In California, it’s easy to feel like our progressive bubble is disconnected from today’s national political climate. Even with some of the nation’s most progressive leaders working towards our shared goals, we as Californians have plenty to do to make a difference in our local, state and national political systems. Following inauguration, many are wondering, “What can I do to get involved?” Besides sharing articles online, how can you take your activism to the next level? Here a few steps to make a difference in a blue state:
- Get Involved Now. Get involved in the midterm elections! The 2018 races are already picking up across the country − that means there are plenty of opportunities to support progressive candidates. It’s important to research your nearest You can volunteer your time phone banking or canvassing, donating to a campaign, or simply making a conscious effort to talk to your friends in those districts about their votes. There are battleground states across the country where you can contribute your time encouraging voters to support candidates who will fight for progressive values.
- Fight for a Cause. Find an issue that’s important to you and don’t be afraid to learn more and take action. There are tons of organizations working on the same issues that you care about. Do you want to protect a woman’s right to reproductive health? Are you concerned about the future of LGBTQ rights? Do you want to voice your opinion regarding current environmental policy? Organizations like Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and The Sierra Club all work to lobby congress, propose legislation and organize and educate voters. You can attend informational meetings, volunteer, donate and talk to your friends about why these issues matter to you and why you’re inspired to take action. You can also show your support by attending upcoming public demonstrations similar to the Women’s March as well as the pro-immigration protests held at various airports.
- Run for office. We often forget that our elected officials are just like us – regular people who want to make a difference. Today, 40 percent of state legislature races go uncontested, and it’s even worse at the local level – we need more people to lead. Think about what you care about, look into your local elections and run for something! This could be at any level of government, from your local school board to the municipal water district board. Regardless of your age, race, gender or sexual orientation, you have the right to run for office, and there are plenty of resources to help you get started. If you don’t think holding office is for you, support organizations like Emily’s List, California Women Lead and Emerge, which recruit and train women to run for office.
- Get Out and Vote. Register to vote and show up for every single election. Though this may sound simple, we sometimes forget about smaller, local elections and don’t vote. Local elections have the most direct impact on your community, so stay informed on the candidates in your area and for which positions they’re advocating. Take it a step further by joining local political clubs, such as the Los Angeles County Young Democrats or the Stonewall Democratic Club. There are numerous groups for specific interests, and there is definitely an organization out there for you. If not, you can create your own club!
With the barrage of new policies that we’ve seen in the news, many of us have been inspired to make a difference − not only in California, but across the country. These are just a few steps we can take not only to amplify our voices in the national political arena, but also to let our fellow Americans know what Californians stand for.
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