10 steps to deeper engagement in political advocacy

Kate Parsons Wider ViewSeptember 11, 2020

This year has illuminated in new ways the existing inequalities and injustices of this world. If you have  recently felt your heart moved in a new way, but aren’t sure where to begin, below are ten suggestions for deeper engagement in political advocacy:

  1. Register to vote

Register to vote if you are eligible, and vote in national and local elections. If you are not eligible to vote, you can still help others register to vote or volunteer at polling places.

  1. Learn who represents you

Identify your members of Congress. Visit their websites or follow them on social media. In addition, take time to learn who your neighbors are, and in what ways you see their voices represented, or not, by your congressional representatives.

  1. Choose one issue

If you are overwhelmed by the number of injustices you see, start by choosing one. Don’t feel as if you are ignoring other issues, because so much of what affects our communities is interconnected. Know that the good work you do in one area can ripple outward.

  1. Join existing movements

Resist the urge to start something new, especially if you are only beginning to advocate about an issue. Support good work that is already happening, deferring to the opinions and needs of those who are most affected.

  1. Call or email your members of Congress

Many organizations like MCC send out “action alerts” that allow you to personalize an email about an issue and send it congressional offices in just a few minutes. These emails or calls can influence policymakers to support the issues you care about.

  1. Set up a meeting with a congressional office

An in-person or virtual meeting with congressional staff at their D.C. or local offices is even more influential than an email or phone call. This guide walks you through the process of setting up a meeting.

  1. Attend a town hall meeting

As you learn more about your members of Congress and become more active in advocacy, you may wish to attend in-person or virtual town hall events, which give you a chance to interact directly with candidates and current members of Congress.

  1. Continue learning

Think about sustainable ways to continue your learning. If you are advocating on behalf of others, make sure you are intentional about supporting and learning from those most affected and are not making assumptions about what they want or need.

  1. Meet regularly with members of Congress

Join with a group of people from your church or an organization you support and build regular congressional meetings into your calendar. As staff in these offices come to know and trust you, your input will be even more influential.

  1. Live out your advocacy

Advocacy doesn’t stop outside Capitol Hill. How can your church demonstrate the same love for immigrants in its programming as it does in its advocacy? How does your commitment to stronger U.S. climate policy impact the choices you make at the grocery store?

As each of us discern what it means to be citizens first of Jesus’ peaceful kingdom, and second, of this earthly country, may each of us find ways to live faithfully, counter-culturally and radically for the glory of God and the well-being of our neighbors.

 

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Comments

One response to “10 steps to deeper engagement in political advocacy”

  1. james kauffman says:

    I would like to see more emphasis on fact-finding and making a commitment to maintain honesty even as we navigate the political arena. Simply taking your cues from others or signing on to MCC’s action alerts will only continue spreading misinformation; misinformation which can foster divisiveness, blame, bad legislation, even riots.
    We will not see progress (unless your definition of progress is more laws and more people in prison) until we are honest about the problems we purport to address.

    I recently inquired of a prominent Mennonite agency what they meant by a certain comment in their publication. The answer: “well, that’s what everybody’s saying”.

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