ImmigrationLocal Organizing

Dream Action Planning Guide

Table of Contents

#TrumpShutdown Overview

Goal, Strategy, and Tactics

How to Plan a Thank You/Accountability Rally

The #TrumpShutdown and the fight for the Dream Act

On Friday, January 19, the government shut down for the first time when a single party was in control of both Congress and the White House because Republicans decided they would rather defend Trump’s racist policies than take a bipartisan deal to protect Dreamers, fund the government, and advance other critical priorities.

Let’s be clear: this was a Trump-created and Republican-backed shutdown. They deserve the blame for the shutdown and for their inability to govern. But now Democrats have caved by agreeing to a three-week extension that doesn’t provide relief for Dreamers, but does fund their deportation. They gave in to Republican pressure at the expense of Dreamers, our communities, and our ability to fight against Trump’s racist agenda. And they all need to be held accountable.

Goal, Strategy, Tactics

Our goal is to hold both Democrats and Republicans who voted for this latest funding bill accountable for voting to deport Dreamers, and to thank the strong few that stood with DREAMers. Our strategy is to use this key moment as an opportunity to clearly show how we feel about the most recent vote.

Remember, this is about the 800,000 Dreamers whose lives are on the line as much as it’s about rejecting Trump’s racist agenda. Indivisible groups across the country will let Members of Congress that postponing a solution for DREAMers is unacceptable.

We will show up to their offices, giving them handwritten messages and artwork shaming them for letting down DREAMers, or applauding them if they didn’t waver. What’s at stake is not just the fate of 800,000 DACA recipients. This is also about rejecting Trump’s white supremacist agenda. These messages will remind MoCs how important it is to stand up for our values, and will remind them that their constituents are paying attention.

We especially need to show up at the offices of Dream Heroes who will be taking heat for sticking by their word and values in this vote, and at Democratic offices of Senators who caved for this short term non-solution.

How to Plan an Accountability / Thank You Action

Register your event here!
Hold a team meeting/convene a call with your group’s event planners.

We need to hold accountable Senators who decided to vote with Trump’s white supremacist agenda, rather than pass a bipartisan deal that would provide relief to 800,000 Americans, and thank members who opposed it.

  1. Send an email inviting anyone interested in planning the event.
  2. Write an agenda for the meeting
    Thank everyone for joining
    Take roll call
    Organizer explains what happened in this vote, and why this deal is unacceptable
    Group plans an in-person action
    Designate key roles
    Collect RSVPs
    Organizer asks everyone to also commit to calling their Senators’ offices using the updated Indivisible scripts
    Review action items and adjourn the call/meeting

During the meeting:

  1. Identify the best time and location for your event. Things have changed quickly, so, the sooner the better. Find an office that has a visible front door where you can organize a rally and take good photos. If there’s an entrance that has the MoC’s name on the front, that’s even better!

    Register the event online HERE (we are cross promoting these events with MoveOn members, so registering your event should help your show up numbers)!

  • If your MoC is a Dream Hero (Check our Dream Hero List here)
    • Your team will write thank you cards/posters and tape them to the window and doors of the office! The brighter, and more eye-catching, the better!
  • If your MoC is a Dream Killer (Check our Dream Killer List here)
    • Plan your hand written Messages for your MoC. Each poster, letter, or message should share why you’re disappointed that your failed to stand up to Trump’s racist bullying. Let them know that while the government was shut down “Here’s what they missed”, and all of it was for nothing when they immediately caved and gave up on Dreamers and American communities..
    • These messages could suggest that “While [they] were out,”
      • 122 DACA recipients continue to lose protections every single day
      • The Trump administration continues to deport Dreamers and other immigrants at record numbers
      • Congress is no closer to a solution on Dream

2.  Designate key roles:

  • A responsible person who will make sure the art makes it to your location
  • Photographer/videographer (this is really important; without photos and video, the rally might as well not have happened)
  • Social Media coordinator
  • Press Liaison

3. Register the event online here then collect RSVPs for the action by linking to your event on Indivisible’s map. 

4. Write and send any press materials you need to bring out the media.

To change the narrative in your MoC’s home district, it’s critical to get media attention at constituents events like a rally. Get started with our local organizing explainer, “How to Get Press to Cover Your Event.”

5. Begin the art build.

Gather art supplies

  • Posterboard/cardboard
  • Paint/paint brushes
  • Markers
  • Painter’s tape or Masking tape
  • Pens and paper
  • Fabric (if making a banner or costumes)
  • Tissue paper

Be creative!

Some suggestions:

  • Make a banner that can be seen from a distance. Use bold colors. If you want to make it look professional, use a projector to project letters or a picture onto your surface, then trace your image in pencil and paint inside the lines.
  • Make enough signs so that there are no empty-handed participants, and so that your collective art project is impossible to ignore for passersby.
  • Make sure that your art calls out your MoC by name wherever possible (this will make your target clear in photographs of the action!).
  • Be creative and don’t underestimate the power of humor and theater in actions.
  • If possible, bring enough artwork to really fill their offices! Our message should be unmistakeable, and impossible to ignore.
  • Bring sidewalk chalk! Some offices are in big buildings, or limit access to visitors. Make your message colorful and visible in the path leading up to the building!

Message Ideas:

  • If they voted for CR (against Dreamers):
    • We can’t wait any longer - NO MORE DELAYS ON DREAM!
    • “While you were away…122 DACA recipients lost their protection against deportation every day, and now nothing’s changed.”
    • While you were away... DREAMers are here to stay
    • Don’t slam the door on Dreamers!
  • If they voted Against CR (and for Dreamers):
    • We stand with you!
    • Thank you for voting your values.

On the day of the action:

  • Meet outside the MoC event or district office. A pre-designated person goes inside the office to invite the MoC outside to meet with their constituents. If the MoC is unavailable, their Chief of Staff or District Director would be the next ask; ultimately we want a staff person to come and join.
  • Once everyone has gathered and a staff person has joined, the event Organizer should state clearly why you all are there, and that many people in your district will be affected by this vote.
  • The Social Media Coordinator should record, live-tweet and/or Facebook-live the entire experience, reading out some of the messages that are being handed over to the MoC’s staff person. If no staff person is willing to come outside to meet with constituents, it’s totally fine and legal to tape your hand written messages and posters to the door/entrance of the office (please use tape that will not leave a residue when removed, so masking tape or similar, not duct tape).
    • Make sure that you are recording and taking photos horizontally, not vertically. It really helps the video get shared and makes it usable for press.
    • Be sure to tag your Member of Congress.
    • Be sure to tag @IndivisibleTeam on Twitter.
    • Post photos of the action to your social media accounts!

Send your stories, pictures, and best practices to

Centering Affected People: One of the most important things to keep in mind while planning these events will be to actively reach out to groups in your community who have been doing work around immigration and DACA. Solidarity and coalition building are extremely important to the work we do and how we move around in progressive spaces. We need to make sure that at these events we are centering the people and voices most affected by a Clean Dream Act not being passed. Groups like United We Dream and other immigration groups have been doing this work for many years. As Indivisible groups our role should be to first reach out to local groups and see how we can add to or amplify the work they are already doing.