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?

I too have blue MoCs. It might seem like a time waster, but there are three really good reasons to make calls to your progressive MoCs.
1. Praise: Make “thank you” calls gives feedback that you like the job they’re doing for you. (This also means staff don’t get just screamers. 🙂 
2. Stories: Share your stories related to legislation they’re advocating for. Your experiences can help give clout to their stance when defending it.
3. Increase leverage: Although Democrats are outnumbered in Congress, they have some procedural leverage. I recommend following Indivisible (whose actions I often amplify in my list) because they drill down to what more you can ask of your blue MoCs to increase power in the legislative process.

I’m in a red district. What do I do?

Call. 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. It might feel like you’re shouting into the void sometimes, but a call to oppose or advocate will make your MoCs concerned about getting reelected.

Is it okay to call more than once about the same issue?

It does seem silly, but it is important to call multiple times. On your second (or more) call, you can say something link, “I know I’ve called about this issue before, but could you give me an update on the progress [name] has made on this?”

Often we assume that registering our opinion is the only point of the call, but you can ask for more than that. Request that your MoC make a public statement of opposition or support, to co-sign specific legislation, or to use their influence to speak to the committee in charge of an issue. This is especially suited for blue legislators. Insist they work for your vote.

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. In fact, by calling other MoCs, you might unintentionally sabotage local activism efforts. Highly discouraged.

Two exceptions: If another MoC is doing something wrong, take it to social media and tag them. Express clearly what you oppose and what you want. Their own constituents may catch wind and carry your efforts forward. The second exception 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 Congressional committees (since they represent all of us in that capacity). DC often has last-minute protests that other Americans can’t attend, so consider those if you’re able. DC residents can also volunteer to hand-deliver letters to MoCs for their friends. In the meantime, keep working for DC statehood, PR statehood, and voting representation. I regularly advocate for these issues in my checklist.

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 want 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, most MoCs’ offices receive faxes as email. And emails get less value than phone calls.
Using ResistBot is 100% better than taking no action at all. 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 heard from several Republican subscribers who tipped their hats to my efforts. My conservative dad and father-in-law are both also grudgingly proud of its success.

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. My process:

  • I obsessively read 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 takes 29 hours to create this checklist each week, but it’s worth it. It’s much better for my well-being than nervous eating and nail chewing. Read more about my process here.

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 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: As a self-employed professional, I pay federal and state taxes on all donations. For you, this means they’re not tax-deductible.

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