Apart of taking action is knowing when to pass the mic. While I initially structured Midweek Meditations to be a round-up of activist oriented news within the realm of pop culture, I have realized that perhaps that isn’t exactly what we need. Because I believe in expanding our community of activists here at Live FAST and because my perspective isn’t the only one that matters, Midweek Meditations will begin having a more varied format moving forward. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere – I’m just bringing some friends along for the ride.
With that being said, I am excited to share Arden Grier’s Calling Your Congressman: A Step by Step Guide for Dummies. An actress, writer, and ally based in Los Angeles, Arden put together an easy how-to guide on taking action to save DACA. I’m certain most folks reading this article know a dreamer and likely hold them close to their heart. They are individuals who work hard to create change in this country. They are our neighbors, our friends, our allies, our movers and shakers. It is essential that we work to protect these individuals and stay by them during this dark time in American history and beyond.
Let’s get to work – follow the steps below.
1. Visit whoismyrepresentative.com and type in your zip code.
This will provide you with a list of your members of congress. Call representatives first before your senators, because your concerns are more likely to be acknowledged faster with your congressional representative than with your state senator who represents a larger group/number of people. This site provides their Washington Office phone number- it’s important to call their district office as well.
2. Find their District office phone number by googling their name, followed by “District office phone number”
3. Prepare a script
See my script below as a loose template for Rep. Karen Bass. If you are writing your own script, ask them questions. Be firm. Be personal. If you have friends, family, loved ones who are dreamers, tell the story. It is very effective to make it personal. If you’re not sure where your representative stands, try googling their name with the word ‘DACA’ – they will most likely have commented on it, and if they haven’t, take the silence as a sign of support for rescinding it.
“Hi there, I am calling as a constituent, my name is Arden Grier Dunlop. I am deeply disturbed, concerned and scared by the president’s decision to rescind DACA. It is absolutely an act of racism – the dreamers are my friends, my coworkers, my doctors, my mentors, and most of all, they are part of my community and my country. I am enraged. The dreamers make up 200,000 people in my state of California. They have grown up in this country, lived here longer than me; contributed to the economy longer than me; they’ve been paying taxes longer than me, they’ve grown roots and built families here; they are the American people. My fellow Americans and I will not stand by and let a babbling racist pick and choose which Americans are white enough to keep around. It goes against the basic human rights of our American people.
I am aware that Karen Bass opposes the rescindment of DACA. As a concerned constituent, I urge Ms. Bass to take action to formally propose and/or throw her vocal support behind new legislation that protects dreamers.
What is your office doing to support non-profits that provide legal representation for Dreamers and undocumented immigrants?
What does an ideal “fixed” bipartisan legislation look like?”
I will also be calling my Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein with a very similar script, adding:
“Will you call on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to immediately put the act up for a vote in the senate? If it does not come to the floor in September, will you be prepared to attach it to other acts to ENSURE it will pass?”
4. Call your member of congress:
I will be calling Karen Bass at these two phone numbers:
My 90019 Representative:
Rep. Karen Bass (Democrat)
District Phone: (323) 965-1422
Washington Office Phone: (202) 225-7084
5. When you get someone on the phone, start reciting your script. Calling was very intimidating to me – my heart was racing and I tripped over my words. I felt like a little ignorant loser shit. I felt extra weird because California isn’t the problem and I know that our state stands behind DACA. However, this is how democracy works. I cannot stress this enough. We cannot standby because we have the privilege of living in the most progressive state. We have to make our voices heard in congress, and affirm or rebuke their positions. We have to remind the president that we will not shut up about it.
6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 every week. Try and encourage your friends and family to call as well!
If you want some more loose guidelines, see this article by BUSTLE, which breaks it down more generally so that you can call any member of congress from anywhere. It can be intimidating, but it is very important and it’s easier than you think!
Also, if you live in California, you can sign this petition to stand behind Kamala Harris.