Lobbying and legislative activism is something that anyone can do as way to make their voice heard to the people who represent them in government. For NCADV and our supporters, raising awareness of domestic violence and ensuring the safety of victims and survivors are a critical part of this conversation. So far in our “Lobbying for Change” blog series, we’ve examined how Congress passes laws and how to contact your members of Congress to share your opinions. We’ve also reviewed two specific issues you can talk about with your legislators -- the deadly intersection of domestic violence and firearms, and increasing federal funding for domestic violence programs.
Lobbying is not a one-time event; it takes consistent effort over a period of months and even years. We mentioned before that the legislative process is long and complicated and that we take a long view when lobbying for legislation. The bill we are advocating for might not pass right away, but we’re laying the groundwork for future movement.
Here are the three most important things to remember as you start taking action:
#1 Stay engaged on policy issues important to you
Sign up for NCADV’s public policy updates and action alerts so you can be notified of Congressional votes on issues critical to domestic violence victims and survivors. It takes 30 seconds and can help you stay on track with your legislative activism.
#2 Educate your community
You have a voice -- use it! Talk to your friends and neighbors about important policy issues, and not just by knocking on doors. You can do it while waiting for the bus, shopping at the grocery store, or picking the kids up from school. Write a letter to the editor about a specific issue you are passionate about. Remember the 4 Steps to an Effective Conversation with Your Legislator? Those same tips can be applied to conversations with your community.
#3 Keep it up
Advocacy is necessary 365 days a year! Domestic violence is an epidemic in the U.S. and around the world, and it will take a consistent, grassroots level effort to make improve our laws, our justice system, and our society to hold abusers accountable. If and when you get discouraged, remember:
“No matter what you do, it will never amount to anything more than a single drop in a limitless ocean.”
“But what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”
(From the film Cloud Atlas)
Go forth, drops.