Organize with New Local Coalition to Stop A Coup

The JUST DEMOCRACY COALITION is a new informal alliance of organizations, groups and individuals in and around Tompkins County, NY. We are organizing ourselves to do everything we can to stop an illegitimate power grab by the Trump administration.  We see nonviolence as the effective strategy that will enable us to connect broadly with all who share our concern for protecting democracy – so that we can continue to work on transforming it. 


“We have a president who has openly said he might not respect the outcome of our election. We have to be ready if he claims victory before votes are counted, tries to stop counting, or refuses to accept a loss.” – The Washington Post, July 19, 2020

Stealing the election by any of these means is a coup, a power grab, a violation of the democratic process. Trump’s violations of power and law throughout the country has made this potential coup possible. The suppression and criminalization of protest, the deployment of unidentified troops accountable only to himself, the deliberate creation of chaos and violence, and the use of propaganda and outright lies that the Trump Administration has engaged in are just a few of numerous examples of abuse of power. This is unacceptable.


You can be part of the Coalition by signing the Tompkins Area Online Pledge to Choose Democracy. As signers we agree that:

1. We will vote.

2. We will refuse to accept election results until all the votes are counted.

3. We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coup is attempted (or support those that do.)

4. If we need to, we will shut down this country to protect the integrity of the democratic process.

Wednesday, Nov 4, 7PM. Join the conversation and hear about actions being planned locally. You can join a team to help plan events, become a trained peacekeeper, get your organization to sign on to the Choose Democracy pledge, help with social media, lead us in songs and chants, make beautiful banners and signs… whatever your skills, there’s a way you can help. To register for this meeting and get the Zoom Link, click HERE

Text CHOOSE to 50409 to be linked to national organizing efforts, and to receive a call to action the moment a coup is declared.

Whatever the election results so far, let’s come together in a massive show of Peaceful People-Power on Saturday, November 7 at 1 PM at the Bernie Milton pavilion on the Ithaca Commons. We will gather in solidarity to demand that every citizen’s vote be counted, and that there will be a peaceful transfer of power. Register HERE.

5) LEARN THESE SIMPLE NEW SONGS by the Peace Poets— and get ready to share our people power, love and positivity at upcoming events!



  • Build connections and collaborations among diverse groups and organizations with a shared commitment to stopping an attempted coup and building a more just democracy
  • Enable fast and flexible responses to changing situations
  • Organize events, actions, persuasion campaigns, and gatherings both in person and online 
  • Build a collective culture of effective, discipline
  • Encourage preparation and planning for rolling strikes, general strike, or other forms of widespread noncompliance with illegitimate authority, if necessary


  • Building a database of people in and around Tompkins County who want to be informed of actions (in person and online) that are happening around this year’s election and the aftermath
  • Sharing the Choose Democracy Pledge and encouraging organizations, elected officials, faith groups, and others to sign on
  • Encouraging everyone to lean on elected officials to demand that every vote be counted    
  • Sending timely emails to our members to keep you informed of actions you can take from home and on the street

In solidarity and joy!


Demands for an Anti-Racist Cornell

More than 700 people connected with Cornell have already co-signed a letter that demands anti-racist change from the administration. The letter points out a central tension in the way the university operates. On one hand, the letter identifies the ways that Cornell is complicit in perpetuating structural racism and white supremacy. And on the other, it invokes Cornell’s history of activism, liberal self-image, and stated focus on justice–including its egalitarian founding motto about “…any person …any study.”

This contradiction underscores the fact that Cornell is not doing enough to work toward meaningful change both on and off campus. As the letter says, “diversity” initiatives are commonplace at Cornell—but they fall miles short of the uncomfortable, structural change that is necessary to dismantle the academic systems that have built up over centuries to favor privileged, white people and systematically disadvantage Black people, indigenous people, and other people of color.

The letter distills the message into demands: 10 “immediate” demands, including changes to hiring and grad student recruitment, and 29 “long-term” demands, including eliminating the GRE requirement for graduate programs and ensuring pay equality for BIPOC faculty. One long-term demand, to name a building after alumna Toni Morrison, will be fulfilled next year when new residential halls open. The demands are detailed but represent only the beginning of a major realignment that Cornell needs to put its stated commitment to racial justice into actual practice.

You can sign the letter now to convey your support for the demands, especially if you have some connection to Cornell.

Sign Demand Letter & Join Campaign to Defund Ithaca Police

TC SURJ is working with the Tompkins Antiracist Coalition to drastically shrink the budget of the Ithaca Police Department and use local public funds to invest in true safety and community needs. As first steps, our multiracial coalition is gathering signatures for a demand letter and launching a popular education and agitation campaign. We invite you to sign our letter (a place to sign is linked in the demand letter above) and encourage other members of our community to sign, too.

Below the letter is the list of our specific demands.  For more information about the demands, see this FAQ sheet.


Sign on form:

Please add your name today! If you are part of an organization that wants to be a part of the coalition and help strategize moving forward, or have questions/comments, reach out at

Unpacking Thanksgiving

For a portion of November’s SURJ Chapter Meeting, two members hosted an educational session on the history of land and native people in relation to Thanksgiving and navigating conversations around the holidays. Below are some resources.

Article on the holiday itself: Thanksgiving: A Native American View, by Jacqueline Keeler

On having a dialogue in a way to foster continuing conversations: Talking Across the Political Divide: Skills for Difficult Personal Conversations, by Better Angels

Printable resources from national SURJ including the placemat (scroll a little):

Also, here are some notes from our conversations during the chapter meeting about what barriers/resources came up when thinking about how we as individuals understand Thanksgiving and what might come up in thoughts about having courageous conversations with the people who we may be gathering with for the holiday:
  • The book titles mentioned were Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeAn Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United StatesCuster Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
  • Consider the balance in maintaining relationships without avoiding breaking white silence
  • Share articles Before you’re at the dinner table which gives folks time to read digest and have background ahead of time
  • Connect to different backgrounds/frameworks, being sensitive that those backgrounds may not include the nuanced definitions that accompany the jargon of social justice
  • Incorporate honoring native people/creating new traditions in prayers said at the table
  • Initiate dialogue with “I learned something this week…”