Day 74: Follow up on Your Local Action

Did You Hear Back?

DAY 74 ACTION: Follow up on your communication to local government on Day 61! (Or, find a new reason to contact your local government today!)

Mokah Jasmine Johnson and former Seattle City Councilman Nick Lacata, at a recent forum in Athens, Georgia. Credit: John Roark/Athens Banner-Herald

Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin

As we discussed on Day 60, local government affects many aspects of our lives. To learn more about interacting with this often overlooked level of government, we picked a local topic that fired us up and contacted local officials about it on Day 61.

We heard from some of you that you emailed a City Council member; and from others, that you called your town about an upcoming vote. It’s now been about two weeks since that contact. What’s happened? Have your local officials acted? Have they responded to you? Did they take that vote?

It is so important to follow up after contacting a government office. Civil servants and elected officials are busy, and issues can fall through the cracks. But if they know that you are paying attention, they will be more responsive. So if you haven’t received a response, reach out. If the council took that vote and reached the conclusion you pressed for, thank them.

It is an exciting time to get involved in your local government. Here are just two examples, to inspire you for today’s action (and for future actions!): 

* When Mokah Jasmine Johnson learned that African-Americans do not go to downtown Athens, GA for fear of being refused entry to bars and restaurants, she co-founded the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement. The group has pushed through changes in ordinances that address discrimination, and advocates for a county civil rights commission. 

* Citizens are pushing for a more participatory budgeting process in local governments. PB empowers residents to determine how to spend part of the local government’s budget; last year in Cambridge, MA, residents proposed and voted on projects totaling $500,000. Boston does the same thing with $1 million of its budget.

Today’s Action: Follow up on your local action from Day 61. Or, find a new way to get involved! 

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