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:

Why I March – a Sound Bite

Uncomfortable with the idea of speaking to others at the march (possibly while being recorded) about your participation? The below are “script-let” ideas that may provide you with a helpful guide of sorts for expressing your involvement concisely and confidently. Please feel free to use this “fill in the blanks” template as a guide if you’re in that boat. This is not a prescribed script, meaning you should of course feel free to individualize and use YOUR voice! Again, this is wording people can choose to use if they’re not comfortable soap-boxing and it should probably be cautioned that while the press can always use unseemly snippets, it can benefit all if we work to represent the entire group in a positive, cohesive way.

Other suggestions one might find helpful are:
Be polite but serious
Stick to facts
Avoid too many specifics and also over-generalizations
If you feel intimidated or anxious, you can always just lean back on a simple “I’m marching because I support human rights” – say your piece and keep marching.
There is no shame in feeling flustered speaking to relative strangers; don’t feel bad about keeping it ‘short and sweet’.

______

I’m marching to:
… increase visibility for _____________ (human rights issues, women’s right to choose, the disenfranchised, environmental issues, etc.)
… promote awareness of __________ (LGBTQ issues, equal pay, _____ reform, etc.)
… stand against the assault on our _________ (environment, health care system, free press, etc.)
… support ____________ (human rights, justice for all, etc.)
… end ______________ (racism, sexism, classism, discriminatory legislation systems and harmful practices, etc.)
… increase visibility for ___________ (environmental issues, refugee issues, etc)
… show my neighbors, community and friends that I take their concerns seriously, and have deep respect and love for all the inhabitants of this country.
… bring attention to the plight of many marginalized groups because we’re all connected, and we can do better for all. There is room for all. This is a time for all.
… give a voice to non-human beings that are impacted by our actions.
… say that we cannot heal and improve upon that which we ignore or denigrate, no matter how difficult, inconvenient or time-consuming.
…send a message to our government and politicians that people of all creeds, colors, backgrounds, religions, genders, abilities and income levels deserve dignity, respect and equality. They can and do make contributions, seen and unseen, to this great nation. We owe it to present and future generations to strive for a better, safer, healthier, more just, and prosperous nation and world.

By Lindsay Sandbar

Step Three to Taking Action

Now you are informed and ready- time to act! Your best two tactics are your money and your time. Let’s talk $$.

Photo by Newton Free Library on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

First, donations.

There are a bajillion organizations working to do good. Many run on donations. It can be hard to figure out who to donate to. What do you care about? Which organizations are legit? How much money? How often? What about local groups vs. national organizations?

Narrow it down
This might be difficult. Many of us care about all of it- the environment, women’s rights, healthcare, LGBTQ rights, etc. Try picking your top three issues and start with those. Maybe even make a calendar where you focus on different issues each month or quarter.
This is a good list of ideas (check the comments, too): http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-wo…

Find legitimate organizations
Charity Navigator is a great tool to help you decide who will use your donation effectively.

Every bit helps
If you only have a few bucks to spare and are wondering if it’s even worth donating that much, know that it DOES HELP. We are working on a scale of millions of people making donations. A buck or two adds up.

If you can swing an automatic monthly donation, go for it.

Think globally, act locally (and nationally and globally)
Don’t forget about your hometown organizations. You can often have the most impact with these small fish. Use our Civic Tithing tool to help find local organizations and set up monthly donations. Also, Charity Navigator has a rich search function, including a way to look for local charities: https://www.charitynavigator.org/in…

 

It’s also time to boycott

You can also make a difference with your everyday spending habits.

Anti-Trump
You can choose to spend your money at places that do not support Trump or his family’s businesses. Shannon Coulter started the #grabyourwallet boycott in late October. Here is the current list of business to boycott, scripts to use to tell them why you’re boycotting, and alternative businesses to use instead: https://grabyourwallet.org/

Pro-justice
You can also sign up to participate in the Injustice Boycott, which began last December. This boycott is about preventing police brutality and racial injustice.
Do you know of any other current boycotts?

That’s your first action: donate and spend wisely. Next up, how to use your time to make a difference.

Missed step two? Read it here.

Ready for step four? Read it here.

Take action:

Alternative Inauguration Day Events

By Jnn13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Take back Inauguration Day by participating in one of these alternative events on Friday, January 20th.

Because you can love this country AND skip the inauguration.

Local

Our Inauguration Day: The Bellingham People’s Movement Assembly

WWU Student Walkout to #ResistTrump on Inauguration Day

WCC Resists Trump: Student Walkout on Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day Cabaret, at Sylvia Center

Bring Your Light to the Library

Don’t Mourn – Organize!

Unite Turtle Island: Inauguration Protest at the Border

Rest up and prepare for the Women’s Marches the next day.

National

Women Strike

Love-a-thon

Step Two to Taking Action

 

Alright, so you’ve got your non-biased news sources and you’re keeping up with things- nice! Now it’s time for step two: homework.

I know, you already have a busy life, and you’ve just upped your news intake on top of that. The thing is, you won’t be able to make effective or meaningful actions until you fully understand the situation.

First, the basics.

