This last two weeks, amirite? We’re two weeks into Trump’s Presidency and I can’t remember a longer stretch of time in my life.
— Michael George (@mgeorge4NY) January 22, 2017
If you’re anything like the OWNet staff, you either participated in a Women’s March or know about 80 other people who did. Quite possibly you were at an airport last weekend, protesting the Muslim ban. And damn, does it feel good to be out there raising our voices and expressing our outrage at this situation we’ve found ourselves in. But maybe you don’t live near a large city with multiple rallies a week (looking at you, NYC, never change). Maybe you don’t have time in your schedule to do marches or rallies on the regular, even if you do live in a big city. Or maybe you just don’t have a lot of spoons left on a daily basis and are wondering how to stay politically active working with the energy levels you do have. We can help with that!
— Brandy Zadrozny (@BrandyZadrozny) January 21, 2017
I’m going to preface this by saying that many of us here at OWNet are introverts. We also have a large number of people with depression and anxiety, which sometimes prevents us from functioning out in the world like we want to. As such, these recommendations are mostly actions that you can make in the peace of your own home, or on your lunch break. In general, you don’t have to go anywhere for them. You can make calls, send emails, use social media, and occasionally even send a good old-fashioned letter or postcard, which means this is pretty low-stress. All the easier to follow through and stick with, yes?
The Injustice Boycott started on December 5, the anniversary of the start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Its aim is to take a stand against racial injustice, and it is currently centered on three areas: Standing Rock, San Francisco, and NYC. The eventual goal is to pull funding from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and organizations promoting racial injustice. The boycott is very heavily centered on putting pressure on these organizations and the DAPL funders via social media right now, but has also done successful crowdfunding for supplies and legal support for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock.
The 65 grew from a Google Doc entitled “We’re His Problem Now,” which came out shortly after the election. The 65’s goal is to get people “to fight for our vision of a diverse, inclusive America…Together, we can use our voices to remind Congress that they work for all of us.” If you’ve ever thought “I want to call my Senator or Representative about these issues, but I have no idea what I would even say,” The 65 is a great place for you. It’s got contact numbers for your elected officials, and scripts for about a dozen progressive issues including a Weekly Call To Action, which is what they deem the most pressing matter at the start of the week. My one issue with the site is that it only lists the D.C. numbers for the officials to call (and if you’ve ever tried calling Chuck Schumer’s D.C. office, you’ll know why this is irritating–it’s always busy!), but it’s an excellent resource otherwise.
10 Actions for the First 100 Days is the brainchild of the folks who brought us the Women’s March. The idea is simple: “Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about.” The first action was writing a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you and how you’ll fight for it. There are postcards supplied for you to print at home, or professionally, or you can do what I did and send postcards you might have at home (I’m sure that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand will appreciate those cat postcards when they get them, because who doesn’t love a good cat postcard?). The second action is “huddles,” or breaking out of our own little blanket forts to meet other locals involved in the resistance. (I know, this is a little off-putting for some of you, and I just want to say “you do you.” Self-care is paramount in these times, but if you feel like you can make it out, this might be the friendly environment you’re looking for.)
Indivisible is a group that started with former congressional staffers sharing “best practices for making Congress listen.” They’ve produced a downloadable guide that is everything they learned from watching the Tea Party win over Congress, and a big part of that is grassroots organizing. Smaller Indivisible groups are forming all over the country, and the website will show you where to find them and how to contact them. This one is for all of you that want to get out of the house with your political activism.
Five Minutes is a blog based on the idea that even five minutes of political action a day makes a difference. There are articles reviewing what progress has been made and what you can be focusing on, calling scripts for reaching out to your representatives, and videos showing you just how easy it is to take action in five minutes (the video of Hanaa calling Congressman Chaffetz’s office while assembling IKEA furniture to tell him some of the things he could focus on in D.C. instead of his fixation with rejoining the District with Maryland is my current favorite).
5 Calls is another favorite of the Rat Queens. Basically, you enter your zip code and check off what issue is most important to you on a given day. You’re then given a background on the issue, a phone number to call (again, it seems to be mostly Washington D.C. phone numbers, so I would suggest Googling around to find your Senators’ other office numbers if you don’t want to be getting a busy signal all day), and a short script. When you’re done, you enter your call result (unavailable, left voicemail, made contact, or skip) to get your next number to call. Short, sweet, and they even give you a script for what to do if you’re suddenly confronted with voicemail–it’s slightly different, but will help make sure your vote is tallied.
Credo Action is a name you’re probably familiar with if you or your friends share petitions on social media. Credo has a number of campaigns running at once and any number of petitions, but they won my heart the first day I used their Calling Tool, which is like the speed dating of political activism. This works best for me when I’m on their site on either a laptop or tablet as well as my phone, so I can have the script in front of me while I make calls. On your phone, you enter your name, email, and phone number, and then click to connect. The system then makes calls to various elected officials for you. It tells you who you are being connected to, and when you’ve either talked with an aide, left a voicemail, or gotten a busy signal, you press the * key and are on to the next call. I got in touch with seven Senators in about ten minutes on my lunch break one day last week. Very wham, bam, thank you ma’am, but it didn’t give me any time for my anxiety about cold calling to kick in, which was excellent.
These are just some of our favorites from the first two weeks of Hydra’s takeover of the American government. If you’ve got some we’ve missed, let us know in the comments–the Order of the Phoenix is now taking applications!