a publication of Action Together Tampa Bay
Our next Planning Meeting will take place on Saturday, March 4th from 3 -5 pm in Pinellas County at Lake Seminole Park, Shelter #10, 10015 Park Blvd, Seminole. We're going to prioritize items on the action plan in Task Force breakouts -- we've accomplished a lot since the January update so this will be fun! Additionally, the Training Work Group will be facilitating an exercise on privilege; we'll have a session with some beginner's tips for using Twitter and a primer on understanding the levels of government. You can RSVP on the ATTB Events Calendar! Hope to see you there!
Heads Up! Important! Upcoming!
Terry Hamilton-Wollin is running for re-election as City Commissioner of Indian Rocks Beach and ATTB is lending a hand to help her win again!
On Friday, February 24th at noon at 203 4th Avenue, Indian Rocks Beach, supporters will be canvassing on Terry’s behalf, spreading the word by knocking on doors to share literature and mobilize voters. To make this as easy as possible, canvassers will be given one or two talking points before you head out. Campaign literature, along with clipboards and pins will be provided. Wear clean, comfortable clothes and good walking shoes. And because it’s Florida, don't forget sunscreen, a hat and/or sunglasses and a bottle of water. Please check the ATTB FB Group page for more information and additional details.
If you cannot canvas on Friday 2/24, the Pinellas DEC will be spearheading phone banks for Terry. Please check on the ATTB FB Group page for information on who to contact to get equipped for this.
Indian Rocks Beach is a small town in mid-Pinellas County, so just a few hours of volunteering can go a very long way toward making a difference in this election. BONUS: this is also great way to start honing skills that will come in handy when the 2018 campaign season is upon us.
Click here for more information about candidate Terry Hamilton-Wollin and how she’s had quite a positive impact on Indian Rocks Beach during her years of public service.
On Saturday, February 25th, Action Together Tampa Bay is accepting the very gracious invitation of the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay and paying a call of support and solidarity from 2:30 - 4:30 pm. As appreciative guests, we will not be arriving empty-handed; we'll be bringing cards and food to share.
Important details about what to wear and other cultural details are included in the Event listing on ATTB; please RSVP there as well.
Charge Up! Social Advocacy
(1) Have you been wondering how you can help ATTB in a meaningful way, but don’t have a lot of time to spare? The Social Advocacy squad has an admin task that we need some assistance with. It should only take under an hour to complete and is 100% online. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please shoot us an email at ATTBsocialadvocacy@gmail.com. Experience with posting FB events preferred, but not required.
(2) THANK YOU to EVERYONE who called or emailed their representatives on the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee in regards to pending House Bill 19 regarding changing medical malpractice laws for doctors that perform abortions. Unfortunately, this bill did pass committee with a vote of 9-7 (so it was close). We’ll be monitoring the bill’s progress and let you know the next steps. We’re also monitoring other pending abortion-related state legislation so watch for future action items as these bills go to committee.
(3) To those of you that have recently joined our education and environmental working groups: welcome! Please bear with us as we get up and running. For now, we’re monitoring pending or proposed legislation at the county, state and federal level and any items requiring action will be researched & action items pushed out to the group at large. If you’re interested in joining either of these groups, please email us at ATTBsocialadvocacy@gmail.com.
Any and all social advocacy related issues: email us at ATTBsocialadvocacy@gmail.com
A number of ATTB members (so many of you!!) have asked for a concrete way to support migrant and undocumented farm workers in our area.
ATTB has connected with the League of United Latin American Counties (LULAC) to see how we can help. LULAC acts as a resource, a sort of "home away from home" if you will, to support migrants while they are in our area. LULAC is one of the organizations known to have solid success in supporting these at-risk populations.
LULAC links migrants and undocumented farm workers to pro-bono legal help, as well as doctors who can provide care at no cost. Problems arise when trying to fill prescriptions. Medications are (as we all know) expensive and these folks often choose to ignore their own needs, opting to save their money to send home for parents and children. LULAC works from small grants ($500-700) and they have asked for our help to refill their Emergency Medications Fund. It's currently completely empty, and with the kind of physical labor happening in the fields at this time of year, getting this need met is critical.
If this need speaks to you and you’d like to donate to LULAC’s Emergency Medications Fund, please PayPal a donation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If PayPal doesn't work for you and you'd like to send a check, please let us know on the LULAC post (dated February 19) on the ATTB FB Group page and we can get you an address. Thank you for advocating for migrants and the undocumented; ATTB will continue to develop projects to support these communities.
The Sabal Trail pipeline is a pipeline that will carry natural gas obtained by hydraulic fracking from central Alabama through southwest Georgia to Orange County, Florida. This venture will threaten the lands, waters (including aquifers, watersheds, rivers, springs, ponds, wetlands), and flora and fauna in these three states. Action Together Tampa Bay member Carmella Guiol has written an article for Creative Loafing about the inaction of Florida’s lawmakers regarding this threat to the environment. Please read the article and look for Calls to Action and other information on this important issue on the ATTB FB group page.
Action Together Tampa Bay now has a Google Calendar for all its events and activities. Go check it out! You can RSVP for any event on the parallel Events calendar on the ATTB Facebook Group page.
First time attending a Member of Congress (MoC) Town Hall or Listening Session? Good for you! Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of your opportunity to speak directly to your representative in this environment.
1. Make it personal. Start by connecting with your MoC. Break out of the talking points, and tell a story about yourself. Explain why the issue is important to you, your family, or your friends personally.
2. Be informed. Read about the issue before you go, and know some statistics off the top of your head. Even if you don't use them, you'll feel more confident knowing you have them if you need it.
