Advocacy Tactics

Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.

Dolores Huerta

Chapter Four 

Local Advocacy Tactics That Work

This chapter describes the nuts and bolts of implementing four advocacy tactics to put pressure on your three Members of Congress (MoCs) — your Representative and two Senators.

The Tactics

Before we get there though, there are a few things all local groups should do:

Begin with these five steps to gather intel.

Before anything else, take the following five steps to arm yourself with information necessary for all future advocacy activities.

  1. Find your three MoCs, their official websites, and their office contact info.
  2. Sign up on your MoCs’ websites to receive regular email updates, invites to local events, and propaganda to understand what they’re saying. Every MoC has an e-newsletter.
  3. Find out where your MoCs stand on the issues of the day — appointment of white supremacists, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Review their voting history and their biggest campaign contributors.
  4. Set up a Google News Alert — for example for “Rep. Bob Smith” — to receive an email whenever your MoCs are in the news.
  5. Research on Google News what local reporters have written about your MoCs. Find and follow those reporters on Twitter, and build relationships. Before you attend or plan an event, reach out and explain why your group is protesting, and provide them with background materials and a quote. Journalists on deadline — even those who might not agree with you — appreciate when you provide easy material for a story
Note on Safety and Privilege
We do not yet know how Trump supporters will respond to organized shows of opposition, but we have seen enough to be very concerned that minorities will be targeted or singled out. Plan your actions to ensure that no one is asked to take on a role that they are not comfortable with — especially those roles that call for semi-confrontational behavior — and be mindful of the fact that not everyone is facing an equal level of threat. Members of your group who enjoy more privilege should think carefully about how they can ensure that they are using their privilege to support other members of the group.

If you are concerned about potential law enforcement intimidation, consider downloading your state’s version of the ACLU Mobile Justice app to ensure that any intimidating behavior is captured on film. Please familiarize yourself with your state and local laws that govern recording, along with any applicable Senate or House rules, prior to recording. These laws and rules vary substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Click on the advocacy tactics above to learn more!