Urgent Action to Stop the Mega-jail

Riveters!

This Monday the 19th at 7pm it is all hands on deck to ask the Bellingham City Council to vote NO on the Jail Facility Use Agreement*.

If the City Council says yes to funding the big jail, this will send a loud message that the City Council supports a mega-jail. We want them to represent our progressive values and say NO to the big jail because this is the wrong plan for our community.

Please attend the City Council meeting on Monday, June 19th at 7pm, sign in to speak during Open Session, and ask that they vote NO on the Agreement.  If you are unable to attend the meeting, scroll down for city email and phone info and contact them today.

*The Jail Funding Agreement states that the big jail (note: there’s been NO needs assessment to know how big it should be) will be funded with a regressive sales tax that will use 100% of the public safety sales tax capacity available to our community for the next 30 years. It details how the tax will be divided. 

You can view the funding agreement here: Interlocal Jail Facility Financing and Use Agreement. (Click on the “JFFUA” pdf on that page.)

 

What happens after the City Council votes NO?

This goes back to the County Council with a clear message that once again the City of Bellingham does NOT support a big jail in Ferndale. We then turn to the County Council and ask that they vote NO to putting this on the ballot. We can then step up to work with the councils on a solution that’s more fair, that isn’t a mega-jail in Ferndale and that prioritizes treatment over a huge building to lock people up.

 

Talking points

Please choose just one or two and add your own thoughts or story!

  • You are taking one of the last steps towards a mega-jail and it’s the wrong direction for Bellingham. This isn’t just about the funding or how the tax is divided, you’re taking a vote on the big jail. You have no other vote on the jail. This is it. Please vote no.
  • Are we really going to be the last community in America to build the mega-jail? Throughout the US incarceration is dropping and communities are rethinking this failed approach. While there are some who should be in jail, 73% of people in our jail haven’t been convicted. With work, such as the good work Bellingham has been doing, we can reduce incarceration.  
  • This jail proposal is $100-million. We can find a solution that doesn’t include a mega-jail and doesn’t take up all of our public safety tax capacity for the next 30 years. A new building won’t make our community safer.
  • Moving the jail to Ferndale removes a key part of Bellingham’s civic center and puts it in the Ferndale suburbs. This makes it harder for incarcerated individuals to meet with their attorneys, most of whom have offices near the current jail. It will increase the environmental impacts on our community when attorneys and inmates and staff drive back and forth.
  • The VERA Institute is completing a report to the Incarceration Task Force with recommendations to reduce how many people we jail in our community. Until that work is finished and implemented, we won’t know how big our jail should be. Please do not agree to fund the big jail without the data to know if we need it.
  • Our community should reconsider the Ferndale location and ask if the existing downtown Bellingham location might be better. That can only happen if you vote no on this funding agreement.
  • Bellingham has been moving in the right direction by aggressively reducing incarceration. I applaud that work! Please keep moving forward by voting NO on the big jail and this jail agreement.
  • We need to focus on services that will keep people out of jail such as treatment and other services. If we build a mega-jail our sheriff and judges will fill it and we will have less money for the treatment we know will both save money and make our community safer.
  • This proposal includes 36 ‘mental health beds’. But without a needs assessment we don’t know if that’s the right number or if the mentally ill should receive treatment inside the jail or outside, in a dedicated mental health facility.
  • We ask that you vote no on the Jail Funding Agreement and tell the County that this plan isn’t in the best interest of Bellingham.

Contact Information: If you are not able to attend and comment on Monday evening, contact the council today.

Email council at ccmail@cob.org, phone their office at (360) 778-8200, or give them a call:

  • April Barker, (360) 325-5128
  • Gene Knutson, (360) 734-4686
  • Dan Hammill, (360) 778-8213
  • Pinky Vargas, (360) 778-8210
  • Terry Bornemann, (360) 305-0606
  • Michael Lilliquist, (360) 778-8212
  • Roxanne Murphy, (360) 778-8211

Recommended Actions for the Week of 20170417

Local Level Actions

National Level Actions / Other

From the Calendar

Mondays from 11:30a.m.-1:30p.m.: Attend a vigil hosted by C2C every Monday in front of City Hall. Show the powers that be that you stand by our undocumented workers and anyone else running afoul of ICE. Let the officials know it’s not alright to tear families apart!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 5:00-6:00p.m.: Please join the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center and the Veterans For Peace Chapter 111 at Lottie and Grand (by the Bellingham Public Library) in resisting a federal budget that fuels the U.S. war machine and corporate greed. Bellingham will be one of hundreds of sites of action across 35 countries calling on elected representatives to prioritize human needs over war. We will:

