Watch: CREDO Votes 2020 Live with the ACLU’s Cecillia Wang

This August, we hosted a livestream discussion with Cecillia Wang, the ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Center for Democracy, who gave a very important presentation on voting rights, voter suppression and the ways the ACLU has been working to fight for everyone’s right to vote, particularly in the upcoming election.

If you missed it, you can watch the discussion here:

Vote for the ACLU on CREDO’s donations ballot

As you may know, CREDO sets aside $150,000 each month — at no extra cost to our customers — to donate to three organizations making positive change. This September, the ACLU joins Color of Change and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund to receive a portion of our monthly donations to progressive nonprofits.

Click here to vote and help us distribute these funds among these three great organizations.

CREDO Tip: How to disinfect your phone and other household items

Six months ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and our lives have been forever changed in the months since. We’ve contended with a public health crisis and economic downturn unseen in generations. Some of us may have lost our jobs, fallen ill or even tragically lost a loved one to the virus.

We’ve also built resiliency to cope with this crisis. We’ve learned to stay home, wear masks and social distance to remain healthy. And we’ve been reminded that proper hygiene, including washing our hands and disinfecting surfaces, is important to stop the spread of contagious diseases.

Last April, we published a wildly popular CREDO Tip on cleaning your phone. We wanted to update you on what we’ve learned since then and some new technologies to clean your phone and other everyday items around your house.

Cleaning your phone and household items manually

When we first published “Your phone is dirty. Here’s how to clean it,” scientists and public health officials were still learning how the coronavirus was transmitted. In the months since, official sources like the CDC and the WHO have concluded that the primary way the virus spreads is through respiratory droplets from close person-to-person contact. That’s why the advice and mandates to wear masks and remain socially distant are so important. 

However, the CDC does warn that “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this isn’t thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

That means, here at CREDO, we’d rather not take any chances. In addition to washing your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face, we continue to recommend these steps to clean your devices (and other household surfaces):

  1. Unplug and power down your device. Use a good, lint-free microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove oil and fingerprints. If your phone case is waterproof, wash it thoroughly with soap and water and let it dry completely.
  2. Don’t spray any disinfecting liquids directly on your device, as they may damage your device or its coating. Instead, dampen the corner of your cloth in your cleaning solution and gently wipe your phone. 
  3. Apple suggests using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to disinfect your phone. Avoid bleach and don’t submerge your phone in liquids. (Read more from Apple.)
  4. Samsung recommends using a “hypochlorous acid-based solution (containing 50-80ppm) or an alcohol-based solution (containing more than 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol)” gently applied to your device using a microfiber cloth.
  5. You can apply these methods to other items and surfaces around your house, like remotes, glasses, door knobs, kitchen counters, light switches, and other high traffic areas

Cleaning your phone and other household items with a UV-C device

Since publishing our previous article, many ultraviolet sanitizing devices have become much more readily available on the market. These devices work by shining a type of ultraviolet light — UV-C light — that can destroy the genetic material of viruses and bacteria. Simply place your phone or other household item in the UV-C sanitizer, and in a minute, your device should be virtually free of germs. In addition to phones, you can use these devices to sanitize earbuds and headphones, remotes, sunglasses, keys — just about anything that can fit into the UV-C device.

But does UV-C light kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19? According to the National Academies of Sciences, “Probably. UV light has been shown to destroy other coronaviruses, so it will probably work on the novel coronavirus.” But we can’t stress enough, please avoid using UV light on your body, as it can damage your skin. 

So which UV-C sanitizer should you choose? 

At CREDO, we recommend the HoMedics UV-Clean Sanitzer. This device is portable, faster than any UV sanitizer on the market and kills up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses at the DNA level. It’s also environmentally friendly and mercury and chemical free. 

Whether you’re brand new to CREDO or an existing member wanting to add a line, for a limited-time we’re offering a free HoMedics UV-Clean Sanitizer! Plus, we’ll give you a discount on a new CREDO phone or a Visa Prepaid Card with your new line of CREDO service. As always, our friendly experts are available to talk M-F 6:30am-7pm PT at 1-877-762-7336.

Celebrating $90 million in donations, thanks to CREDO members!

What an incredible milestone, thanks to CREDO members like you we just surpassed $90 million in donations to hundreds of progressive nonprofits fighting for positive social change!

Since 1985, CREDO members who use our products and services every day have helped us donate — at no extra cost to them — nearly $2 million each year to groups working for climate justice, reproductive freedom, peace, voting rights, equality, civil rights, and economic and social justice.

