As I wrote earlier this morning, the solution to the current season of American inaction is not simply to complain about it, but for more of us to be the change we want to see in the world (tip o’ the pen, Mr. Gandhi). The only way for America to see a resurgence of liberal activism is for more liberals to act.
One way for us to take action is to contact local media, an option I talk about here.
Another simple thing you can do that is nonetheless very important:
Check for, and participate in, local activist events.
While contacting the media is a great way for you stimulate local awareness of an issue you find important, it takes some work on your part to initiate. If you live in or near at least a small-sized town or city, there are most likely already groups out there that are trying to create change by drawing the attention of media, politicians, or other powerful community figures to an issue. These activist groups have folks who have already done the hard work of drafting a press release, contacting the media, organizing publicity and drawing up strategy. What they need to pull of their work is the presence of bodies, including yours. Local protest is low-cost, resource efficient, time convenient, and draws more coverage per protesting person than national coverage. One person can make a great deal of difference in effecting change at a local protest.
But how to find out about these local events? As a newcomer to Columbus, Ohio, I admit I get frustrated sometimes trying to find out about upcoming actions. This morning, for instance, I heard on NPR that there would be a protest held today at Republican Deborah Pryce’s congressional office to draw attention to her anti-minimum-wage politics. Alas and alack, the radio didn’t say when, and so I couldn’t get there myself. There wasn’t any googlable notice of the protest, either, which reflects a poorly planned event.
Fortunately, there is an easy and reliable way to find local protests that are well-planned and accessible. Visit pax.protest.net and click on the link to actions organized by region to find out what’s up in your neck of the woods.
By doing just that this morning I found out about an action on Sunday, July 23 at 5:30 pm at the Schottenstein Center on Lane Avenue here in Columbus. There, as the Dixie Chicks get ready to perfom in concert, people will be lining up along the street to make a visible statement to the gathered media: Columbus celebrates the right to free speech, dissent and vital disagreement with the Republican powers that be. I even have contact info for the organizer in case I’ve got a question. I’ll bring the kids along, we’ll make a picnic out of it, and just like that we’ll have done our bit.
Give it a shot: Visit pax.protest.net and see what’s going down in your downtown.