3. Rehearse what you're going to say. Rope in a friend, and practice telling your stories to each other. Pre-determine what your ask (aka your preferred outcome, based on support/opposition to the issue at hand.) Understand that the staff will usually not commit to an answer, and even the MoC will often seek wiggle room, but be specific and be prepared for alternatives, including an offer to provide research or additional information afterward to strengthen your position. If you're attending as part of a group, come with a list of questions/asks you want answered or points you want to cover. In a group, you can share them and go one by one so everything gets covered.
4. Be brief. In a town hall, your time is usually capped at two minutes. In a meeting, you should be prepared to give five, 10, and 15 minute versions of your talk. Make your time count, and have clear goals or points going in.
5. Don't be afraid. Your MoC is paid to listen to you as their constituent. Some of the best speakers are those who speak from the heart. Mistakes and nervousness allows you to connect with your MoC at a genuine level--and prove you aren't a "paid protester."
6. Show up. You can't score any points if you never take a shot, and you can't make a difference if you never show up. Make an appointment with your MoC or his staff. Show up to a town hall and volunteer to speak. Bring friends so it's less scary than if you go by yourself.
7. Follow up. Make sure that you expressly agree with the MoC or the staff on next steps before you leave. For example: "We will email you that information you asked for, correct?" or "May we announce your support for this bill, or does your staff want to do that?" Seal the deal before everyone gets away.
Remember: you have stories to tell and opinions that matter. We strongly recommend that you share them as constituents with your elected officials.
Working Groups: ATTB's Next Wave
Buckle up, ATTB - we're shifting into higher gear.
Social Advocacy, Political Advocacy and Admin are teaming up to create Working Groups under the ATTB umbrella. Highly dedicated members interested in focusing their efforts on one particular topic are being invited to join appropriate Working Groups as they open.
The main ATTB group as a whole will continue to function in much the same way, with Calls to Action and information flowing freely, but the Working Groups are designed to reduce distractions. Groups will initially be limited to about 12 members as they ramp up and figure out how best to operate.
Are you passionate about things like gun control or reproductive rights? Racial justice or environmental protection? Researching facts or figures? Writing and blogging about progressive issues? This is a chance to dig in deep. As members leave the working group for whatever reason, including taking a mental health break, members waiting in the wings will be called up.
Please do not feel as though you are obligated to join a Working Group. We value any time you dedicate to The Resistance, even just a few minutes a day... all our efforts collectively are what drive things forward. In fact, the most valuable thing you can do, by far, is keep your eyes open and ears to the ground - finding like-minded individuals and giving them tools to resist (including inviting them into groups like ATTB) are what will turn the tide in the end.
Stay tuned for more announcements about Working Groups as they launch and expand!
That phrase is everywhere these days.
You can’t watch a news clip or take a glimpse at social media without it popping up. And it’s annoying.
Fake news has two interpretations, both equally terrible:
1. Publishing a “news” story for the sole purpose of playing to cognitive dissonance and with the intent to deceive readers is distributing fake news.
2. When someone, such as #45, doesn’t like the tone or content of a news story, it’s declared to be fake news. And the media outlets publishing the unflattering, unfavorable stories are deemed fake news perpetuators.
Facts are facts. “Alternative facts” are plain and simply lies. Untruths. Hyperbole. Whoppers. Tall tales. And just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s fake or false. That’s a very bratty attitude to have.
So. How can we progressives be more legitimately media-savvy and more legitimate media-supportive? Here are some suggestions:
• Filmmaker Michael Moore shared a note on Facebook earlier this week called “Do These 10 Things and Trump Will Be Toast.” One of his very astute suggestions was that YOU must become the media.
In his words, "stop complaining about the media, stop wishing they were something they're not, find the ones who are doing a good job and then start your own 'media empire' by sharing their work and your work on the internet. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites to spread news and information. Make sure all your friends and family are signed up. You can be your own reporter, your own editor. You can curate the news for your friends." You have the power. Use it. Use it wisely.
• Myriad news articles cross our path, via television, radio and social media. That's a fact. But... before you click share, read the article first. Do not pass along or even comment based simply on a headline. Content is everything these days. Do your due diligence first before sharing. We all thank you in advance.
• One of the first things learned in any introductory reporting course in journalism schools is to check your sources. Same is true in this world of traditional and not-so-traditional media. Check the source of the article – and then check their sources and so on and so on -- particularly if statistics and figures are involved. Any schmo with access to the internet can write something and call it news. Again, do your due diligence and check things out before buying into the point of the article and then sharing it.
• It’s true what they say – the internet never forgets. Given that, make sure that what you’re reading and potentially sharing is current news. Archived stories espousing a certain position are like that old flame you can't get rid of -- they can crawl out of the woodwork at any time. Check the publication date before you do anything. Recycled stories can ramp up your righteous indignation for no reason -- and it's important to keep that righteous indignation focused on issues about which you can do something.
• It’s very very nice to sequester yourself in a ideological bubble, where all the news and information you read comes from people and sources with your philosophical bent. However, the potential for “fake news” of the misinformation kind is much greater in that bubble. There are always three sides to a story – Side A, Side B and the truth somewhere in the center. Try to find news sources in that middle ground if you want to understand the facts. In other words, step out of the bubble and look for legitimate balanced news sources Ignore the blatantly slanted on all sides if you’re looking for the whole picture view of an issue.
• The search engine Google is both a noun and a verb for a reason. Use Google. Google the issues. Verify. Check. Research. Do your due diligence. If the facts are valid, it will be obvious.
Here’s a fact that can stand on its own: sharing articles that are not true or based on facts can harm your credibility. At least with rational, thinking people. So please check before you share. Look for the facts. And keep on doing your due diligence. All good things to help with The Resistance.
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