“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” - Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Managing editor Brooke Klauer details what she is doing right now to evoke political activism, and how you can help, too.
In the blur that’s been 2020 with the endless days and yet blink-and-we’re-here moments, it feels like both a marathon and a sprint. Likewise, the months leading up to the election have dwindled and here we are—13 days to go. But there’s still time to make sure your voice is heard, counted, and is used to help others too. Political activism is crucial right now, and even if you have never participated before (me! I get it! See my phone banking experience below), there is a way to protect our democracy. Like Michelle Obama said, "When we all vote, we take our power back." It starts with us.
That said, I'm casting my ballot for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as a vote for dignity and decency, human rights and women’s rights, for our planet and science, equity and inclusion, empathy and kindness—and I hope you will too.
Listed below are action items for right now, and here is a comprehensive list for how to directly support and volunteer for the Biden-Harris campaign in the final stretch. Ready to check them off? YES.
Build Your Ballot
Vote Save America is here to help you build your ballot—which means you can review the candidates and referendums you’ll be casting your vote on (in addition to the presidential election). Down-ballot races and issues are important! Don’t gloss over what is happening at your local level, as these decisions can and will directly affect you.
Yvanna Cancela represents Nevada's 10th district in the State Senate, the first Latina to ever serve in the chamber, and in the Bad on Politics (Paper) podcast she emphasizes the importance of local voting: "There's a temptation to check the box for president, vice president, maybe the other federal races and move on, but it's a mistake because the folks who are down-ballot oftentimes are making decisions that more closely relate to your day-to-day life, particularly in the judicial races, municipal races, and in state legislative races."
More local-level politics in our interview with Kirsten Harris-Talley here, who is running for local office in Seattle—”If we can build this together as community, what are we going to build?”
Use Relational Networking
Talk to your people! You hold more sway over those in your circles than you may realize, and with more means to do the most good. When you call your sister to ask about her weekend, check in about her voting plan too. Wear your VOTE t-shirt to bookclub (I did!) and make sure your girlfriends are good to go. Call your grandma to make sure she can get to the polls, and knows how to vote safely. And, while you’re at it, go ahead and tell your people what's at stake in this election and why the Biden-Harris ticket is the leadership we need.
Try Phone Banking
I’m phone banking on behalf of Women for Biden—and you can too. It’s not as daunting as you think, and actually more rewarding than you’d assume. I’ve mostly encountered kind, welcoming receivers (with only a few hostile, for good measure). Instructions are easy, dial-up simple, and there’s a script to help you as you go.
And here’s where I learned it really matters: Two weeks ago I connected with an older women in the battleground state of North Carolina, who wanted to vote, didn’t know how, and doesn’t have a computer. We spent the better part of 20 minutes on the phone together as I walked her through the necessity of voting and resources she could contact via phone (833-336-8683) to request her mail-in ballot. She shared how she didn’t vote in 2016 (“because Trump is awful and I didn’t want a woman president”), how she wasn’t sure what “party” means (“is Trump Republican or Democrat? Does that matter? Do I have to be one or the other?”), and how she wants to vote for Biden when she figures out how (“Trump is just plain mean and that’s no good in the White House”). It was exactly the anecdote I needed to power through the awkwardness of calling and gave me a glimpse at the good I am, hopefully, doing.
Support Swing States
Emily’s List is an organization that supports progressive women run and take office. The Sister District Project also helps to mobilize voters to help elect Democrats to state legislators. You can also Adopt a State through Vote Save America to channel time and dollars toward a battleground state, even if you don’t live there.
Protect Voters At The Polls
Across the country early voting has started. The ACLU’s website has a really helpful guide to knowing your voting rights and how to handle voter intimidation. You can also expose voter suppression and election interference as you see it with See Say 2020.
And if you are willing and able, be a poll worker! Power the Polls can help find you a spot in your district that needs it.
Donate Time & Dollars
Donating to campaigns really does make a difference, and every dollar literally counts. (Here’s a good look at the necessity of raising campaign funds and the inherent race disparity: Black women are running for office in historic numbers. But they aren’t getting the financial support they need) Volunteers are also needed on every level, and all organizations could use your time and expertise. Most orgs have volunteer pages to sign up!
Our friend Jessica Yellin (read our interview with her here) is the founder and daily content creator of News Not Noise. She’s an invaluable source of just that, breaking down the news we need to know in a smart, easily digestible way. You can support her efforts through her Patreon page, or follow her on Instagram.
Investing in journalism and the news media is crucial. Accurate, widely-disseminated information is the people's power, and it lies in a free and independent press, which needs our patronage. Consider paying to read past the paywall, order a print subscription, support your local press. We need truth and facts now more than ever.
And here are a few political organizations to support, if you are able:
VoteRunLead (training for women running for office)
She Should Run (gives women pathways to political leadership)
Brennan Center for Justice (fighting to make elections fair, end mass incarceration, and preserve our liberties)
Fair Fight (advocating for free and fair elections)
And for a final nudge, the original cast of Hamilton is here to remind you of the pivotal importance of being in the room where it happens. Vote! Vote! Vote!