The National Coalition for History Asks For Your Help

Do your Senators and Representatives take history and the preservation of records and historic sites seriously?

Do they support adequate funding for NARA, NHPRC, NPS, and other federal agencies charged with preserving our national history?

Are they members of the Congressional History Caucus? Please ask them to join. Here’s why and how for reaching out to Members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

May 19 deadline fast approaches to provide U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services specific feedback on their services to genealogists….

This is not a hard ask. You can do this online. All the information you need to respond as a genealogist is at Records not Revenue at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/take-action. You don’t have to comment on “everything.” Take one specific thing, make your comment, cite the appropriate section of the Code fo Federal Regulations. We, the genealogical community, need to make our collective voice heard. Do YOUR part today. One little comment MATTERS!

More details from Records not Revenue:

USCIS is seeking public comments about their services and programs. THIS IS OUR CHANCE to really make our voice heard about the Genealogy Program, and demand USCIS transfer their historical records to NARA. We believe that amplifying our voice during this comment period may give us a real opportunity to push this forward. THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS SOON – MAY 19TH! We only have 2 weeks to mobilize the troops and make our voices heard.

An important thing to understand about this campaign – USCIS poses 17 questions. They prefer specific citations for which regulations the submitted comments relate to. You don’t need to answer all (or even any) of the 17 questions, but it’s SUPER important that we note the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in our comments, and encourage others to do so. If we don’t, the comments go into a “General” pile and will be less effective. To give you an idea – right now, there are already 5.4K public comments. 5.16K of them are currently available to view online, and only 23 (!!) of those 5.16K have a “CFR” noted in their comment. If we can get hundreds or thousands of people commenting about 8 CFR 103.38 to 40 (the regulations relating to USCIS Genealogy Program), that will really get their attention.

Please please please share this information far and wide – with your genealogical societies (a perfect opportunity for an email blast), colleagues, clients, your family members, etc. Those who have blogs or a social media reach – well, you know what to do!

All the information that’s needed to understand the call for comments and how to respond is at the website – https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/take-action/. The rest of the site that’s visible has been updated, too.

The National Coalition for History Requests Your Support for NARA and NHPRC

MESSAGE QUOTED IN FULL FROM THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR HISTORY:

“Ask Your House Member to Sign Letter in Support of Increased Funding for NARA and NHPRC

The National Coalition for History (NCH) has worked with Congressmen John Larson (D-CT), Don Young (R-AK), and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) to seek support for additional funding in the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

They have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to their fellow representatives urging them to show their support. The letter will be sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over NARA and the NHPRC’s budgets. Please click on this link to see the letter which has already been sent to House members.

We are requesting the House Appropriations Committee to provide at least $395 million for NARA’s operating expenses in FY21 and at least $7 million for the NHPRC. NARA’s operating expenses budget in constant dollars has remained stagnant for over a decade, even as its responsibilities have increased. When adjusted for inflation, NARA’s budget has decreased by 10% since 2012. NARA today has fewer employees than it did in 1985.

We need you to contact your representative and ask them to sign on to the letter in support of additional funding for NARA and the NHPRC. We have prepared a one-page briefing paper that summarizes the funding challenges facing these two agencies that are so vital to historians, archivists and other stakeholders. Click here to access an on-line version.

The simple truth is Members of Congress are unlikely to sign on to the NARA “Dear Colleague” letter unless they are asked to do so by their constituents! Please help us in this effort by reaching out to your representatives to seek their support.

How to Contact Your Congressperson

To contact your representative, you can use one of these two options. No matter which means of communication you choose, please personalize your message as to your background or interest in history. If you are employed in the field, mention the institution where you work in your congressional district. You can also use the Dear Colleague letteras talking points.

  1. Send a pre-written message directly to your House member. Our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance have created a concise letter that goes directly to your House member. You can add additional language if you want, however we have made it as easy as possible for you to have an impact. Click here to go to the letter, fill in basic contact information, hit send and your message is on its way. When you enter your zip code the system directs your letter to the Member of Congress from your district automatically.
  2. Make a phone call. All Members of Congress can be reached through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, make a phone call. If you speak to a staff member, be sure to get their name and email address so you can forward them a copy of the National Archives/NHPRC Dear Colleague letter. If you get voice mail leave a message and ask them to support the Larson/Young/Pascrell letter and increased funding for NARA and the NHPRC.

To sign on or for more information, tell them to contact Michael Dunn with Rep. Larson Michael.Dunn@mail.house.gov, Dylan Sodaro with Rep. Pascrell Dylan.Sodaro@mail.house.gov, or Kem Crosley with Rep. Young Kem.Crosley@mail.house.gov. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THESE STAFF PEOPLE YOURSELF!”

 

–(End of message from the National Coalition for History.) Thank you.

If You Value History…. Take Action

If you value historic records, historic sites, the teaching of history in schools, and the like, the National Coalition for History has a request for you: Ask your Member of Congress to join the Congressional History Caucus.  (If they are already a member, thank them.) Then, ask your genealogy-minded and history-minded friends to do likewise. Contact them by email! Phone! Postal mail!

The National Coalition for History (NCH) is a consortium of over 50 organizations that advocates on federal, state and local legislative and regulatory issues. The coalition is made up of a diverse number of groups representing historians, archivists, researchers, teachers, students, documentary editors, preservationists, genealogists, political scientists, museum professionals and other stakeholders. In other words, they are lobbyists FOR history with these priorities.

Who will speak for history if YOU don’t make your voice heard? Help NCH lobby FOR history by making your Representatives and Senators know you care about preserving records and historic sites.

Since 1982, the NCH (formerly the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History) has served as the voice for the historical community in Washington. The NCH seeks to encourage the study and appreciation of history by serving as a clearinghouse of information about the profession and as a facilitator on behalf of the interests of our diverse constituency.

The NCH is a non-profit organization organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. NCH is solely supported by contributions from its member organizations and the general public.

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