This post makes me nervous to write, but it's the first of many. I had the pleasure of marching in the Women's March in Orange County on Saturday, and it was one of the most memorable days of my life. I've been completely apathetic toward politics my entire life, but it's been difficult to keep up that attitude these days. The march was incredible, but it also lit a fire under my ass. It was a good start, but I don't want that to be my last form of activism. I'm new to this, but I'm guessing that I'm not alone in not knowing where to start. To help myself get more informed and more involved, I'm creating this series of Three Easy Things to do each week. If you're looking for tips on how to ease into things, I hope that this will help you join me.
To kick things off, here are the absolute easiest things you can do this week:
1. Join the conversation: the first thing that I've done is be transparent in the fact that not only am interested in getting involved, but I'm way under-informed. I started seeking out friends who I know are politically aware, told them that I want to start doing more, and asked them for help. It's embarrassing to admit that I haven't been involved at all, but everyone I've spoken to so far has been more than eager to help. It's gotten a conversation going, given me a ton of helpful advice, and it's also made sure that I have people who will keep me accountable if I stay quiet.
2. Start learning and make it a routine: this past election was the first one I've ever voted in, and my excuse beforehand was that I didn't feel educated enough to vote. It was a lame excuse and an easy one to fix. I started by researching unbiased news sources (this chart is a couple of years old, but helpful) and subscribed to a few on a news aggregator app (I'm using Feedly right now, but am open to suggestions if you know a better one). I'm on my phone constantly, so reading news stories each morning is an easy thing to incorporate into my routine. One of my friends also suggested started with listening to NPR, which could not be easier. The NPR app is free and has options to listen to your local NPR station in addition to a ton of great podcasts. I listen to far too many podcasts daily, so as much I don't want to wait to listen to Reply All, it's not difficult to start my day off by listening to NPR.
3. Plan to put at least a few dollars aside to donate each month: I've been saying for too long that I'm broke and don't have enough money to donate. I say that, but I still buy coffee, food, and the occasional clothing item. I can skip a latte or a dress each month. I've already donated to Planned Parenthood, and I'm going to try to put together a list of other organizations to donate to. In the meantime, while you're doing your own research, figure out which organizations mean something to you and budget for at least $5 a month (or more if you can afford it). Every dollar helps.
I'm writing this late in the day, but if you happen to read this before midnight, Speak Paul Ryan's office is conducting a survey on the Affordable Care Act. Voicing your concern is extremely easy.
1. Call (202) 225-0600.
2. Press 2 to submit to the poll3. Listen to a (very biased) recording about the bill to repeal ACA
4. Press 1 to support the ACA. You can also stay on the line to leave voicemail with your thoughts.
I want this series to be a guest series because not only do I (obviously) not have many answers, but I want to present suggestions from a variety of different people. If you would like to contribute, email me at email@example.com OR if you know anyone who would be, please send them my way. This isn't a grab for more followers or anything, so contributors do not have to be bloggers!
*Special thanks to my friend Callie who offered me most of this advice to start, which I've now stolen, and to Marlen, who has been wonderful and has a Twitter full of helpful information and links.