A beautiful thing happened last Saturday, millions of women joined forces worldwide to stand up for their rights. Treating women fairly and adequately continues to be an issue in this world so we women continue to speak up. It’s estimated that approximately 3 million supporters came out on January 21, 2017 to support the cause and the good intentions were felt internationally.
I took part in the Orange County chapter of the march in Santa Ana, CA where 20,000 men, women and children marched the streets of Downtown and it couldn’t have been more peaceful, well organized and positive. The signs were amazingly creative and effective – one of the most impactful held by a woman reading “Planned Parenthood cancer screening saved my life.” Below is a peek of what the streets looked like:
If you’re inspired by recent events, here’s 8 tips on how to get involved in politics:
- Learn who elected officials are. Get to know who does what here and who to reach out to.
- Actually talk to the officials! While social media offers a equal-opportunity platform to reach out to those you might not be able to otherwise, the government is traditional – painfully traditional. So use the system! Jump through the hoops, go through the motions, and make sure some work is done in order to appease you. Research measures and vote. If you get a parking ticket, appeal it. If you reach a person that can’t help you, keep calling until you get an answer. Show up in person, let government offices know you won’t go anywhere until your questions have been addressed. The squeaky wheel gets the oil and you’ll never know what the outcome may be unless you try.
- Attend City Council Meetings. Not only will you get your chance to speak on issues that matter, but public radio and local TV stations broadcast these meetings. You never know who will be listening and who you may educate and inspire. If you’re a first-timer, here’s more on how to locate your city’s goings-ons:
- Google “City Council Meetings [INSERT CITY NAME HERE]” (ex. City Council Meetings Long Beach) OR go directly to your city’s website.
- The “City Council” page of your city’s website will pull up in the first few Google results OR you will find the page within your city’s website.
- The “City Council” page will give you the schedule so you may attend. It will also tell you where it is broadcasting, usually on the local cable TV Channel (ex. LBTV in Long Beach). Many cities now stream the meetings live from the website.
- If all else fails, call the city directly and ask when and where to attend!
- Take part in a protest. A meaningful first step in gaining attention for your cause is to take it to the streets. Well-organized, nonviolent protests that refrain from causing public disorder send a fabulous message of organized thought and commitment. Organizing with plenty of time in advance can give you the benefit of power in numbers and show observers that you really mean business!
- Support organizations near to your heart. When you come across organizations that are already working hard on the causes you care deeply for, jump in. Volunteer, donate, write to public officials, knock on doors, make phone calls, write newsletters. Unfortunately in some situations, employment or family pressures bar your involvement in publicly partaking in or speaking on issues BUT don’t let that deter you. There are still many anonymous methods of support to give.
- Research, research and more research! With “fake news” and “alternative facts” more prevalent than ever, it’s imperative to remain proof based in your stance and assertions. When opposing or advocating a cause, research and collect information on the matter. If the specific event/issue has happened to you or someone you know, you’re stance is more valid because you can speak directly on it and chances are you easily have the information available at your fingertips already. Be your own advocate – the same goes for healthcare!
- Consider running for office. Since arguably the most important job in the world, the highly influential and coveted position of President of the United States of America requires absolutely zero qualifications (no 2-5 years of prior political experience, 3 letters of recommendation or a LinkedIn profile!), then there’s no better time than NOW to get involved. You can only learn, gain a better understanding of American politics and inspire those of your like mind. Here’s a couple fabulous resources aimed at getting women into politics: She Should Run and Emily’s List.
- Create To-Do Lists. One of the trickiest things to do is begin. Often people are very passionate about causes, but don’t know the first steps to take. While this list is to help you navigate your personal journey through politics, you might find yourself in a situation that requires a call to action – asking supporters to phone an elected official, sign a petition or write a letter to them. Simply asking “Hey friends, call you local politicians!” isn’t always going to work. So, anytime you can lay out the plan for fellow supporters, do it! Share the overall plan, the name of the representative/elected official to contact, provide the phone numbers/email addresses/mailing addresses/URL links of who to contact for the cause, and end with any additional bullet points that will help others complete the process. As humans, it’s easier to turn your back on something that seems too difficult so make a process so simple people can’t say no! One of my absolute favorite examples of this is from one of my absolute favorite ladies Santigold who posted the below call to action on her IG page @santigold. She laid every step out in calling speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office and made participation doable! LOVE this example! (Song in video above: Santigold – “Run the Races”).
Do you do anything different to get involved? Let’s talk about it!