Despite the challenges we all have faced recently, 2020 has been a very special year for our donations program because our members helped us step up to give even more when it has mattered most.

Earlier this year, just as the global pandemic upended our lives, we wanted to ensure frontline organizations had the resources to respond by getting food, relief and critical aid to where it was immediately needed. We established a special COVID-19 Response Fund to donate $75,000 — beyond our monthly giving to nonprofit groups — to three organizations working to help our most vulnerable communities. More than 16,000 CREDO members stepped up to help us decide how to distribute these funds among Mercy Corps, National Domestic Workers Alliance and World Central Kitchen.

Then, in May, we again set up an extension of our COVID rapid response program to fund three additional, community-based organizations fighting hunger on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, and Citymeals on Wheels (in NY).

In May and June, when we learned of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, we not only reaffirmed our support of Black Lives and our fight against systemic racism, we also donated an additional $50,000 to our long-time allies at Color Of Change to continue their critical work fighting injustice in all its forms. 

Today, we are aggressively working to educate voters, ensure more people register to vote and have access to the ballot — despite attempts at voter suppression, especially in communities of color — and make their voices heard in our elections through our CREDO Votes 2020 program. In August, we increased our monthly donations to $250,000 to help fund three organizations — Black Voters Matter, Democracy for America and Vote.org — that are playing key roles in this year’s election efforts

This month, you can help us distribute $150,000 among three important civil rights organizations: American Civil Liberties Union, Color Of Change and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Click here to vote for one, two or all three great organizations on CREDODonations.com.

We couldn’t have reached this incredible milestone without loyal CREDO members, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Here’s to another $90 million in donations for positive social change!

6 tips to get your student’s technology ready for remote learning

This year’s “Back to School” season is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. As the global pandemic continues to bear down on our nation, many schools are again turning to remote learning as a way to slow the spread of the virus while keeping families, teachers and workers safe.

This spring, when school districts first closed their physical doors and moved lessons online, we all quickly found out that remote learning was tough. It posed challenges to students, parents and teachers alike, and it was especially hard on families who lacked broadband internet or suitable technology to access online learning.

As school districts now scramble to get laptops and internet access to students as part of a fully online or hybrid learning system, we’d like to share some tech tips to make remote learning a little easier this fall as students begin the new school year.

Set up a dedicated work space & reduce distractions

Many agree that setting up a dedicated space for remote learning is ideal, as it provides your online learner a consistent spot for establishing a routine for at-home instruction. You may not have the luxury of a dedicated desk in a separate room, so the kitchen table can work just fine, as long as you can limit distractions. Ensure the location has a strong internet connection and plenty of light, especially for video calls.

Wirecutter provides some great tips for setting up a dedicated work space, with desk, chair and other gear recommendations (like noise canceling headphones, if you can afford them), as well as other age-appropriate tips and some watch-outs to be aware of (“Having a computer, tablet, or mobile device in the bedroom can tempt your kid to stay up past their bedtime”). 

Buy an inexpensive printer, if you can

Sometimes analog technology is the best technology. You may have set up a quiet, dedicated space and got your child’s device ready to go, but your young learner is still having some trouble focusing. WIRED suggests picking up an inexpensive printer for a child who may be easily distracted or has to share a device with a sibling or parent. Just print out the materials and allow your child to take a break from their screen.

Check parental controls

Whether or not you own the device your child is using for remote learning, it’s a good idea to check its parental controls, especially if this is their first time independently using a computer with minimal supervision. The Washington Post suggests that if you own the device, you should look into Google Family Link, Apple’s Screen Time or Microsoft’s family controls to limit what your child can do when you’re not around, like accessing certain sites or purchasing games. If the device is owned by your child’s school, the district probably has enabled strict controls, but it’s always good to double-check. 

Check out the Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls from Common Sense Media for more information.

Don’t forget cybersecurity & privacy settings

Children are not immune to the threats posed by hackers and scammers looking to profit from the pandemic. The Washington Post suggests that parents set up password managers like LastPass, install anti-virus software, turn on two-factor authentication for your children’s account, if possible, and remind them to never share passwords or post personal information online.

Reboot, restart and troubleshoot

If you’ve ever called an IT helpdesk, you know the first question is always, “Have you rebooted your computer?” Your student’s device is no different. Take a proactive approach and urge your child to save all their work, close each application and shut down their computer at the end of the school day to ensure they have a clean reboot every morning to minimize memory leaks or other issues.

The same goes for your home WiFi connection. Rebooting your modem or router can solve many connection issues. If you’re still having trouble, start with this article on fixing common WiFi problems, or if all else fails, call your internet provider.