  • Unveil a massive banner exposing the outrageous amount of funding the U.S. federal budget allocates to the military in comparison to other federal programs.
  • Reflect on the problems caused by excessive militarism and the military-industrial complex.
  • Demand that Congress start to prioritize human needs over corporate greed by agreeing not to vote for increases to military spending.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 7:00-9:00p.m.: Community Forum: The Future of Affordable Care hosted by Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement at St. Luke’s Community Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham, WA 98225.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 7:00-9:00p.m.: Put a Cork in it, Trump! A postcard writing party at Vinostrology Wine Lounge & Merchant, 120 W. Holly Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.

Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 12:30-4:00p.m.: March for Science Bellingham at City Hall. Click here to learn more. Use the Facebook post to spread the word.

Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 1:00-2:30p.m.: RC Education Series: Campaign 101 at the Leopold Crystal Ballroom, 1224 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225. Join Riveters Collective for a nuts and bolts campaign training for candidates and campaign volunteers. This is a family-friendly event. Bring a snack or beverage to share if you’d like, potluck to follow!

Press Release: Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve – HB 1001 Amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Contact:

Elizabeth Hartsoch, Riveters Collective, 1-360-305-5624

 

Statement: Pick a job, Senator Ericksen.

WHATCOM COUNTY, WASHINGTON — Today the Washington State Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee held a hearing on HB 1001 and Senator Ericksen was in attendance. HB 1001 is a technical  bill updating the payment schedule for utility easements on state owned aquatic lands.  It passed the House 97-0 and is now being considered in the Senate.  But Senator Erickson has introduced a major amendment which would overturn state protection of Cherry Point.

The amendment language mirrors that from one of his failed senate bills, a bill for which he was the sole sponsor, and missed the hearing because he was at his full-time job in Washington, D.C. – unsurprising since Senator Ericksen has missed more than three quarters of his committee hearings this year.

Citizens and elected Tribal leaders, however, showed up in force to the January 24th hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Park Committee. Citizens and Tribal leaders opposing the bill filled the hearing room and an overflow room. Tribal leaders spoke in opposition and not a single person signed in to support overturning protections of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve.1

In response to this renewed attempt to open the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve to industrial development, local activists with the Riveters Collective issued the following Statement:

“Our message was clear at the hearing in January – we want state protection for the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve,” said Elizabeth Hartsoch with the Riveters Collective and a resident of the 42nd Legislative District. “Unfortunately, our Senator was in D.C. at his other job. Nobody – not even Senator Ericksen – signed in to support his attempt to overturn protection of the Cherry Point Aquatic reserve, and it failed to advance out of committee.  Today Senator Ericksen flew back from DC to try again to open up the Salish Sea for coal export. This is a waste of everyone’s time and both state and federal taxpayer money. Once again we urge Senator Ericksen to pick one full-time job and stick with it.  Nobody – not his constituents back home nor his colleagues in Olympia – is well served by him trying to keep both jobs.”

 

1Summary Report Showing No One Signed in to support SB 5171. 

Urgent Call to Action: Protect Cherry Point!

Riveters, this is an urgent call to take action by Tuesday, March 21, to protect Cherry Point from fossil fuel export!  We need all who can to do BOTH of the following:

1. Oppose Senator Ericksen’s efforts to reverse the order that removed the 45-acre pier-sized cutout from the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve boundary.

