Taking the Next Step Part 2: It Isn't Hard!

 

Times are getting interesting, especially as President Trump completes his second complete week in the Oval Office.  More protests have popped up around the country. The UC Berkley protest to controversial Alt-Right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos ended in fire and riot police storming the campus. Then there was the nationwide protest across multiple major airports against the “Muslim Ban.”

Protests can even be found on Auburn’s campus: on Feb. 2, over 200 Auburn students took to the concourse protesting the Muslim ban and showing solidarity with Muslim students, especially after Auburn presented a letter cautioning international students to stay in the U.S until the ban lifts.

 

As we talked about last time, we all have a voice. That includes you (yes, you!). We talked about starting at the local level of government; now let’s wrap it up with the state and national level. Bear with me, it’s not hard (and that’s the point of all of this), and won't take long, promise!

Let’s find out who to talk to!

(That's our state House of Representatives, btw.)

The U.S has this nifty website called USA.gov, which is a site filled with links that can take you multiple databases that provide info on your representative.

For Alabama, our current senator is Richard C. Shelby since Jeff Sessions was elected into Trump’s cabinet.  In the database website, you will find his office number, physical address, and contact link. So you can call, email and send physical letters. Great!

What’s the best way to talk?

The Huffington Post made a great article during the election season discussing how to contact your representative. The great thing about the article is that you can apply their tips to every level of government.

Here are a few tips from Emily Ellsworth, who worked for Congress for a time and recently released a guide to help Americans contact their representatives.

Writing a letter is better than sending an email.  Think about it, when you receive an email, do you really get the same sentimental value you would get from an old-fashioned handwritten letter? Same thing applies here.

Write to a specific person! Just sending a letter to D.C will not go far in making your point. Imagine all the other people doing the exact same thing. Send the letter to your State office.

Call. Don’t be afraid to talk your representative. Talking holds a lot of weight and will most likely be heard by the people you are trying to reach (your call will be taken most likely by staff instead of your representative directly).

Meet in person! As I said last time, meeting in person with your representative or at least their staff is a great way to discuss the problems you have with the government.

Don’t know what to say? Don’t be afraid to write out a script. There are even templates you can pull from to have an idea where to start.  Here is an example from a Texans for Education website (you don’t have to agree with their stance, but this is definitely a good way to learn how to address your representative on the phone).

I hope these two guides have been effective in either inspiring you or calming fears about getting active with talking to your representative. We the people must remember that it is on our shoulders and through our actions that we make America great.  Marching is a great way to get attention, but it is taking the next step that really brings change.

Stay smart and go forth unafraid! That’s what tigers do.