Options if you have limited or no internet access

Last spring, millions of families were quickly thrust into a new remote learning reality that left behind many low-income families, especially those who had limited or no access to broadband internet or adequate technologies, leading to a widening achievement and learning gap. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 15% of families with school-aged children lack high speed internet, (the gap is even more pronounced for Black, Latinx and lower income students) and a full quarter of all teens don’t have access to a home computer. The recent viral post of two schoolchildren using the free WiFi outside a Taco Bell illustrates that the digital divide is all too real, and many schools are still struggling to ensure millions of low-income children and students of color have access to the tools they need to learn online during the pandemic.

Consumer Reports has compiled a good resource if you or someone you know is struggling to access adequate broadband internet. It includes programs offered by local schools, libraries, governments and businesses to help bridge the gap.

Our August 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 fighting for civil rights, climate justice, peace and more. In August, we increased our monthly donations to $250,000 to help fund three organizations — Black Voters Matter, Democracy for America and Vote.org — that are playing key roles in this year’s election efforts as part of CREDO Votes 2020, a new voter information project with resources to help you take action and make a greater impact this election. 

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 August grant recipients thank you.

Black Voters Matter
$81,040

“We deeply appreciate the support of our CREDO members! Supporters like you are so important in helping us to increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. We know that effective voting allows a community to determine its own destiny, and we can’t do this work without you.” – Cliff Albright, Executive Director, Black Voters Matter

To learn more, visit blackvotersmatterfund.org.

Democracy for America
$70,987

“Thank you CREDO members for being essential allies in our fight to build a country and a Democratic Party that’s unflinchingly committed to an inclusive populist political agenda up-and-down the ballot in all 50 States.” – Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America

To learn more, visit democracyforamerica.com.

Vote.org
$97,974

“Thank you for your support! Vote.org operates on a national scale, and CREDO members like you allow us to scale up to provide digital voting resources for all 50 states, deploying proven tactics and multiple strategies to rapidly increase our reach.” – Andrea Hailey, CEO, Vote.org

To learn more, visit vote.org.

Now check out the three groups we are funding in September, 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.

Thanks to our members, CREDO Votes 2020 is a success

We all know that this election is the most important in our lifetime. That’s why last month we launched “CREDO Votes 2020” — a program to educate voters, highlight the incredible work of our partners, and help fund amazing nonprofit groups who are fighting to protect our right to vote this election.

Thanks to loyal members like you, the first month of our new voting rights program was a huge success! 

Here’s a quick rundown of our progress in our first month:

  • Thanks to our members who use our products and services every day, more than 68,000 people voted to help us distribute a special $250,000 donation among between Black Voters Matter, Vote.org and Democracy for America
  • Thousands took action on our CREDO Votes 2020 website to check their voter registration, sign up to volunteer with voting rights groups, watch educational videos and participate in our voting rights contest to win prizes
  • We hosted a great livestream discussion with Cecillia Wang, the ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Center for Democracy, who discussed the history of voter suppression in our country and what the ACLU is doing to fight it.
  • CREDO Mobile joined with Business for America and a coalition of other businesses calling on Congress to ensure the safety of our election system during the pandemic.

And this is just the beginning! As the election approaches, we’ll be informing you and our members of ways you can get involved this year while helping fund the progressive organizations working to protect our voting rights.

If you’d like to take action right now, here are a few ways you can help make a difference:

Vote for this month’s grantees at CREDODonations.com

 

Vote for ACLU, Color Of Change and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. this September

Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute $150,000 to three incredible progressive causes – and every vote makes a difference. This September, you can support three important civil rights organizations by voting to fund the American Civil Liberties Union, Color Of Change and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 

American Civil Liberties Union

Whether it’s winning full equality for LGBTQ people, fighting for immigrants, ending mass incarceration, or preserving abortion or voting rights, the ACLU is on the frontlines defending all people from government abuse and overreach.

Funding from CREDO members will support ACLU’s most urgent work in the months ahead, including protecting voting rights and supporting community partners to end police violence against people of color.

Color Of Change

As a national online force driven by millions of members, Color Of Change designs campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back and champions solutions that move us all forward, until justice is real.

Funding from CREDO will help Color Of Change hold police accountable, push for further systemic changes, and not lose the momentum needed to change the institution of policing forever. 

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. 

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the country’s premier legal organization, working to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society through litigation, advocacy, and education. LDF has been separate from the NAACP since 1957.

