Today is only the two-week mark since Donald Trump was sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States of America. Within this time period, he has managed to take 17 executive actions. Now if you do the math with me, thats a lot in just two weeks of power. Let’s finish up the equation though because we forgot to factor in “we, the people.”
So what happens when you lose the popular vote? What happens when you don’t respect our existence? Expect our resistance. The people are fighting back. While President Trump is busy signing off on orders that harm, instill fear, and even ban specific populations, the general public has gathered in over hundreds of locations to protest against him and his actions. While he is busy tearing this country apart, people of all types are uniting together for humanity. The people united will never be defeated, right?
Our retaliation and unity is revolutionary. And while both protesting and marching are a critical opponents to expressing our opinions as a nation, it his vital we exercise our rights to call our members of congress to voice our concern on an individual level.
Emily Ellsworth and Sharon Wong each compiled a thread of tweets on the importance of reaching out to our congressmen. However, when someone like myself is struggling with mental health, it can be hard to be active in articulating our thoughts on issues that are important to us. Picking up that phone to call a representative provokes anxiety in many of us. This is why your family at Muslim Girl gathered a step-by-step list from several resources to help us overcome this anxiety and pick up that phone.
1. Create time for this on your calendar.
The call itself lasts only about a minute or two. Even then, that’s a long while when you factor in time to prepare yourself. Schedule the call in your calendar as a block of enough time. Don’t rush yourself. Take all the time you need.
2. At the scheduled time, sit somewhere that comforts you.
Your comfort is important. Be aware of how you are feeling and thinking. Sit somewhere quiet and lax so you have the mobility to handle the situation at your own confidence.
3. Find out who represents you.
You need to know this in order to know who to call. There are several resources provided online to help us get this information. Some examples are as follows:
- Elected Officials (including the president, state governors and legislators, mayors, county executives, etc.)
4. Write out exactly what you have to say.
Sometimes, we can be so eloquent about issues in our heads but find ourselves having a hard time expressing our ideas out loud. Before you call, think about what you want to say. Write it down to keep you on track. Here is a resource that has pre-written templates of what to say. Fortunately for us, it even breaks it down further per topic and elected official. Don’t be afraid to stick to the script. Even so, don’t be afraid to stray away from the script. It is your voice, your experience, your opinion that matters.
If your representative has previously made a statement on the issue already, don’t let that be an excuse not to call. I know it may seem pointless, but it is so important that you call. Thank them and urge them to keep pushing for us.
You are more powerful than you believe. You can do this. It is okay if your voice shakes. it is okay if you stutter. You will most likely feel awkward if it is your first time. And that, too, is okay. These people get so many phone calls and messages in a day. They don’t have the time to judge you on your delivery. They care more about your opinion. Voice it.
6. Dial the number.
I know this may be the hardest part for some of us. It’s the bridge between our goal and our fear/anxiety. If it helps, pre-dial the number and click call when you are ready.
7. Read the script
You dialed the number. What happens now? You will most likely be directed either to a voice machine or an actual person. For those of us that want to get this over with as quick as possible, just read the script you have prepared back to the other end of the phone.
It doesn’t have to be a full-length discussion. There are many other individuals calling in and the representatives will most likely not have enough time to converse with everyone for more than a few minutes. It’s okay to be concise and direct with your message.
8. You’re done! Say thank you.
It’s over! That’s it! A big congratulations to you! You read through the script and they received your message. Thank them for their time and hang up. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do some breathing exercises to reduce your anxiety. Take one long bath. Binge watch your favorite television series. Roll on the ground with six different puppies. Smile. I’m proud of you.
If you feel comfortable and think it wasn’t so bad, call more people! Have your friends call people! You can even call the same person you called either tomorrow, next week, or next month in order to keep the issue on their minds.
It is okay if you are unable to call. Understand the difference between feeling uncomfortable and harmful to yourself. Your safety and security is the first priority. There are a lot of ways you can take action for issues that matter to you without having to call. You can:
- Write to government officials
- Fax your senators
- Donate to organizations you trust. Donate to help feed the protestors during marches!
- Listen to marginalized groups
- Create art, programs, advocacy groups
Most important of all, take care of yourself and keep up the great work! While it is okay to disengage from society and social media for self care, it is just as important for us to acknowledge and appreciate when we have done something good for the betterment of both ourselves and an inclusive humanity.