Creating your personal political action plan

Events proceeding the inauguration have simultaneously energized and depressed many of us. The Women’s Marches amplified our voices and moved us towards an intersectional approach to combating racism, protecting our health care, and advocating for science-based environmental policies, among other issues. However, the barrage of Executive Actions, confirmation hearings, and government shakeups were disorienting. Hard fought battles for LGBT rights and equality may still be in the crosshairs of the new administration. This leaves many of us concerned about the status of our marriages, actadoptions, financial and health planning, and employment. With that said, there are ways for us to breakdown our activism into manageable pieces.

The actions and activities below were inspired by a New Orleans-based “Political Action Plan” meeting put on by the owner of my neighborhood bookshop, Tubby and Coos. Thank you Candice Huber! I hope you find this list as centering and encouraging as I have:

  1. Self-care: Without a prioritization of your own mental and physical health, we will not be able to stay fresh for this fight. Whatever self-care means to you: yoga, meditation, taking your dog for a walk, or getting your dance on…do it, and do it often. Also, eat some healthy food and move your body in whatever way works best for you.
  2. Turn OFF Trump. Stop following the White House and Trump on social media. The same goes for Kellyann Conway, Sean Spicer, Jared Kushner, and Steve Bannon.  Their tactics are to bully, distract, disorient, lie, and intimidate. Don’t give propaganda that kind of power, instead seek out credible and valid news.
  3. Valid news. Here is a great list of techniques and resources to help, put together by Melissa Zimdar: What is a credible news source?
  4. Pick your top three activism priorities. While many of us are appalled at the idea of a disbanded EPA, we are health care providers and as such may be able to make a bigger impact on advocating for the Affordable Care Act or keeping abortion accessible, affordable, legal, and safe. Find  those groups that speak to you. Attend their meetings, sign up for their newsletters, donate if you can, and get involved beyond sharing facebook posts. TIP for White People: Remember to include all people who are impacted when you are organizing. If you are a white person, like I am, this means checking your privilege at the door, allowing others to speak and run their meetings, not expecting to always be heard, or to have your views appreciated or acknowledged. This isn’t about you, this is about the collective and for us to be truly successful it means identifying, understanding, and fighting white supremacy every day. That task involves being uncomfortable and staying open to ways to become a better activist, colleague, friend, and neighbor.
  5. Build, activate, elect. Building looks like bringing your Grandmother to a Black Lives Matter meeting or encouraging your friends to make a donation to the ACLU.  Activating is organizing to reach the “movable middle”. Those are the individuals who have never called a legislator or written a Letter to the Editor before.  A useful way to do this is via “Stakeholder Analysis”. This will force you to look at an issue from a variety of vantage points to see who will benefit or not, from whatever issue you are advocating about. Elect looks like participating in local elections, running for local office, and canvasing for progressive leaders in your community.

The Action Worksheet below can be copied, pasted, and printed to help organized your personal plan. We can do this!

ACTION WORKSHEET

1. Lookup your congresswo/man

  • Name
  • Local office phone
  • DC office phone
  • Email
  • Mailing address

2. Lookup your two senators

  • Name
  • Local office phone
  • DC office phone
  • Email
  • Mailing address

 

  • Name
  • Local office phone
  • DC office phone
  • Email
  • Mailing address

 

3.  My “Top Three” activism priorities:

4. What actions do you want to take to address your Top Three issues?

5. Have a conversation with beloved others about the actions you want to take.

6. Schedule time each week to be active. Add this to your calendar.

7. Decide whether you want to do your actions with others. If so, invite them.

About Vanessa Shields

Accelerated nursing student and social justice activist
This entry was posted in Activism, Helpful Hints, Mental Health, Political Process. Bookmark the permalink.

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