Making an Impact
Contacting Elected Officials
One of the simplest and most impactful ways you can make a difference is to contact your elected officials. Write, email, call, or even fax your elected officials to let them know the issues that mean the most to you.
Ensure they listen by letting them know you are a constituent and an active voter that will be watching their voting record and decisions in office. Cite specific bills if you can, tell them how it impacts you or your community, make it personal, and ask for a specific response or action. In the end officials will listen when votes are at stake. Don’t wait, find your elected officials on USA.gov, Facebook’s Town Hall, or Snail Mail Congress now!
Looking for more social forms of communication? Chances are your elected officials are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to follow them and let them know your thoughts. Is texting your thing? Try Resistbot to instantly connect with your officials via text.
Make your voice heard as part of a peaceful protest. The right to peacefully protest is one of the pillars of the 1st amendment and one of the most powerful and influential messaging tools. When protests take hold and are done correctly, they can start a movement. Know your rights as a protester and where the line is drawn legally in order to protect yourself and the credibility of the protest.
Get involved with a political activist group like Pittsburghers for America that aligns with your ideals.
Join your peers digitally or on paper by signing a petition for or against the issues that are your rallying cry. There are many petition sites out there, however the White House provides an online petition forum We the People to which they will give an official response to any petition receiving 100,000 signatures in a 30 day period. That may sound like a lot, but it in the digital world of today that is an attainable number.
At the end of the day, who we elect into power has one of the greatest impacts on the future of our country, our states, and our communities. Don’t just vote party lines though, and don’t just vote in presidential elections. Make informed decisions based on issues and the candidates’ record. Vote for local and state officials. The number of candidates, positions, and issues can be overwhelming, however there are many sites such as ISideWith.com and Voter411.org to help you get past all the noise and find the right candidates for you. For information on registering to vote, checking you registration status, finding your polling location, applying for an absentee ballot, and more visit VotesPA.com.
Donating to Causes and Candidates
Help others fight for the issues that matter most to you by donating to charities, candidates, or Political Action Committees (PACs)!
Donating to a charity is a great way to have an impact on a specific issue anywhere from your local community to the national level. It feels good and as an added bonus it’s tax deductible! When choosing a charity make sure it is one of high caliber through a site like Charity Navigator or Charity Watchdog.
You can also donate to a Political Action Committee (PAC) such as Pittsburghers for America! Generally speaking, PACs raise money to fund the process of taking an ideological stance or representing a labor category politically, through support in electing or defeating candidates in support of their cause. This usually is done through efforts to help Find a PAC that aligns with you.
Lastly, political campaigns are expensive. Consider helping out the candidates you favor through a donation of your time or money directly to their campaign.
With as much news and fake news being generated by the hour it can be a daunting task trying keep up, sift through what’s real or not, and determine what’s most important. Sadly, there aren’t any quick and easy, fool proof methods to getting around this. Staying informed does take some effort. However, there are some general tips:
- Get your news from multiple sources that are generally trusted, and preferably ones that may give different view points than one another.
- There are many fact check sites out there such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact to help suss out the various degrees of truthfulness out there. Additionally, many news outlets have begun live fact checking political speeches.
- As tempting as it may be, try not to get your news from social media. Social media tends to be fraught with fake news.
Simply by doing your homework and spreading facts, not lies can help make a difference.
Get Involved with your Community
Attending town halls and community meetings is a great way to get engaged, ask questions, and give early feedback in policy decisions.