C&Pd from Organizing for Action:
Hi OFA friends!
I attended an amazingly effective training this week in NYC led by former ACT UP heroes who now help lead advocacy at Housing Works and the Center for Popular Democracy.
Like OFA, the focus of this training is on protecting and improving the ACA, and these super-experienced activists are teaching health oriented groups nationwide how to use "birddogging" to get their questions and issues heard at Town Halls and other in-district events during the Congressional recesses coming up this month and in April.
I am so excited to have attended their event in NYC and to share this opportunity with as many fellow activists-in-training as possible.
Following is a long email from one of the trainers, which outlines the effort, and has a LIST OF TRAININGS scheduled so far (go to each facebook event link to RSVP if there's one near you). At the end, you'll find his contact info to set up a new training event for your area. (I intend to add each of these as OFA events as well, to help people find them -- and I'll reply to this chain with new facebook event links as soon as locations are set for places not specified below...)
Onward! We are winning! We can win!
Do you want to fight for health justice, improving the ACA and affordable medicine for everyone everywhere? Can you help us gather 15-20 people in a room for 90 minutes between Feb 9 and Feb 27? Or again the last week of March and 1st week of April?
Our friends from Housing Works, a large AIDS service provider and HIV activist group, and Center for Popular Democracy, a national network of community organizing groups, are helping set up a nationwide network of people who are linked up, trained and ready to get face-time with their Members of Congress, at in-district town halls and other public meetings. If you can join us in recruiting that posse above, please message Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org), and our team will coordinate to send organizers to help you get prepared and plugged into local events, and connected with other folks in your area!
WHAT: This is a new and rapidly developing organizing project to fight to protect health, and is intentionally under the radar—for now. Elected officials are already developing new tactics to try to avoid their own voters in their districts, and we need to keep a step ahead!
One top-line goal is that any ACA replacement must cover *more* people, and with *less* out-of-pocket costs, and *with* no reductions in benefits, preventative policies or protections for preexisting conditions. We need affordable medicine for everyone, everywhere.
HOW: The network is focused on face-to-face contact with elected officials, is open to all, and is collaborating with many of the (rapidly growing!) number of groups in the field advocating for health care for all. We will also build relationships with in-district Congressional staff and communicate with them regularly. We are most effective when we make these demands directly and publicly to our elected officials at their public meetings, while also building regular relationships with them and their staff in-district.
WHO: Local groups of any sort, including students chapters, HIV and other social service providers, health professionals, direct-action affinity groups, labor, faith-based advocates. The organizers will maintain a calendar of town hall events and other opportunities that will help your crew stay on top of our chances to speak truth to power. They will also make sure that once groups are trained, they are in touch with each other when there is an event coming up and can coordinate. Organizers will also help share the results driven by our town hall actions with all the groups, as well as with national partners, so that we can keep piling on the pressure and back each other up across the country.
We need to move fast, in order to be ready to mobilize for the President's Day Recess the last week of February and Easter Recess in the middle of April, when Congress will be home. If you can rustle upa posse that wants to plug in, then please connect with this town hall organizing project!
Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
This initiative is especially focused on republicans in red states and red districts, and on the committees health advocates care about. Blue cities matter too—we need to make sure the Ds fight for us!—and we can also road trip to support people in red districts. We’ll meet you anywhere if we can staff it.
We can also do webinars for your group for birddogger trainings and conference calls, but we’re prioritizing in-person organizing.
Please let us know if you can help us put together people in a room who want to take action. We will do another organizing swing a few weeks later for Easter Recess too. Handfuls of birddoggers around the country have changed the course of history before. Together, we can do this!
Palm Beach FL Feb 10: https://www.facebook.com/events/1267485723335055
Miami Feb 11: https://www.facebook.com/events/1444650602275341
Detroit Feb 12: https://www.facebook.com/events/625998820930630??t
Grand Rapids Feb 12: https://www.facebook.com/events/765741060242407??t
New Orleans Feb 13 and 14: https://www.facebook.com/events/669641846571761??t
Las Vegas Feb 14:
Phoenix Feb 15
Sewanee, TN Feb 15
New Haven Feb 16: https://www.facebook.com/events/102869306899767??t
Madison WI, Feb 17 : https://www.facebook.com/events/1775550576098505/
Columbus Feb 18: https://www.facebook.com/events/574053492785768??t
Boston Feb 19 : https://www.facebook.com/events/249526255495902??t
Portland Maine Feb 21
Atlanta Feb 21
Tampa Feb 20 or 22
Richmond VA Feb 22
Baltimore Feb 25 : https://www.facebook.com/events/170836846739507??t
National Advocacy Coordinator, Housing Works • Washington, DC
+1 202 817 0129