Action FAQs

How do I sign up for the Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience?

Visit this page to sign up and join tens of thousands of Americans engaged in advocating for democracy and constitutional freedoms. Welcome!

I signed up, but am not getting the weekly email.

Ah, technology. Here are four remedies:

1. In the automatic follow-up email from me, be sure you clicked the “confirm” link.

2. Check your spam folder or search for in your email.

3. Tell your email program you want my email in your inbox. Follow the steps for white-listing.

4. Last ditch: You might have accidentally signed up for my blog, where I write about the intersection of growth, soul, and travel. To get the action checklist, complete the form here and click “submit.”

A workaround: You can always find the most recent checklist in the archives at the bottom of this page:

I have an action or resource to share. How can I send that to you?

Just fill out this handy form. Thank you for sharing what you know for the good of all.

A note about starting new activism efforts: If you’ve got an idea for an action (like sending a protest potato), get it organized first (website, etc.) and then follow the instructions above.

Is it better to call or email my Member of Congress (MoC)?

When communicating with your senators and representative, here is the order of priority usually given to communication:

1. An in-person visit
2. A phone call or voicemail
3. An email or letter
4. Tweets and Facebook comments

If it’s an urgent issue, visit or call. For less urgent issues, email or write. Snail mail can be delayed for two or more weeks for security screening.

I’m in a blue district, what do I do?

Call. Even if it seems redundant. People assume their Democrat MoCs will vote in line with progressive values. In reality, democracy is about compromise. Telling your MoCs about issues you care about means they’re less likely to compromise in negotiations about a bill (for example) in DC.

Call. Make your voice heard so they understand you and your values (source). Share your stories that support the legislation they’re advocating for. Encourage and praise them when they do a good thing. If you don’t call, they’ll only listen to the complaints.

I’m in a red district. What do I do?

Whether you’re a blueberry in a red district or a conservative ally, our democracy is relying on your participation. Simply said, if you see actions, bills, or public statements that are contrary to our Constitution and American values, use your voice. Tell your MoCs what you think is right.

How can I influence MoCs outside of my district?

You can’t. You are the boss of your own MoCs. You elected them, and they’re here to serve you in our representational democracy. MoCs outside your district only want to hear from their own constituents.

My one exception to this is expressing gratitude. When an elected official does the right thing, I often suggest sending a postcard to say thanks.

I live in DC or Puerto Rico. How can I make my voice heard?

More than four million Americans have no voting voice in Congress. Depending on the issue, DC and PR residents can appeal to the White House, local officials, and committee chairs directly. However, the best thing to do is work for DC statehood, PR statehood, and/or voting representation. I regularly advocate for this issue.

Why don’t you recommend online petitions?

Right or wrong, many MoCs disregard petitions that come from groups with a heavy fundraising agenda or are created by the general public. A phone call is almost always a better way to be counted.

The most effective petitions are produced by reputable advocacy organizations with a history of results, research, and experience.

Why don’t you include marches and protests?

My weekly checklists include actions you can do from the couch –making calls, writing postcards, and online activism. Although I’m personally supportive of showing up in person, I mostly wanted to keep the barrier to entry low stress and easy.

Other groups are doing a great job of aggregating marches, including Popular Resistance and Resistance Calendar.

Why don’t you recommend using ResistBot?

People love this app. Its claim to fame is sending a fax with your message to MoCs. It’s easy to use. However, I don’t recommend it because most MoCs’ offices don’t have fax machines anymore. Instead, they use a tool that sends faxes as email. And emails get less value than phone calls.
You can still use ResistBot, as it’s better than taking no action at all. However, if you want to use an app, I recommend–which sends your recorded message as voicemail and keeps calling until it gets through.

Why do you praise Republicans?

In my weekly email, I recommend expressing gratitude to leaders when they speak up for democracy, go against their party’s group-think, and advocate for what’s right, instead of what’s popular. This takes courage and integrity, and is thus praiseworthy.

Some take issue with praising those whose ideology is the polar opposite of their own. Polarization is not helping our country. One of the ways to heal our democracy is to find common ground, no matter how small, with people we’re quick to judge or dismiss.

Gratitude is good for the recipient and the giver. Is it easy? Not always. Is it worthwhile? I believe it is.

Do you get hate mail?

Not yet. (knock wood) I’ve officially heard from two Republican subscribers who tipped their hats to my efforts. My dad is also grudgingly proud of its success (69,000 subscribers as of May 2017).

Surprisingly, the snarkiest messages come from progressives who think my messaging isn’t left-leaning enough. I’ll admit, this kind of smarts for a few days, but doesn’t stop me from believing in the power of listening, finding common ground, and collaborating with fellow Americans. I believe doing so is vital to democracy.

How do you create the checklist?

I’m a professional writer, teacher of social media strategy, and all-around research nerd who cares deeply about justice. In other words, I was born to create this checklist. My process:

  • I read obsessively papers and magazines from around the US and world that have a high level of credibility. I reject sources that are slanted, jargon-y, or opinion-heavy.
  • I’m an unrepentant Twitter fan and follow thought leaders in many areas including politics, Black leaders, Native Americans, women’s rights, immigrant rights, advocacy groups, LGBTQIA+ leaders, Constitutional lawyers, activism groups, environmental groups, satirists, artists, and more.
  • I collaborate with the Action Alliance, a group of more than 60 smart activists and groups around the country who cross-pollinate actions and ideas.
  • My awesome subscribers often send me action suggestions.
  • In all these sources, I look for issues that put our democracy at risk to act on, as well as positive developments to celebrate.
  • I edit heavily, organize, and email them to you.
  • Then I start all over the next week.

It does literally take days to create this checklist, but it’s worth it. It’s also better for my well-being than nervous-eating and ranting.

I love your checklist. How can I support you?

The best support of all is to use the document to advocate for justice and democracy. It’s icing on the cake when you share it with like-minded allies.

If you want to financially support my writing time, research, and technology expenses, donations are welcome. If you are able, becoming a regular patron through Patreon provides me stable income to commit to this project for the long haul. One-time donations can be also made through PayPal. If you prefer snail mail, my post office box info is here. With gratitude.

A financial note: You can’t deduct contributions because I’m not a non-profit. As a professional writer, I pay federal and state taxes on all donations.

Bottom line? All support–whether emotional, practical, or financial–is appreciated more than you know. Thank you. We’re in this together. <3