With officials estimating that somewhere around 3 million people attended Women's Marches across the country and around the world on Saturday to affirm women's rights as human rights, thoughts are now turning to the future. What do you do after you've attended a Women's March and pledged to do more?
If you're wondering how to turn the momentum from the Women's March into actionable steps going forward, there's plenty you can do no matter where you are to make a difference.
1. Learn about the issues
One of the most intimidating parts of becoming more politically involved is knowing what issues are out there and what efforts are already being taken. If you want to be become more informed now, feel free to check out the Resistance Manual, an open-source guide to the major political issues that you can get involved with. The manual also offers updates on what's happening with those causes.
Another option is to download an app like Countable to see which bills are currently passing through Congress, so you can have a better idea of what to speak to your representatives about or even potentially organize around.
2. Call your representatives
You can use the official House of Representatives website to find your representatives' contact information, and you can use the official Senate website to find your senators' information. If you're not sure what to say once you call, you can use scripts from The Sixty Five, an organization that synthesizes information about calling representatives and speaking on issues, as a guide. Another pro tip: Input your representatives' numbers on your phone and schedule a time to call every day.
Additionally, you shouldn't just be calling your representatives in D.C.; reach out to your local and state reps, as much of their work has a larger impact on your day-to-day life. Don't know who represents you at the state level? Use Open States to find out.
3. Participate in local organizing and government
Whether it's a school-sponsored cause or a city-wide initiative to eradicate homelessness, chances are there's at least one cause you'd like to get involved in. If you want more advice on how your actions can translate into organizing, feel free to download the Indivisible Guide, a project created by former congressional staffers on how you can make your voice heard. In addition to containing more information about contacting representatives, it also outlines how you can organize and be as effective as possible to create change.
Even if you're only able to give back one to two hours per week, volunteering for local causes you care about (like helping out at an animal shelter or a food bank) can make a huge difference. If you need help finding causes in your area, you can use resources like Volunteer Match or the U.S. government's volunteer page to help you see what's nearby. A simple Google search of "[your town/city] volunteer opportunities" can also do the trick in finding more niche community websites.
5. Support parties and candidates running for office
Important government elections happen every year (not just during presidential or midterm election years), so there could be a possible local, state or gubernatorial (i.e. governor) race happening where you live right now. Make sure you know the candidates in the race, and if there's someone whose platform speaks to you, see how you can volunteer with the campaign and get the word out.
Additionally, most local political parties are constantly working on getting out the vote for upcoming elections. They'd be more than happy to have your help in those efforts.
6. Run for office
While you can't run for U.S. Congress until you're at least 25 (that's when you're eligible to become a member of the House of Representatives), many state and local governments allow people to run for office starting at 21 and even 18 in some cases. So if running for a position on your local government is something you're interested in, there are plenty of resources at your disposal.
Check out She Should Run and VoteRunLead, both of which run online and/or in-person training programs for women looking to run for office. There's also a great program called IGNITE that helps women in high school and college learn about preparing to run for office.
Furthermore, you don't have to run for official government office to start taking on more leadership roles in your community. Whether that's running for class president or leading the chapter of your favorite school club, see where you can make a difference and take charge.
Whether you're having a bake sale to raise money for national organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood or holding a book drive to give back to your local library, there are plenty of ways for you to donate resources, financial or otherwise, to causes you care about.
8. Take action regularly
Want to do something every day to become more politically engaged? You can get daily initiatives sent to your phone from Daily Action to take part in. Or, if you connected with the Women's March platform, the organizers just launched a 10 Actions/100 Days campaign, where they'll will send you a new way to take action every 10 days during the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency.
9. Be deliberate about where you do, and don't, spend your money
You've probably heard the phrase "power of the purse," and it's true. If you don't want to support businesses that benefit or are supported by members of the Trump family (including Trump himself or Ivanka Trump), Grab Your Wallet has a comprehensive list.
10. Educate others on issues
Above all, one of your most important roles is educating friends, family, and others on issues like racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and so much more. In her op-ed on everyday resistance, writer Celeste Ng mentioned that the Southern Poverty Law Center has a helpful guide for navigating difficult conversations surrounding identity, power and oppression.
Via: Teen Vogue