Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ten Ways To Advocate For Change

- By Barbara Davis -

In today’s economy it is likely that many of us are feeling frustrated over budget cuts, lack of jobs and reduction in services. We may feel that our politicians are letting us down in the laws they enact or don’t. It is easy to become complacent and think there is nothing we can do. Fortunately, this is not true. Below are ten ways we can advocate for change on both the local and federal level.
Presidential, state and local elections are equal in importance. The mayor, city council members, state legislators and other officials write or enforce laws that impact our daily lives, while the President and Congress work on similar issues on the federal level.

Join support groups, councils and coalitions.
Some groups provide advocacy and support. Councils and coalitions offer opportunities to advocate for improvements in transportation, housing, education, etc. If you do not know of any specific groups, councils or coalitions in your area that advocate for your particular interest, search the internet for this information.

Call or write your legislators.
Legislators know who can hire and fire them, and they pay attention to these voices. If there is an issue important to you, let your legislator know. Participate in calling and writing campaigns when asked to do so. Better yet, visit them when they’re in their local office if you can.

Don’t take “no” for an answer.
Find out who else you can talk to or what appeal process is in place, and proceed accordingly.

Don’t assume a problem can’t be fixed, or a law can’t be changed.
If you want sidewalks in your neighborhood, find out where to start and go from there. It may take time and require a variety of methods, but if it is important to you, there are likely others who feel the same way. Start writing or calling campaigns, get a petition going, or join a council that is already working on the issue. If you gather enough support, the sidewalks will come.

Attend rallies and public meetings. 
Officials of schools, transportation and other service providers pay attention at packed public meetings. If you want more services, increased funding or improved neighborhoods, go to these meetings and have your say. Large rallies can have the same affect. When legislators realize a large number of their constituents have certain views, they take notice, and vote on impending legislation accordingly.

Participate in surveys, focus groups and questionnaires.
Companies who produce technology and provide services want our input. Changes in healthcare, transportation, assistive technology and education have all come about due to surveys and focus group participation.

Google it.
Google can tell you where to write your legislators, how to start a support group, and who to talk to about the neighborhood sidewalks.

Go public with your issue.
Utilize social media to post videos or voice an opinion. Write articles online, address a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, start a petition on, or contact your local TV station with a story idea.

Photo Credit: Flickr