Show Up, How To Advocate — Part 2

What You Can Do Now Training
photo courtesy of Ashiaray.com

For those of you are trying to focus on a way to make a difference, I offer Part II on Training To Make A Difference. I’m grateful to those of you who weighed in on my last blog and offered feedback about how difficult it is to focus on one issue. Scrambling events, scrambled minds seems to be the order of the day. All the more reason to call upon what is common knowledge about mindfulness— to pause, take a deep breath, and seek resonance to what calls you.

SOLIDARITY is the byword: Pick an issue you’ve never thought about, and show up

Initially, I scratched my head at this suggestion and then, thinking about the big picture, the element of weighing in, the surprise of commonality made sense.

  • It’s as simple as showing up. Be a body among others.
  • Especially at local levels, public forums: 10 more people can swing how a room feels
  • You don’t have to agree on every single thing an organization does to recognize and support the common fight

Be Brave 

  • Braver than officials are or can be 

How many times since Trump took office have I been amazed, surprised, pleased, grateful for the throngs of citizens who show up at public forums, at the doorsteps of their representatives, in marches, with placards, unafraid to shout out what is essential for their well being.

Practical details of Contacting Your Representatives

Request a specific action 

  • Methods in decreasing order of impact. Write OpEd Letter to the Editor, plan 1:1 meetings, attend legislative office hours, write letters, make calls, participate on social media, send e-mails. DON’T FAX 

Know critical information about what you are requesting, make it personal 

  • bill number, current sponsorship http://magov/Bills/Search
  • re: bill he/she have sponsored—ask how you can promote
  • keep staffers’ email addresses
  • Remember: officials and staff are real people
  • suggestion: “I think you are the kind of person who can do the right thing.”

Make It Local

  • If you’re federal representative isn’t listening, go local

Stay informed & spread the word (examples are from MA. check your locale)

Following the training, there was a lengthy Q&A session. The following points are salient and useful in understanding the impact of participation.

  • Re: increasing turnout: detach from an individual, attach to ideas
  • What doesn’t work: Data suggests that “the sky will fall if X wins/loses” is a failed model
  • What works—engage on issues: go door to door to engage on a specific issue that regularly affects your life (social security, education, healthcare)
  • one study on this approach: 18% increase in turnout
  • In relating to those with different views—1. if you start with your values, you open a discussion about how to fix a problem. 2. if you start with your policy position, most people will assume you are closed to their point of view.

I close with gratitude for the opportunity to share this valuable advocacy training experience with my readers. In highlighting the information I felt most compelling, I have a far greater sense of how each and every one of us, in stepping up in small and big ways on issues that relate to our values, can make a difference. As always, I am grateful for the give and take of comments and look forward to your sharing.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Show Up, How To Advocate — Part 2

  1. carol steinman

    Very helpful/practical/useful…..thank you. Have copied it and will enjoy having it as a tool and reminder to act. I also loved your mention of “be brave”…..will do so.
    Hugs to you

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Carol, I’m so pleased that you found the post helpful as a possible guide for future action. I think of you as quite brave, my friend.

  2. Beverly Bader

    Thank you for sharing this important and helpful info that you gathered together for your readers!
    I live in Hastings. on. Hudson, NY, where a recent Coast Guard proposal made the hair on my arms stand up! So I registered my strong opposition of establishing 10 anchorage sites, accommodating over 2,000 acres of the Hudson River Estuary as anchorage grounds. The Hudson River is one of our state’s most treasured natural resources. We have spent millions of dollars to revitalize the Hudson. How could the recommendation to accommodate up to 43 oil vessels between Yonkers and Kingston, New York become a reality? It would be dangerous for the River. So I’m on a committee to prevent this from happening, and I’m focused to make a difference!

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Brava, Bev! I so appreciated all the details of your joining with a like-minded committee to stop 10 anchorage sites for oil vessels between Yonkers and Kingston on your beloved Hudson River. Sending hopeful wishes that all your efforts will protect the revitalization effort.

  3. Rosemary Booth

    I like the writer’s tone of encouragement for stepping up “in small and big ways,” and the felt sense of bustle in this piece about choosing to make a difference. One phrase in particular really resonates, “Be brave”–which is required even to put thoughts down and share them with others; basically, to write.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Rosemary, as a sister writer, I appreciate your attention to the phrase, “Be Brave!” Every time one puts pen to the page, especially with the goal for others to read, it requires the courage to step up and be seen.Thank you for stepping up!

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