Kitchen Table Activism a.k.a. Activism for Introverts
Since November 2016, we’ve been planning for the Blue Wave of the 2018 midterms. Activism groups have sprung up and are springing up everywhere to change the political calculus by motivating people to go to the polls.
Depending on where you live, you might have the opportunity to attend an event and/or meeting on a daily basis. That’s great if you enjoy an active social life, but what if you’re an introvert who wants to make change on your own terms on you own time and in your own home?
Not to worry! If you’re like me and have some introvert tendencies, you can participate in motivating voters while you’re drinking your morning coffee at the kitchen table or staying up late to enjoy the silence.
Here are five ways to get involved in political activism while wearing your pajamas:
Volunteer for a state campaign. Usually, awareness of state elections is low, so getting info out to voters is crucial because the policy decisions made by state legislators and officeholders have the most immediate impact on our daily lives. Flippable is working to flip 100 seats in state government in 2018, and you don’t have to live in a targeted district to help. To volunteer, go to Flippable.org/volunteer, and you can choose from a variety of ways to participate from your own home, including phone banking, text banking and fundraising. Interested in a local-to-you candidate and want to phone bank or text bank without going to an event? Contact the campaign directly. Many campaigns will provide a list of people you can contact on your own time.
Register voters. With internet technology, you can help register voters anywhere. Text the Vote lets you help register voters via text messaging. This program targets unregistered millennials in states that offer online registration. You log into a computer program for texting so you don’t expose your phone number, and you walk voters through the registration process via texting. Got to TexttheVote.com for more info and to volunteer.
Send some handwritten mail. When most of the mail we get these days consists or bills, coupons and advertisements, something handwritten stands out. Postcards to Voters wants to get people to the polls by making a personal connection through a handwritten postcard in support of a local candidate. Postcards to voters provides addresses and wording guidance to send handwritten postcards to voters in close, key races to hopefully get more people to the polls for Democratic candidates. If you like being crafty (I know I do!), this a great project because you can design and decorate your own postcards. To sign up, go to postcardstovoters.org. You’ll write a test postcard, and once it’s approved, you can request addresses (you choose how many) for races at all levels of government all over the U.S.
Amplify messages on social media. You can use your social media presence to amplify candidates and causes you support.On Facebook, you can comment on, like and share posts to your friend network. Another tool is Twitter, which is a great tool for amplifying messages, especially if your other networks, such as Facebook or Instagram, have people in them with whom you don’t want to have political conversations. On Twitter, you can choose a username unconnected to your identity and share or boost by retweeting information supporting candidates and causes. Twitter is great for breaking news and reaching people we don’t know. If you are really interested in particular local candidates, you can amplify/follow them. And, you can also use Twitter to support candidates elsewhere. For example, I am from New Mexico and interested in NM politics, so I also follow some candidates in races there. On Twitter, you can amplify issues as well as candidates, so if the environment, immigration, the Mueller investigation or education are issues you’re passionate about, you can amplify messages about those issues. For tips on how to become a Twitter activist, take a look at NWGSD guide to Twitter.
Go old school with new technology. In the pre-Internet era, people often showed support for candidates by writing letters to the editor. Newspapers are still a great way to show support for a candidate or call attention to an issue or ballot measure. Letters can make a huge difference, particularly in smaller races where candidates often lack the resources to get their messages out. City newspapers, neighborhood blogs and community newspapers are all great places to show your support. Because of social media, your message can be amplified even more because it can be shared by linking to it. Want to know how to write a good letter to the editor? The Berkeley Media Studies Group guide gives tips and a template for writing letters.