  • In January 2017, honoring Lummi Nation’s request and with strong public support, Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark issued an order that amended the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve boundary to remove the 45-acre pier-sized cutout that had been left for then-proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal when the Reserve was established.  See here for more information.
  • Senator Ericksen proposed SB 5171 to rescind that order and require that any future aquatic reserve designation, establishment, or enlargement be expressly authorized by the legislature.  That bill did not make it out of committee.
  • Now, Senator Ericksen is trying to amend a bill on utility easements for aquatic lands to include the language from SB5171.  He is flying back from DC to hold a hearing on Tuesday, March 21, at 10am in the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Telecommunications.
  • Take action! 
    • Call committee members and ask them to oppose amendment S-2118.1 to HB1001.  Let’s flood them with calls on MONDAY, 3/20!!
      • Hotline 1-800-562-6000
      • Committee members: 
        • Chair: Doug Ericksen, 42nd, (360) 786-7682
        • Vice-Chair: Tim Sheldon, 35th, (360) 786-7668
        • Reuven Carlyle, 36th, (360) 786-7670
        • Sharon Brown, 8th, (360) 786-7614
        • Steve Hobbs, 44th, (360) 786-7686
        • Jim Honeyford, 15th, (360) 786-7684
        • Kevin Ranker, 40th, (360) 786-7678
        • Shelly Short, 7th, (360) 786-7612
        • Lisa Wellman, 41st, (360) 786-7641
      • Suggested Script: My name is [insert name] and I live in [insert County].  I’m calling to urge the Senator to oppose Senator Ericksen’s striking amendment (S-2118.1) to HB1001. It’s a back-door approach to overturn protection of the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. This reserve was based on science and significant public input over several years. It followed a decision by the US Army Corps that was based on 27 separate studies and 124,000 comments by citizens across Washington State. Prior to setting aside the reserve, the DNR received 5,000 responses in favor of the protected reserve and just 10 opposed, including one from Senator Ericksen. Please oppose this back-door approach to overturning science and the public’s will.
    • If you can, attend the public hearing in Olympia on 3/21 at 10am. Public leaders are being asked to attend the hearing to speak out on impacts of fossil fuel export projects.  Show your support for these speakers by wearing red!

2. Ask Whatcom County Council to extend the moratorium on unrefined fossil fuel export projects and strengthen Comprehensive Plan policies for Cherry Point.

***From ReSources Clean Energy Blog***  Sign up for updates!!

  • Although SSA Marine has withdrawn their 2011 county permits for a coal terminal at Cherry Point, the fact is still the same: Cherry Point remains a targeted route to export crude oil, tar sands, and fracked gas.
  • Whatcom County Council is working on updates to their Comprehensive Plan policies for Cherry Point.  Let’s call on Whatcom County Council to take action to protect the public by discourage projects that will bring more dangerous crude oil shipments through Whatcom County and the Salish Sea!   
  • Take action!

Dear Whatcom County Council,

As a [insert city] resident and citizen of Whatcom County, I implore you to act to the full extent of your power to protect our community’s health and safety, farms, fisheries and natural resources from the dangers of fossil fuel shipments by rail, pipeline and marine vessel. Cherry Point is a targeted route to export crude oil, tar sands, fracked gas, and propane from Canada, which would bring high risks of spills, leaks, explosions, pollution, traffic, a local tax burden, reduced property values, and the degradation of our quality of life.

I urge you to take the following actions, without delay:

  • Extend the temporary moratorium on permits for fossil fuel export projects until the Shoreline Master Plan is updated and until new development regulations are implemented. Additionally, please add a moratorium on applications for any modification of piers, docks, or wharfs in or adjacent to the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve.
  • Commence a legal study into Whatcom County’s powers to prevent future development for coal, oil, and gas exports.
  • Strengthen policies in the Comprehensive Plan to prevent piecemeal upgrades for oil exports by requiring Magnuson Amendment review of all permits that involve handling petroleum; block any new proposals for shipping piers in the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve; recognize Lummi Nation’s history and treaty-protected fishing rights; and complete a legal study by December 2017.

I support your work to protect the ecological and cultural significance of Cherry Point. Thank you.

  • Attend the public hearing on Tuesday, March 21st, at 7pm in the Whatcom County Council Chambers, 311 Grand Ave., Bellingham, and WEAR RED!  RSVP to ReSources by sending an email to cleanenergy@re-sources.org.

Recommended Local Actions for the Week of 20170313

DON’T FORGET: ACT BY TUESDAY!  Whatcom Conservation District election, North Cascades Grizzly Restoration. 

WCD ELECTION: Drop off your ballot or vote in person (at WCD’s office at 6975 Hannegan Road, Lynden. Polls will be open between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm) for District Board Supervisor by Tuesday 3/14 at 6pm the Whatcom Conservation District Board Supervisor election.  In case you missed our post about the candidates, we have more information here.

GRIZZLY BEARS: Have you had a chance to submit written comment to support the Draft Grizzly Bear Restoration Plan/Environmental Impact Statement Alternative C?  Public comment ends Tuesday.  More information from an earlier post here.

 

CARBON TAX: Support Clean Energy by Creating a Carbon Tax (HB 1646/SB 5509)

**From Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, Washington Environmental Council, Sierra Club (edited).  Despite a federal government that refuses to acknowledge climate change, Washington state can and must step up as a leader and a beacon of hope for equitable climate policy.  How can you help?

