Before we talked about going to town hall meetings and other places where you can have access to your Member of Congress, and asking them questions. These tactics work!! WE have already begun to see Representatives all over the country change their tune because they are being confronted by their constituents. One Senator said he “can’t go anywhere anymore without women getting up in his grill” over healthcare and Planned Parenthood. We have seen Nancy Pelosi asked hard questions about making the economy work for all of us. We saw just today a Senator literally run from a town hall as the people there shouted at him about his previous support of some of Trump’s policies. WE HAVE THE POWER. And we are not done. There is still more we can tackle, and more tactics up our sleeves:
OTHER LOCAL PUBLIC EVENTS
In addition to town halls, MoCs regularly attend public events for other purposes — parades, infrastructure groundbreakings, etc. Like town halls, these are opportunities to get face time with the MoCs and make sure they’re hearing about your concerns, while simultaneously changing the news story that gets written.
Similar to town halls, but with some tweaks. To take advantage of this opportunity, you can follow most of the guidelines above for town halls (filming, etc.). However, because these events are not designed for constituent input, you will need to think creatively about how to make sure your presence and message come through loud and clear.
Tactics for these events may be similar to more traditional protests, where you’re trying to shift attention from the scheduled event to your own message.
- Optimize visibility. Unlike in town halls, you want your presence as a group to be recognizable and attention-getting at this event. It may make sense to stick together as a group, wear relatively similar clothing / message shirts, and carry signs in order to be sure that your presence is noticeable.
- Be prepared to interrupt and insist on your right to be heard. Since you won’t get the mic at an event like this, you have to attract attention to yourself and your message. Agree beforehand with your group on a simple message focused on a current or upcoming issue. Coordinate with each other to chant this message during any public remarks that your MoC makes. This can be difficult and a bit uncomfortable. But it sends a powerful message to your MoC that they won’t be able to get press for other events until they address your concerns.
- Identify, and try to speak with, reporters on the scene. Be polite and friendly, and stick to your message. For example, “We’re here to remind Congresswoman Sara that her constituents are opposed to Medicare cuts.” You may want to research in advance which local reporters cover MoCs or relevant beats, so that you know who to look for.
- Hold organizational hosts accountable. Often these events will be hosted by local businesses or nonpartisan organizations — groups that don’t want controversy or to alienate the community. Reach out to them directly to express your concern that they are giving a platform to pro-Trump authoritarianism, racism, and corruption. If they persist, use social media to express your disappointment. This will reduce the likelihood that these organizations will host the Trump-friendly MoC in the future. MoCs depend on invitations like these to build ties and raise their visibility — so this matters to them.