  • Here’s a nice civics brush up.
  • These gamified civics lessons are aimed at students, but look like fun for any age. Bonus- they’re an initiative of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • And here’s a handy post of our own about how the local Democratic party works.

Next, you might be wondering how this happened.

While we’re at it, we need to understand how to be better allies, too. Don’t forget the kids.

Putting a few of these books on reserve at the library is a great way to go. Get reading!

Missed step one? Read it here.

Ready for step three? Read it here.

Take action:

Step One to Taking Action

Since the election, everyone is talking about taking action and asking you to act, too.*

Let’s take a step back- maybe you’re not sure where to start or are feeling overwhelmed?

The world feels a bit topsy-turvy in the worst sort of way right now. And then on top of it, many people are telling you to call this person and sign this petition and donate here. It can be easy to get stuck at inaction from feeling overwhelmed.

Whatever your level of political activism has been, it’s time to take it up two notches. Our best chance to protect the rights and freedoms we have fought for over the last generations is to make your voice heard. If we all do a little, it will add up to a lot. You can do it. You must.

“emma reading the newspaper” by Diego Sevilla Ruiz on flickr. Used under Creative Commons license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The first step to sorting through everything is to get informed.

You need to be up to speed on what’s happening in order to decide what actions to take. One of the challenges is that the media is often biased, both to the right and to the left.

Here are the least biased news sources: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/cent…

Along with the neutral sites, try adding in a few sites that lean slightly left and some that lean slightly right to get a sense of the whole picture.

Avoid sites that are extremely biased or flat out false. Here’s some tips for spotting fake news: https://www.facebook.com/OnTheMedia…

Here are some known fake news sites to avoid: http://www.snopes.com/2016/01/14/fa…

That’s step one. Pay attention, watch your sources.  Stay tuned for step two.

*For why you should take action, see here and here.

Take action:

Womxn’s Marches – Bellingham, Seattle, DC


We’re getting a lot of questions about the Women’s Marches.  Here are links to information for marches in Bellingham, Seattle and DC.

Womxn’s March on Washington – Bellingham

Event Information
Website
Facebook page
Facebook event

 

Womxn’s March – Washington State – Seattle

Event Information
Website
Facebook group
Facebook event

Transportation
Our bus is full, and there are at least three buses departing from Bellingham for the march.  I will update this as I get new information.  If you don’t have a ticket and you want one, watch the Pantsuit Bellingham Facebook feed and then bus event closely, I have seen several posts selling tickets in the past couple of days.

If you purchased a bus ticket through Pantsuit Bellingham and Bellair Charters, your bus departure information:
Sunset Square Kmart parking lot at 7a.m. on 21 January 2017.
Join the Facebook Event for some pre-march pep-talking and organizing.

If you have a ticket for a bus chartered by Whatcom Democratic Women’s Club, event details can be found here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-charter-bus-round-trip-bellingham-tickets-30571121046

 

Women’s March on Washington – D.C.

Event Information
Website
Facebook page

 

 

Sunday 20131218 – Vigils for America

Electoral College votes tomorrow.

Action:
Attend the candlelight vigil downtown this evening.  Bring a friend.  Yes, it will be cold and maybe snowy.  Yes, you are busy.  Read on to see why it is so important that you make the time to attend this vigil.

Goal:
Show support for Electors who choose to vote their conscience instead of voting for Trump.

Event Details:
Meet at 4:30 at the Federal Building downtown (104 W Magnolia).

We will have posters available with a suggested small donation to cover the cost of printing.  Bundle up, bring warm beverages and homemade signs, and be ready to:

  • Please be respectful. Now is the time to come together and put party identities aside for our shared purpose. Americans must join together in order to stop Trump.
  • Be somber. We want Electors to feel supported to vote their conscience. We must show America the opposite of Trump: somber and unified rather than loud and divisive.
  • Be kind

Document the event with photo and video.  Share everywhere, tagged with #vigilsforamerica.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1050701485056193 

Background:
This is part of nation wide movement demanding that the Electoral College Electors vote their conscience and keep Trump from getting the 270 votes he needs to become elected. Your voice, your presence, and your support make a difference.

From PSB founder Elizabeth Hartsoch:

“I am in whitefish Montana today, visiting family for the holiday. Since I can’t be at the vigil Arlené and Rachael and others are working hard to put together, I tried to find one here. But none is scheduled here because the white supremacists have threatened the lives and children of local human rights organizers.

If you have any opportunity to go to the vigil today, or the state house tomorrow, or Pramila Jayapal’s anti-hate event, GET YOURSELF THERE and yell twice as loud for the people silenced by hate.”

On the eve of the Electoral vote we will make our voices heard! 

 

Take action:

Preparing to Talk Turkey on Thanksgiving

If you are feeling anxious about seeing relatives on Thursday, you are not alone.  How will you navigate difficult conversations about the election without flat-out arguing?  Is it possible to have a civil discussion about what just happened?

Showing Up for Racial Justice has put together a great resource to help you feel more confident and prepared to handle tough talks during the holiday.  They even have a hotline where you can call or text and get coaching on the spot.

ACTION: Download this toolkit now and plan some ways you can engage your family in a productive and calm conversation about