Friends,

This week is the first of the three major April Marches, happening this Saturday:

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We hope that in the last few weeks, you’ve gained a deeper understanding of just why this issue is so important – now go forth and march!

But don’t forget that there are a few other things going on this week – the Tax March is just one of four action items we have for you. This week in particular, please do as many as you can!

1) Last call to support Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District Special Election

2) Engage with family and friends

3) It’s Town Hall Time!

4) Tax Reform, Part 3: Attend the Tax March!

In addition, a special announcement – for those of you in the Boston area, check out the MIT Day of Action happening on April 18.

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This Day of Action is a full day of teach-ins, workshops, and other activities dedicated to engaging with the political, economic, and social challenges facing us today. There are over 70 sessions lined up, on an array of topics including immigration, jobs, science, democracy, and more! (full schedule here) The event is open to all. If you’re not in the Boston area, consider organizing one at your own institution!

As usual, please take a few seconds to do our one-question survey, and keep recruiting more people to take the pledge!

—–

1) Last call to support Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District Special Election

Georgia’s 6th District special election is next Tuesday, so it’s your last chance to help out! Jon Ossoff’s campaign has gathered tremendous momentum, and we just need a final push to get over the line.

Remember, it may be only one House seat, but every seat matters, and the current political climate means that every seat can be in play, too. The closely-watched race in Kansas’s 4th District ended in a win on Tuesday for the GOP candidate, but the margin of victory was much tighter than expected in a traditionally red district. The tide is turning.

The election in Georgia’s 6th District is also great practice to build organizing capacity for eventual broader campaign support. Seize this opportunity to take the first step towards electoral victory!

What You Can Do:

  • If you live in Georgia’s 6th District, vote! Or get an absentee ballot.
  • If you don’t live in Georgia’s 6th District, volunteer to phone bank on Ossoff’s behalf.
  • Donate to Ossoff’s campaign – though at this point, phonebanking and other direct campaigning is likely much more important than donating.
  • Share info about Ossoff’s campaign on social media (#FlipThe6th), especially with your friends, family, and acquaintances in Georgia.

2) Engage with family and friends

With Easter and Passover this week, many of us will be seeing family, some of whom we may not see often or eye-to-eye with. This is once again an important opportunity to engage with those whose views differ from ours on key issues, and to get those already sympathetic to be more politically active and involved.

For family/friends with divergent political views:

  • The goal is to understand each other, not to prove yourself right. People generally have good intentions, so it’s important to listen and not antagonize. Even if a particular family member will never agree with your political views, they may be able to understand why you feel the way you do.
  • Try to frame arguments in terms of what matters to the other person. A 2015 Stanford study of liberals and conservatives and found that reframing issues in terms of the other person’s morals increased the persuasiveness of the arguments.
  • If someone makes a claim you disagree with, (gently) ask why. Do they have evidence? What makes them believe the claim? This is not about being smarter or better informed, it’s about understanding where their ideas come from.
  • Find evidence for your claims. Start with the SURJ winter holiday guide and try to think of responses to specific statements, such as “I’m not a racist for supporting Trump.” You can also text SOS to 82623 get key talking points if you’re stuck!

For family/friends with sympathetic political views:

  • Share your concerns about recent developments in the Trump administration. Emphasize the magnitude of the challenge and the need for all of us to take action.
  • Encourage them to get involved in local organizing efforts. Some starting points might include Wall-of-Us, Indivisible, the Resistance Calendar, and TogetherList, a comprehensive database of advocacy groups to support.
  • Ask them to join you in the Solidarity pledge! All are welcome, and people outside of MIT can sign the pledge as well.

3) It’s Town Hall Time!

Congress is in spring recess, and you know what that means… it’s Town Hall time!

Broad efforts to attend town halls during the February recess yielded spectacular and very satisfying results, most obviously by helping to stop the AHCA and save Obamacare. It’s further evidence that in-person presence is the best way to influence representatives, and a bulwark of our resistance – so let’s keep the pressure on!

Remember to go in prepared to ask tough questions (a few examples from Wall-Of-Us), and consider your MoC’s current stance on major issues. Check out the Call the Halls guide, this comprehensive set of recess resources  from Indivisible, and the Congressional Management Foundation’s report on citizen advocacy.

What You Can Do:

  • Find your representatives’ upcoming Town Halls at the Town Hall 2018 project, sign up for Voterheads to get notified, or look on your member of Congress’s homepage (find your MoC here). If your MoC isn’t holding a Town Hall, add them to Wall-of-Us’ MoC Wimp List!
  • If your MoC has already taken the position you favor, thank them for doing so! It is both personally encouraging to your representatives, and helps demonstrate clear support for the position they’re taking.
    • If this position aligns with party lines, ask that they maintain a strong and uncompromising stance.
    • If this position breaks with their party line, thank them all the more for their courage.
  • If your MoC has taken a position you disagree with, express your disapproval (politely!). Regardless of which party they’re from, consider arguing that said position is not true to their party philosophy, with the implicit threat of being primaried.
  • If your MoC has not taken a public position on the issue, call on them to do so.
    • If the position you want them to take aligns with their party line, ask why they haven’t yet expressed one, and demand that they take a stronger stance.
    • If you are trying to get them to break with party line, ask them to show courage, leadership, integrity, and attention to their constituents by doing so.

4) Tax Reform, Part 3: Attend the Tax March!

Last week, we explained why it’s so important for Donald Trump to follow the long-standing presidential tradition of releasing his tax returns to the public.  Now, it’s time to stand up and show up.

Trump repeatedly said that he would release his tax returns, but he delayed and made excuses time after time. Trump’s current excuse for not releasing his returns is that he is can’t release his returns until the Internal Revenue Service is done auditing him. However:

  1. Being under audit doesn’t prevent anyone from releasing their own return. (Richard Nixon released his returns while under audit.)
  2. IRS rules provide that the president is automatically audited every year, so he’s really saying he will never release his returns.

The Trump team’s other argument, besides this false excuse, is that people don’t really care.  The idea is that because he won the election, his broken promises don’t matter. And Republicans in Congress don’t care–they are refusing to use their legal powers to subpoena the returns.

But the public cares. This is the number one White House petition, with over a million signatures. Congressional Democrats haven’t given up. On Saturday, April 15, we’re taking to the streets to show we haven’t given up either.

What You Can Do:

  • If you can, march! Sign up at the national Tax March page, find out where your closest march is (here’s Boston’s, for all of you at MIT).
  • Share with your friends and family to get as many people as possible out there.

See you Saturday!

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That’s all for this week. As always, keep encouraging people to take the pledge, and please share any thoughts or questions with us at solidarity@mit.edu!

Until next week,

Solidarity MIT

solidaritypledge.com

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