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What actions are effective and how do you know when to get involved?  Three important steps are:

Staying Informed

  1. Read/listen/watch news from different sources. News is becoming more and more biased. If you feel the information you are getting is skewed, pay attention to the spin in order to understand at a deeper level.

  2. Dig deeper. Go to sources close to what’s happening--city, state, country’s news website, social media.

  3. Question everything. Acknowledge the bias of sources and take everything with a grain of salt. Find outlets that do fact-checking and/or evaluate the biases of specific news sources (see below).

  4. Read opinion pieces to get a broader perspective on different issues—even if you don’t agree with what is being presented.

  5. Talk with other informed people—learn something by expressing and discussing your opinions. It's a great way to see other sides of different issues. This curiosity leads to greater empathy.

  6. Balance news and health, notice how the news is effecting you and take care of your well-being.

  7. Share how a news story has affected you to other people in your life--just sharing that can be world changing--especially if the point of view comes from a place of compassion.

Good Sources of Information
  1. Just because you read it on Facebook or somebody’s blog or in an email from a friend or relative doesn’t mean it’s true. Here are two fact checking websites:

  2. How to avoid False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources

  3. Infographic for Real and Fake News

  4. Your librarian will help you find good information--it is his/her job.

Staying Informed

Effective Action

Building your relationship with your elected officials is one of the strongest things you can do (excerpted from the Indivisible Guide):

  • Subscribe to your Congress peoples’ website to receive regular email updates and invites to local events: Find yours.

  • Participate in calling campaigns when there are concerted efforts for key issues. It is best if you can reach a live voice so keep dialing each number until you get a live voice. Call during business hours, have a script, say who you are and where you live.

  • Each rep may have as many as 6 telephone numbers. Program all of them into your phone. That upfront setup will save you a lot of time when you make phone calls.

  • Research what local reporters have written about your congress people on Google News.

  • Show up to your congress peoples’ town hall meetings and demand answers on issues that concern you.

  • Book an appointment in a small group to meet with your Congressperson about a particular issue. If they won’t take the appointment, find out when they are in town, then show up to your congress person's office and demand a meeting.

Protests can also be effective when part of a multi-pronged approach:

  • Public gathering--check on permits.

  • IMPORTANT: Before you attend or plan an event, reach out to reporters. Provide them background materials and a quote. Journalists always need easy material for a story.

  • Call or visit your elected official about the same matter.

  • Submit an opinion piece to your local newspaper.

  • Start a written or online petition.

When all of these approaches are combined they have more effectiveness.

Other Resources for Effective Action

Protect Yourself--Know your Rights

When going to a public protest, there are a pre-cautions you need to take:

  1. Thoroughly read Know Your Rights on the ACLU website.

  2. Before you go to a protest, decide if you are willing to be arrested. This will help you know in advance whether you will cooperate with the police if they try to violate your rights by telling you to move elsewhere. If you resist moving, they may very well arrest you.

  3. Write a local phone number (maybe lawyer) on your arm in sharpie so you can put your one phone call to good use.

  4. Learn how to be an effective witness and stand up to an aggressor in public. This is for when anyone is being bullied by another person or a cop. This would include using your phone camera (or the ACLU app if it is an official) to film it as well as knowing how to intercede to de-escalate the situation or to protect the victim. Filming and interceding are two separate roles. It is recommended for the interceder to talk to the victim asking if they are ok and offering them support vs talking directly to the aggressor.

  5. Install the ACLU app on your phone. This app will let you take film of any civil rights violation and will automatically forward it to the ACLU. Go to your phone store and type ACLU in the search to get it.

  6. Check here for free legal help for inauguration protestors.

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