 

PUGET SOUND: Stand Up for Puget Sound

Alarmed at the news that the Trump administration plans to dramatically cut funding for Puget Sound protection and restoration?  The Washington Environmental Council has identified five ways to stand up for Puget Sound.  We’d like to highlight and elaborate on just two of those:

  • Talk to your state legislators about why we must adequately fund Puget Sound protection and recovery at the state level. State support for natural resources programs as a whole and Puget Sound protections specifically has declined dramatically over the past several years.
    • Contact your legislators offices directly.
    • Legislature Hotline: 1-800-562-6000
    • Suggested script: I am a constituent of [insert legislator name], and now more than ever, it is important that we take action to protect and restore Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.  Please support funding for important Puget Sound Protection and Restoration programs, including toxic cleanup and prevention (Support HB1663/SB5501), sound floodplain management (“Floodplains by Design” program), and habitat protection and restoration (“Puget Sound Recovery and Acquisition Fund”).
    • Thank the Congressional Puget Sound caucus for championing our region at the national level. They have their work cut out for them, and saying “thank you” is important. Click here to remind them that you have their backs.

FAIR CHANCE: Call/Comment: People who have served their time deserve a fair chance.

The Fair Chance Act (Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1298), which would prevent employers from asking about arrests or convictions until after an employer has determined that the applicant is qualified for the position, was voted out of the House and is now in the Senate committee on Commerce, Labor and Sports.

Suggested comment:
“One of the biggest problems facing people convicted of a crime is “the box.” Job applicants who answer that they’ve been convicted of a crime, even something rather minimal, are less likely to get hired.  People who have served their time deserve a fair chance.  Please vote for SHB 1298″.

 

SAVE THE DATE!  3/21, 7pm: Whatcom County Council public hearing on Cherry Point moratorium and Comp Plan Amendments.

**From ReSources for Sustainable Communities.  Come speak out in support of extending the moratorium on fossil fuel exports and strengthening policies in the Comprehensive Plan protecting Cherry Point.  See here to RSVP and for more information.

 

From the Calendar

15 March 2017.  Eric Hirst to speak on “Water in Whatcom County, and Why We should Be Concerned”, 7-8:30pm, Carl Cozier School, 1330 Lincoln St., Bellingham.

 

Event: Hope & Action with Senator Kevin Ranker and Chairman Timothy Ballew II

Join us for an inspirational and practical forum featuring state senator Kevin Ranker and Timothy Ballew II, chair of the Lummi Nation.

Senator Ranker will provide specific ideas for what each of us can do to stand up for our core values in the face of our current administration.  Ranker is clear:  there are core areas about which we cannot compromise:  women’s rights, minority rights, LGBTQ rights, access to quality education, reproductive health and choice, environmental protection.  Chairman Ballew will share opening words.

You’ll leave the presentation fired up, with a list of ideas for what you can do now to bring about positive change!  

This free event is co-sponsored by the Lummi Nation and Riveters Collective.

Date: Sunday, 19 March 2017
Time: 1:00 p.m.  Lobby doors open at 12:00, theater doors at 12:30
Location: Mount Baker Theatre
Tickets: This is not a ticketed event.  Attendance is free, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
R.S.V.P. To receive updates, r.s.v.p. to our Facebook event or check this page.
Accommodations: We plan to have an ASL interpreter.  Guests can also request assistive hearing devices from theatre ushers or staff.  The theatre has eight permanent wheelchair spots.
DONATE HERE: We met our fundraising goal, no more donations!

Step Five to Taking Action

How are you doing? What was the last action you took?

Maybe you’re feeling fired up and taking action every day.  Maybe you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and disheartened by the news each day, making it hard to act.  Maybe life has interrupted and your best intentions have taken a backseat to dealing with urgent personal matters.

No matter how many actions you’ve taken so far, know this: WE ARE IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL.

This is not normal.  And we must never ever allow ourselves to let it feel normal.

There is no finish line. No future end date we are aiming towards.  This is not a diet or a challenge or a campaign.

This is brushing your teeth.  This is grocery shopping.  This is paying bills.  This is exercise.  This is drinking coffee.  This is weeding the garden.

This is a habit. This is you making a permanent slot in your regular routine for taking action to protect our rights, fight injustice and inequality, and protect vulnerable populations.  You can do it.  You must.

Good news!  You already know how to start new habits.  (And if your life does not allow you to commit to a new habit right now, work in actions as much as you can until you have more bandwidth.)

