All politics is local. Truer words were never said. All partisanship aside, if people want to
change the world they must act on their local level first. The U.S. political system is based on a pyramid
hierarchy. Voices at the local level travel from one level of politicians to another until our issue becomes a national
A notable example Chicago’s violence crisis. In 2016 almost 800 people died from gun violence. Even as the “cure” alludes Chicago City Council, Trump turned the crisis into a national issue. He has regularly tweeted on the crisis and mentioned it in his first State of the Union address. How did that happen? First, headlines in the Chicago newspapers support the voices of grieving families, exceptional lobbying by anti-violence organizations including Cure Violence, from the streets to the state and to the nation. Voices can be heard from the bottom to the top if people continue to work on an issue.
MakeYour Issue Local
Pensions, environmental protection, child care, job market? When you choose your issue focus on groups that are immediately at your disposal. If interested in education join a local school council, attend meetings and volunteer at schools. The average person would be amazed or disgusted by the millions lost in local schools from a lack of community voice. Union members should attend meetings. It’s only once a month. Environmentalists can start by creating Stewardship Days at the local park. Contact the nearest Neighborspace group or even your state EPA. They can help. Seek and you shall find.
State Advocacy Days
Thousands of issue focused citizens descend upon State Capitols across the nation for Advocacy Days. On these educational and activist days, citizens meet and greet with their state representatives, senators, state staff and sometimes the governor. These elected officials welcome your thoughts and ideas on issues in a group
setting. Learn how to start your own here: http://www.ncte.org/action/slate/stateadvocacyday.
As a big city resident, it can be frustrating to get the ear of a local elected officials. Wards in Chicago are populated by 10,000-40,000 people. It can seem like an uphill battle yet small towns can create issue heroes much easier. Municipal meetings have fewer participants, allow more citizen voice time and have immediate impact. The best way to have your voice heard is to bring 20-30 concerned neighbors to discuss the issue at the meeting. That is deemed a large number of voices in a small town.
Just Do It
Even though we all like to watch a little TV, maybe read a book and constantly run errands for children, we must make time for activism. We are the only people who change the world. We start by changing the immediate places to make a national and sometimes an international impact. Get going, today is almost over.