Whether you call it community organizing, grassroots advocacy, or something else, organizing is an important tool to create systemic change. While every individual can make an impact by contacting his or her legislators, the principle of “strength in numbers” holds true in policy advocacy. The more people who support a cause or piece of legislation, the more likely it is that legislators will take action.
When you can find other groups with the same or similar goals as yours, it is important to work together to solve a shared problem. For example, are there other affiliate chapters in your state that you can contact? What about the state association of the Deaf or other Deaf service organizations? While each organization has its own philosophy and priorities, there are likely issues you can agree on and work together to promote. For example, each organization would likely support a law that would raise interpreter standards in the state.
There are many ways you can build support for your issue or cause. You can:
- Attend local events hosted by Deaf and interpreter organizations to discuss your issue and garner support.
- Establish a Facebook and/or Twitter page to reach out to interested parties and keep potential supporters informed.
- Set up a Yahoo or Google group to share information and communicate with supporters.
- Begin blogging about your issue or cause.
- Create a website where people who are interested in learning more about your issue can get information, sign up for updates, or contact you with questions.
- Host a demonstration or a rally to draw attention from individuals and the media.
- Develop a petition to submit to legislators indicating support for your issue.
- Start a letter/email campaign to showcase how many people support your issue.
- Testify on behalf of or in opposition to legislation related to your issue.