Tips for Sustaining Action

Schedule it

Set aside some time for your reading the news, researching, reading books, writing letters, making calls, and planning actions. Schedule it on your calendar just like any other appointment and set a reminder. 

Remember to set up recurring, monthly donations, too.

 

Narrow Your Focus

There are so many actions to take and so much work to do.  It can feel overwhelming.  One way to fight this problem is to narrow your focus to your top three issues you are most passionate about.  Follow groups that are organizing issues on those topics.  Maybe you’ll branch out in the future, the most important thing is to keep acting and not get stuck at inaction.  Keep this in mind, though.

 

Use a Cheat Sheet

People out there are doing the  work of researching and selecting regular actions so that you don’t have to.  Here are a few cheat sheets to follow that will deliver regular actions to you, along with the rationale and sources behind them.

Wall of Us

Pantsuit Resources

Resistance 365

Fight Trump

Resist Tinyletter

 

Join a Group

Thousands of grassroots groups sprung up immediately after the election with the purpose of organizing action against Trump. These groups are working online and in person.  They are planning actions on a local level,  state level, national level, and world level.  Find one near you. (This list is not comprehensive, but a good round up.)

 

Form an Accountability Circle

This is simple.  Find some buddies who also are taking and agree to regularly check in with each other to see how it’s going.  Meet in person, do a group chat online, form a Facebook group, or however you want to go about it.  Every (one, two, three) weeks, ask everyone to report in with their latest actions. Knowing someone is going to check on you can give you that extra motivation you need.


Or, simply post your latest actions on social media and ask what your friends have been up to.  Use this hashtag: #actionaccountability

 

Celebrate, Reward, and Take Care of Yourself

Are you tired yet?  I am.  This work is exhausting physically and emotionally. Don’t burn out. Please take care of yourself.    We need you and your voice.  Take a break when you need to, but come back, refreshed and full of fire. Practice your favorite self-care.  Reward yourself for taking action.  And celebrate our victories!  Because there will be victories.  You can do it.  You must.  Remember, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

Missed step four? Read it here.

Take action:

Support Washington’s Oil Transportation Safety Bill (HB 1611 / SB 5462)

Oil transportation is a hot issue this legislative session.  Despite the critical gains around public disclosure and preparedness measures, significant gaps remain that put our communities and waterways at risk of an oil spill or other such disaster.  Given the Trump Administration’s support of the oil industry, it is now more important than ever to make sure that we here in Washington are holding the line.

In response, Representative Farrell (46th) and Senator Carlyle (36th) introduced the Oil Transportation Safety bill (HB 1611 / SB 5462). Highlights of the bill include:

  • Ensuring the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster;
  • Updating the funding for prevention, preparedness and response;
  • Protecting Puget Sound from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline;
  • Protecting against refineries turning into transshipment terminals; and
  • Strengthening oversight of pipeline safety.

This is a great time to engage and show your support!  You have two choices for action:

  • Attend the hearings scheduled in the Senate and House. RSVP (and arrange carpools) here.
    • THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, at 10 a.m. in the Senate.
    • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6th, at 1:30 p.m. in the House. The House is more favorable to the bill, so this hearing is more important. Watch live here: http://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2017021092
  • Call your state legislators to ask them to support the bill.
    • Find your Representatives here.
    • Send a brief message to your district legislators through the in-state toll-free Hotline :800.562.6000.
    • Click here for one-step email.
    • Suggested script:
      • Washingtonians continue to be at risk of oil spills and other disasters. In the wake of the Mosier, OR, derailment this past June, the threat of the Kinder Morgan pipeline increasing tanker traffic 7-fold, and the increase in use in pipelines for crude oil transport, we need to continue to improve our system.
      • Please support HB 1611/SB 5462 – Oil Transportation Safety Act – and protect Washington’s communities and waterways.
      • Key parts of the bill include:
        • Ensuring the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster;
        • Updating the funding for prevention, preparedness and response;
        • Protecting Puget Sound from increased oil barges and other vessels from the Kinder Morgan Pipeline;
        • Protecting against refineries turning into transshipment terminals; and
        • Strengthening oversight of pipeline safety.
      • I urge you to support and move forward HB 1611 and SB 5462.

For more information, please see the press release for the bill.  

Immigration Ban

By Abhinaba Basu from Redmond, United States (Peace arch Canada-US border Uploaded by X-Weinzar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How to support our community

Pantsuit Bellingham members are seeking effective means of supporting members of our community affected by the immigration ban.  We are using this page as a clearinghouse for information on organizations and events supporting members of our community who are affected by the ban.  Submit constructive feedback or ideas in this Facebook thread.

