Activism

How to Combat Protest Fatigue

by Celestia L.

You’ve all been hitting the pavement, making those phone calls, sending out endless e-mails, and it’s making a real impact. DGB wants to give you some tips and tricks to combat protest fatigue so that we can all keep fighting 45 and his Cabinet of Deplorables.

Protesting is a marathon and not a sprint, and one can apply the same training techniques for marathon training that you would for protest training. You may be a seasoned protester, or you may just be starting and one of the most important steps in any training is to pace yourself. You wouldn’t go out and run ten miles if you had been completely sedentary the past four years, and you also wouldn’t run the exact same distance every day if you were an established runner. Find a pace that works for you and build up your endurance so you don’t get fatigued.

The next step is to find a protest buddy or buddies. Running is often more fun when you are training with others, and the same can be said for protesting. You are more likely to march and chant till you’re hoarse, if you have a badass friend beside you. Another benefit to having a protest buddy is that if you are feeling fatigued, they can go in your place, or vice versa, to ensure someone is hitting all those important rallies.

The third step to fighting fatigue is to rest. Every marathoner takes rest days. Listen to your body and your mind and rest when you need it. You are useless to the resistance if you burn out. One great way to rest and refresh yourself is meditation or mindfulness. This website gives all the basics for how to start a meditation and mindfulness practice and has different guided practices to help you rejuvenate yourself. Mindfulness helps other issues in your life like reducing stress, helping you feel more connected to those in your life, and even dealing with pain.

A few more small things you can do to fight protest fatigue are to make reusable signs. Use some of the sturdy poster board and make a sign that works for more than one protest. We also recommend you stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet. Just like training for a marathon, your body needs those nutrients if you are going to be able to keep up the pace at your marches and have the strength to intimidate your representatives at town hall meetings.

Keep up the awesome work, Grabbers. We see you out there protesting every weekend and, seriously, you kick ass. Follow these simple steps so you can continue to fight and show those that say we will fizzle out, that we’re just getting warmed up.

 

Be Heard: Tips for Reaching Your Representatives

By Amy Esther

Every day I read another story from a frustrated, discouraged activist who has been trying to call their elected representative, but reaches only a full voice mailbox or an endless busy tone.

It brings me back to the days when I used to work as a newspaper reporter covering politics and community news around the Philadelphia region. Every week I had to call elected officials or their staff, and most of the time they were none too happy to hear from me.

Since it’s increasingly critical that we make our voices heard, especially to the officials who are supposed to be represent our interests, I thought it might be helpful to share some tactics I used to use to break through the firewall. Most of these require a little time or effort, and a persistent (even aggressive) attitude. But it can be done!

 

1. Do a little research and try to find the names of your representative’s staff, especially those who work in the field offices or specialize in a particular policy area.

 

2. Start by calling every number you can find: don't ask if it's better to call this office or that one - put them all in your phone contacts and just call down the list.

 

3. Get creative: If you get an endless loop of recorded menu items and a full mailbox, start dialing random extensions (try '0' first). As soon as you get someone, take note of what extension worked. If they send you back to the same full mailbox, start calling them back directly and let them know it didn't work. They will quickly realize that you are THEIR problem until they can pass you on to somebody else.

 

4. Get creative, part II: Find out if there is a different office or department housed in the same building. Call them, act confused and asked to be transferred to your  representative’s office. The point here is to make your call an internal transfer within their phone system. (I used to do this when a mayor's office had blacklisted my phone number. Every day I'd call a different department, like waste management, and ask to be transferred. They always pick up for internal calls!)

 

5. Another way to call: Google the representative’s name and find a recent press release. On it will be a number for press inquiries. Call them, and simply say you are with a local group and trying to find the name and extension for the staffer responsible for your issue area (like health care, for example). Write it down, then ask to be transferred, as in #4.

 

6. Use the press: Check your smallest local newspaper for the name of a reporter who has recently covered your representative. Call them up (just call the newsroom and ask by name). Ask the reporter if they can recommend a good person who answers their phone at your representative’s office, and a direct extension. Go ahead and mention that the representative is receiving such an earful from local residents that their main lines are all down. They might even take a quote from you and write it up! Let them know if there are any local protests or demonstrations being organized.

 

7. Show up to public meetings: The Indivisible Guide has some excellent info on how to attend meetings and events, so I highly recommend it. But in addition, remember that there are often opportunities to talk one-on-one with your representative or their staff. After a meeting, they will usually be surrounded by a few buddies or other officials. Just stand in that group, lean in and try to make eye contact. It may feel super awkward, but eventually you’ll find an opening to jump in. (I once had to walk with the group all the way to the representative’s minivan and be the last person standing with him in the parking lot, but eventually he DID acknowledge me.) Their staff may be easier to talk to, so introduce yourself and give those folks an earful, too. Also look for local reporters at the event. They love anecdotes about how a national issue affects your family and community.

 

8. Show up at their offices: Be friendly, but firm. Say something like, "I was having trouble getting through on the phone line, and it's really important to me that I register my opinion with [name of specific staff person]." Hold out and don't just leave a message at the desk. If you have a really bad experience (like security kicks you out), call a local newspaper. Again, they LOVE finding a fresh local angle on a national issue. Finally, if you're going to showing up a lot, I recommend making friends with the receptionist! He or she can help you.

Amy Esther is a guest blogger for Daily Grab Back; views do not necessarily reflect those of DGB.

Thank You!

It’s been two weeks since we posted our first Daily Grab Back and we wanted to thank you all so much for sticking with us. We know that it takes time and effort to read and do our Daily Grabs, but when a group combines their efforts, they tend to have a greater effect. We at DGB truly believe in the power of small actions having a real-world impact. Thank you for sticking with us and we look forward to working and growing with you all in the future.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has,”- Margaret Mead

 

Update on Standing Rock

Because of all of the brutally difficult, life-threatening work from the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other protesters who joined them, the Army Corp has denied access to the easement and the pipeline will have to be redirected to a location with less environmental impact. This is a huge and hard-fought win for the Sioux Tribe and we want to stand with them and celebrate today.

We want to express our deep gratitude to the members of the Native American Community, the veterans that stood with them, the Obama Administration, and the Army Corp for working together and taking the correct steps to ensure the right thing was done. We’d also like to thank everyone who did our second ever DGB and called the offices of North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Know that the work is not over and we must continue to Stand with Standing Rock as the President Elect takes office. We must ensure that he respects this decision and he knows how important it is. We also hope that local law enforcement will do it’s best to repair the relationship with the community and work hard to heal wounds.

To stay up to date on all news, as well as learning how to continue to help Standing Rock, regularly check this website http://standwithstandingrock.net/category/news/ and let the people of Standing Rock know that you continue to stand with them.

 

Activism is not a Competition

  

*update*

see our updated list of similar action sites here

    Because we at DGB never lose sight of our goal to do as much good as we can in all the ways that we can, we are excited to share with you some sites with a similar model. Activism is not a contest. We are always louder together!