Meeting with your elected officials, either virtually or in person, is one of the most effective ways to convince them to implement policies to help confront white supremacy.
Elected officials can’t ignore constituents in a meeting like they might ignore phone calls or emails, and will often feel pressure to commit to requests in meetings.
Typically, only local officials like mayors, city councilors, or county officials have the power to make changes to budgets, introduce new initiatives and work to implement new programs. You will request to meet with these officials to ask them about the jurisdiction’s plan to defend against the harms of white supremacy and/or explain why you think your city or/county needs a plan. During the meeting you should ask your elected official to commit to creating a plan if none exists.
6 ACTION STEPS
Before we go through the process of setting up meetings, here are some topline goals we would like to achieve at every level — from the federal government down to local municipalities. These goals will help guide the conversation you have with elected officials.
LEGISLATION & EXECUTIVE ORDERS
1. Make honest public assessments of the current plans, budgets and staff (or lack thereof) assigned to confront white supremacy in every city, county, state, and federal office in America. Because what is now abundantly clear is that the United States has completely failed to take its greatest threat seriously.
2. Craft new legislation, policies, and executive orders to confront white supremacy in every government office in America including jails, prisons, police departments, sheriff’s offices, prosecutors offices, city councils, public schools, colleges, universities, county offices, state legislatures, and throughout the federal government including the military, the DOJ, and every other office.
3. Create and issue publicly available scorecards measuring the progress or lack thereof for each body.
OUR PERSONAL SECURITY PLANS
4. Create robust security plans for every Black owned business, shopping center, school, community center, and religious institution.
5. Create a plan for “Racism-Free” businesses and organizations with a central monitoring and certification system committed to zero tolerance.
6. Offer online and offline nationwide security and personal protection training sessions.
Step 1: Start outreach to YOUR local elected officials
- Reach out to the local officials you want to speak with to arrange a date and time.
- Call and email your elected officials asking them to arrange a date and time to meet using the sample scripts on that page.
- For virtual meetings: Once the date and time are confirmed with the official, create a virtual call.
- Some officials will have a preferred method for virtual meetings and will set them up for you. Others will ask you to set it up. Below is a list of ways to do it with links to documents that will walk you through how to do it. If you can’t figure out how to set one up and need some extra help, email us at email@example.com.
- Create a Google account if you don’t already have one.
- Schedule a new meeting. Click here to see how.
- Don’t worry about adding guest emails to the event.
- Copy the video link.
Step 2: Prepare
- Elected officials answer to the people, so you shouldn’t feel pressure to be a policy expert to participate in an effective constituency meeting. However, the best meetings will be ones where participants clearly present compelling reasons to craft new legislation, policies, and executive orders to confront white supremacy– whether those are stories about personal experiences, arguments for a robust plan to dismantle white supremacist terrorism or evidence-based discussions about safety.
- Create an agenda and share with everyone who will be attending the meeting, either the evening prior or the morning of the meeting.
- It is also okay to share and go over the agenda in the first minute of the meeting so everyone knows what is going to be discussed. You don’t need to be super detailed on the agenda. But make sure you stick to it.
Step 3: Join the Meeting
A few good tips for your meeting:
- Set an agenda and make sure you stick to it. Take detailed notes of everything the elected official says in the meeting. You want to be able to hold them accountable to any promises they make, document any key details from what they say and ask questions that you have after the meeting.
Step 4: Debrief
- Debrief the meeting with community members who joined the meeting to discuss next steps and how people felt about the meeting. Make sure to leave the debrief with clear actions, steps and assignments for follow up with the elected official.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how the meeting went with elected officials
- Let us know about the plans that currently exist in the city, if the elected official supports improving plans to defend white supremacy, and what these follow up plans are.