Last group reading we talked about forming and working within groups. This idea was broken down into two separate posts; one about direct action groups and one about community groups, depending on how what level people are ready to engage at. Now that we have that framework, we’re going to add some last tools to our skill set from chapter 4 of “Indivisible”. This last chapter is pretty meaty, so we’re going to break it up into smaller chunks to make sure we really get it.
Ch. 4: Four local advocacy tactics that actually work
“Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world” -Dolores Huerta
This chapter describes the nuts and bolts of implementing four advocacy tactics to put pressure on your three MoCs – your Representative and two Senators. Before we get there though, there’s one thing all local groups should do:
Begin with these five steps to gather intel. Before anything else, take the following five steps to arm yourself with information necessary for all future advocacy activities.
- Find your three MoCs, their official websites, and their office contact info at www.callmycongress.com.
- Every MoC has an e-newsletter. Sign up on their website to receive regular email updates, invites to local events, and propaganda to understand what they’re saying.
- Find out where your MoC stands on the issues of the day – appointment of white supremacists, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Review their voting history at VoteSmart.org. Research their biggest campaign contributors at OpenSecrets.org.
- Set up a Google News Alert (here) – for example for “Rep. Bob Smith” – to receive an email whenever your MoC is in the news.
- Research on Google News (here) what local reporters have written about the MoC. Find and follow them on Twitter, and build relationships. Before you attend or plan an event, reach out and explain why your group is protesting and provide them background materials and a quote. Journalists on deadline – even those who might not agree with you – appreciate when you provide easy material for a story.
|Note on Safety and Privilege
We do not yet know how Trump supporters will respond to organized shows of opposition, but we have seen enough to be very concerned that minorities will be targeted or singled out. Plan your actions to ensure that no one is asked to take on a role that they are not comfortable with – especially those roles that call for semi-confrontational behavior – and be mindful of the fact that not everyone is facing an equal level of threat. Members of your group who enjoy more privilege should think carefully about how they can ensure that they are using their privilege to support other members of the group. If you are concerned about potential law enforcement intimidation, consider downloading your state’s version of the ACLU Mobile Justice app in order to ensure that any intimidating behavior is captured on film.