Events

29 January 2017 Emergency Rally Against Muslim Ban
Peace Arch Park

12 February 2017 Worker and Immigrant Solidarity March

 

Organizations

ACLU of Washington 

CAIR Seattle

IRC Seattle

KIND

NWIRP

OneAmerica

ReWA

Step Four to Taking Action

Here we go- time to get busy.  Let’s look at how you can use your time to influence change.

Some of these actions are quick and introvert-friendly.  Some are harder and require you to step out of your comfort zone.  You can do it.

 

Petition (quick and easy, but low impact)

Signing online petitions is a simple, entry-level action.  You sign your name and zip code to support a cause you believe in. It takes about 30 seconds.  BUT, it’s hard to say how much they actually accomplish. (Read here, here, and here.)  Keep in mind that signing will probably get you on an email list, and right after you sign, you will probably be asked to donate money and share the petition.  That being said, there’s no harm in signing a petition, as long as it’s not the only action you take.

Here are some petition sources:

Moveon.org

CREDO Action

Petition the White House

Moms Rising

 

Vote (moderate research time, impactful, it’s your duty)

Duh.  You must vote. Vote in every election: local, state, and national.  Vote, vote, vote. Here’s some ways to get informed:

Vote Smart

Vote 411

Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to vote, too.  If our friends just voted in local and midterm elections we could change the world. Far too many people (it would surprise you who) are inconsistent in voting.  We should all be helping to get out the vote. Check out the Whatcom Democrats for get out the vote opportunities.

 

Call and Write Letters (quick to moderate time, moderate impact)

Contacting politicians and policy makers to share your opinion about specific issues is a simple, tried and true way to influence change.  If you’ve never done it, it can sound intimidating.  Luckily, there are scripts out there to follow to make it easy.  And the people who answer the phones are nice.  You don’t have to be a political junkie to call or write.  These public servants are there to serve YOU.  Let them know what you think.

Tip: Write handwritten letters instead of using the contact forms on their webpages or sending email.  Real letters get noticed.

Tip: Put the numbers for your congresspeople (state and national) in your phone.  You’re going to be calling them a lot. Find your elected officials.

Fabulous, rich resource: The Sixty-Five

Sometimes it’s as simple as a postcard campaign or a letter writing campaign.

 

Attend Town Hall Meetings (moderate time, high impact)

Word is, the best way to get your legislator’s attention is to attend one of their Town Hall meetings and ask questions.  Check out this wonderful, detailed guide put together by a handful of former DC staffers.  And, this former congressman confirms it: go to the Town Halls and ask hard questions.

 

Protest (moderate time, high profile impact)

Seattle Womxn’s March

Why should YOU participate in a peaceful protest?  Read this.

For many of us, this will be our first time protesting.  You don’t have to be a young radical to protest.  Here are some tips for protesters.  (These are very practical and may make you feel uncomfortable.  Peaceful, organized protests are not without risk, but they are entirely different than violent destruction and looting.)

Tips from the ACLU

More tips

Watch the news and your networks for upcoming peaceful protests.  There will be many.

Watch for local Planned Parenthood support rallies to counter anti-PP vigils.

Bellingham is the home of the longest running weekly peace vigil in the country. Downtown, every Friday from 4-5.

 

Volunteer (moderate to high time, high impact)

Remember all those organizations (big and small) you just donated too?  They could use your time, too. Most of them have volunteer opportunities.  Yes, life is busy.  Sometimes there are volunteer opportunities that can be accomplished online, from the comfort of your pjs. Look into it. Bonus- it’s good for your health!

Serve 306 is asking you to pledge 306 hours of volunteer time over the next four years.  That’s about 1.5 hours per week. Totally doable.

Also, your city or county probably has boards and commissions that need volunteers to guide decisions. Here’s Whatcom County’s current vacancies.

 

Campaign (moderate to high time, high impact)

Signing up as a volunteer for a political party or organization will get you on the list of folks to help out in the next campaign, whether it’s local, state, or national.  There are lots of ways to help a campaign, ranging from low to high time commitment.

Democrats

Bernie

 

Run for office (high time, high impact)

Yes, you!  If you are passionate about local issues, consider running for local office: School Board, City Council, etc.  Especially if you’re a woman.

 

Try a few of these and see how it goes.  Then try a few more.

Next up, the final step: sustaining action.

Missed step three? Read it here.

Ready for step five? Read it here.

Take action: