All politics is local. Truer words were never said. All partisanship aside, if people want to
change the world they must act on their local level first. The U.S. political system is based on a pyramid
hierarchy. Voices at the local level travel
from one level of politicians to another until our issue becomes a national
A notable example Chicago’s violence
crisis. In 2016
almost 800 people died from gun violence.
Even as the “cure” alludes Chicago City Council, Trump turned the crisis
into a national issue. He has regularly tweeted
on the crisis and mentioned it in his first State of the Union address. How did that happen? First, headlines in the Chicago newspapers
support the voices of grieving families, exceptional lobbying by anti-violence
organizations including Cure Violence, from the streets to the state and to the
nation. Voices can be heard from the
bottom to the top if people continue to work on an issue.
Your Issue Local
protection, child care, job market? When
you choose your issue focus on groups that are immediately at your disposal. If interested in education join a local school
council, attend meetings and volunteer at schools. The average person would be amazed or disgusted
by the millions
lost in local schools from a lack of community voice. Union members should attend meetings. It’s only once a month. Environmentalists can start by creating
Stewardship Days at the local park.
Contact the nearest Neighborspace group or even your state EPA. They can help. Seek and you shall find.
State Advocacy Days
Thousands of issue focused
citizens descend upon State Capitols across the nation for Advocacy Days. On these educational and activist days,
citizens meet and greet with their state representatives, senators, state staff
and sometimes the governor. These
elected officials welcome your thoughts and ideas on issues in a group
setting. Learn how to start your own
As a big city resident, it can
be frustrating to get the ear of a local elected officials. Wards in Chicago are populated by
10,000-40,000 people. It can seem like
an uphill battle yet small towns can create issue heroes much easier. Municipal meetings
have fewer participants, allow more citizen voice time and have immediate
impact. The best way to have your
voice heard is to bring 20-30 concerned neighbors to discuss the issue at the
meeting. That is deemed a large number
of voices in a small town.
Just Do It
Even though we all like to
watch a little TV, maybe read a book and constantly run errands for children,
we must make time for activism. We are
the only people who change the world. We
start by changing the immediate places to make a national and sometimes an
international impact. Get going, today
is almost over.