Election Day has come and gone. As 2020 begins to wind down many of us are looking forward to a restful holiday season. But if we know anything about civic engagement, activism, and women’s rights, it’s that the work doesn’t end when the election is over. The real work happens in the years in between.
2020 has been a hard year for so many but we’ve also seen the bright side - a year that’s engaged young women in political discussions like never before. 2020 has cracked open the conversation for racial injustice, the environment, women’s rights, and so many other long-overdue conversations. We want to keep the momentum going and are here to help you do just that.
Make sure you (and your friends) are registered for your next local election
Elections don’t just happen every four years - there are state and local elections - and the midterms in two years. Your vote matters in small elections, maybe even more, because local elections are often decided by a small number of votes.
Follow your representative’s voting patterns and contact your legislators
Make sure you’re signed up for email alerts from your legislators and follow them on social media too. Websites such as GovTrack.us allow you to see each bill and how your representative(s) voted. Set reminders for yourself to check it throughout the year. If you don’t like how your representatives voted, contact them to let them know. Whoismyrepresentative.com can tell you who your representatives are as well as direct you to their contact information. Add them as contacts in your phone so you can quickly get in touch when you have an opinion on legislation.
Focus on making a change in your neighborhood
Your central community - whether that’s your hometown, your college, your neighborhood - is often the best place to start with your efforts. Work with a neighborhood association, community center, school activism group, or local chapter of your political party.
Find your passion
In the same way that Greta Thunberg focuses on climate change awareness or Malala Yousafzai is a champion of women's and girl's education, find the issue that fills your soul and go deep. It is hard to be an expert on every subject, so whether it’s homelessness, voter suppression, climate change, justice system reform, or women’s rights - find what speaks to you and makes you want to get involved, and focus your attention there.
Continue to support and lift up the marginalized and disenfranchised in your community
In whatever issue(s) speak to you, always keep in mind the way BIPOC are often adversely affected. Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are disproportionately affected by climate change, COVID-19, and racial injustice so don’t forget to focus attention within your movement to lifting up and supporting those in these communities.
Subscribe to a few reliable news sources from which to stay up-to-date on current events. Block out the rest.
We have information at our fingertips, but in an era of misinformation we must take ownership to sift through the noise and find the most reliable sources. The New York Times, BBC, The Economist, Politico, NPR and CNN are all good for daily news and deeper educational pieces. Jessica Yellin, former CNN Chief White House Correspondent is great to follow on Instagram. She breaks down the latest news headlines in Instagram Stories and often shares news via video as well. You can also get great news here on the IGNITE blog. :) To stay up to date with the most important news subscribe to the IGNITE email list here.
Don’t forget the ripple effect
If you haven’t already you are bound to come across people in your life who disagree with your views. Maybe it’s because they truly have an opposing view but it could also be because they are uninformed. Don’t be shy about sharing the reliable news sources and information you read. This can be helpful in starting hard conversations with those you love and creating a ripple effect of knowledge and awareness.
It’s a movement, not a moment
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It can feel daunting to invest yourself in something that can take years but know you are not alone. You have a community here at IGNITE to support you. Set attainable goals, focus on making small changes, watch those actions make a difference and grow from there. We are in this for the long term.