When speaking with people passionate about making opportunities to be healthy more accessible, we often hear one common complaint: that there is an issue that someone cares about, but they just don’t know how to get involved.
But, fear not! Our team of devoted policy junkies, avid news-digesters, seasoned campaign-runners, and nerdy politics fanatics are here to help you.
There are many ways to make your voice heard in the political process.
7 Ways to Get Involved in Politics.
Know Your Leaders.
Learning who represents you in government is the first step to understanding if your elected officials are making decisions that you agree with (and if there is something you want to take action about).
Go to https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative to find everyone who represents you—in national, state, and local government.
Do the Research.
Read your local paper, follow your elected officials on social media, and subscribe to emails from organizations you care about. Being an informed member of our democracy is the best way to prevent injustice from happening. Some of our favorite ways to ingest the news (without getting bogged down by it) are over breakfast, with a friend, or outside during an incredibly sunny Colorado day, and a good cup of coffee in hand.
Contact Your Elected Officials.
It is really easy to get in touch with your elected officials. And believe it or not, your input really does influence how they vote—because they want to get reelected by people like you! You can send your elected official an email or just give them a quick call. And if you put in the time to write a letter, it is even easier to show your elected official how much this issue matters to you—and to motivate them to consider your opinion.
While phone calls, letters, and emails are useful, ultimately, the people who make the biggest impact are those who show up in person. Attend a town hall. Go to a committee hearing. Trust us, they are way less daunting than they sound, and they can be incredibly fulfilling too! Check your local officials’ websites to see the next time they are in a town near you. And legislative committee hearings are always open to the public, so if there is a bill you are particularly passionate about, consider sharing a written testimony!
One of the most important roles you can play is speaking up about the issues you care about to those around you. Share a Facebook post. Have a hard conversation with a friend. Or even better, write a letter to your local paper to influence your whole community. Expanding someone’s worldview is one of the most impactful things you can do as an advocate. It is how we pass local issues on the ballot, get good people elected to office, and to inspire others to take action as well.
Join an Organization.
There are so many organizations doing really important work—and they would love to hear from you! Join an organization or nonprofit in your area that works for values you care about, start a monthly donation to further their cause, or go to a volunteer event to help their work. Being a part of a community doing good work is not only a fantastic way to help make a difference, but also to meet like-minded people who care about the same issues you do.
Keep on Fighting.
The most systematic, large-scale changes over the past century came from large groups of people coming together to fight for a shared goal. These improvements did not happen overnight. It takes effort, grit, and determination. It is completely inspiring the difference regular citizens can make for issues they are passionate about. And the first step is just deciding that you want to try.