During this perilous time for our democracy, protecting the civil rights of all Americans is vital work. LDF is grateful to CREDO and its clients for supporting LDF’s efforts to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.

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 September 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.

Why independent journalism is so important right now

Journalism in America is facing an existential crisis. 

Even before Donald Trump claimed long-respected newspapers are “enemies of the people” that churn out “fake news,” the business of making the news in American was in trouble. Print circulation plummeted, readership slipped, ad sales sunk, many struggled with digital era growing pains. Newsroom layoffs have tragically become commonplace, and many newspapers have shuttered. In fact, 1 in 5 newspapers have gone out of business in the last 15 years, and newspaper employment has been cut in half since 2008.

Now add to that the constant attacks by right-wing elected officials — spurred on by narcissist-in-chief whose self-worth depends on fawning news coverage — who disparage the very press freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment. These smears have not only eroded support for free journalism itself, but for the very foundations of democracy our nation was built upon. 

Yet today, despite these setbacks, journalism — especially independent and investigative journalism — is more important than ever, especially in the age of Trump. Many corporate-owned news outlets, whose profits, agendas and outside influence affect coverage, continue to struggle covering the intentional un-truthing of reality and “alternative facts” pushed by Trump and the conservative propaganda machine. They continue to “both sides” important issues with quaint notions of fairness, and still use terms like “falsehoods” and “racially-charged” when “lie” and “racist” are the words they’re looking for. And make no mistake, Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was a boon to the cable news industry which got “filthy rich” while Trump benefited from roughly $6 billion in free media air time.

Progressive independent and investigative media outlets, on the other hand, are not beholden to shareholder profits, government pressure, advertiser influence, censorship or increasing media consolidation. Typically funded by a mix of subscriptions, donations, limited advertising and other revenue streams, progressive independent media can maintain editorial independence, hold those in power accountable and take deep dives into urgent issues, like climate change or systemic racism, without fear of reprisals by the government or corporate sponsors. 

But as Bernie Sanders once put it, the mainstream media is largely uninterested in covering the issues that matter most to most Americans: 

“For the corporate media, the real issues facing the American people— poverty, the decline of the middle class, income and wealth inequality, trade, healthcare, climate change, etc.—are fairly irrelevant. For them, politics is largely presented as entertainment.”

You may know some of these progressive independent outlets well, as some are long-time CREDO allies or grantee partners, including The American Prospect, The Nation, Mother Jones, Common Dreams, In These Times, Rewire.News, Grist, Democracy Now!, and InsideClimate News. Here at CREDO, we read and financially support progressive independent and investigative news outlets because we know how critical they are right now to protecting the values we hold dear and to preserving our democracy. 

We also know how important this kind of independent, progressive reporting is to our members. That’s why for a limited time we’re offering a full year of Mother Jones magazine in addition to great phone and BYOD deals. If you’re looking for a way to support smart, fearless journalism while making a difference with your phone bill every month, call us at 866-996-8361 and take advantage of this limited-time offer.

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day and the fight for justice

Here at CREDO, we’re celebrating Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution 100 years ago that afforded women the right to vote.

Many of the brave women of the suffragist movement fought tirelessly for the right of all women to vote — an incredible moment in history, indeed — yet in practice, the 19th Amendment ensured that mainly white women had access to the ballot. Black women living in the South faced strict Jim Crow laws, and many Native and Asian Americans were denied citizenship. It was only decades later, after long fought battles for equality and civil rights, that women of color could legally vote, too.

And yet, even 100 years later, women of color still face barriers to full voting rights. Restrictive voter ID laws, racial gerrymandering, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act and other voter suppression tactics continue to prevent access to voting. And as we grapple with true gender and racial equality in our country — including economic equality, equal pay, racial justice, representation in public office and more — full voting equality is essential to ensure progress on these critical issues.

At CREDO, we know the battle for voting equality is far from over, and we will always fight to ensure all women have equal rights and all voters have access to the ballot box. Since 1985, our members who use our products and services every day have helped us donate more than $9.9 million to voting rights groups and over $10.5 million to women’s rights groups like Women’s March, UltraViolet, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood. 

This month, we’re donating $250,000 to Black Voters Matter, Democracy for America and Vote.org who are working to protect our right to vote. Visit CREDODonations.com and vote to help us distribute this special donation among these three great groups.

 

WATCH: CREDO Votes 2020 Live with the ACLU’s Cecillia Wang

Cecillia Wang, the ACLU’s Deputy Legal Director and Director of the Center for Democracy, joined us live to discuss the ACLU’s work fighting for everyone’s right to vote in the upcoming election.