People are writing and texting me after last week took our collective breath away.
Everyone is asking —-“What can they do now?”
The extremist anti-woman, anti-labor, anti-immigrant, pro-gun voter suppression agenda promised by Missouri’s Governor-elect Eric Greitens, Lt. Governor-elect Mike Parson, Attorney General-elect Josh Hawley, Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft and Treasurer-elect Eric Schmitt —is not one that the majority of Missourians approve.
News today of a presidential advisor appointment of a white nationalist anti-Semite, misogynist, and former CEO of the alt-right publication Breitbart, Steve Bannon continues our horror. As for the White House agenda, it’s still unclear exactly which disturbing campaign promises will become reality.
Things are definitely not good.
Many of us and our loved ones may be in grave danger. People are nervous and scared.
Graduate & undergraduate students at Washington University invited me last Friday to speak at their community wide “Love Rally” on campus. One thousand diverse people, including families of all ages, came together on short notice because a small group of students insisted it was necessary. Little do they know that being with them and seeing their scared yet hopeful faces gave ME my needed inspiration.
My advice to myself? Come out from under the covers. Do what I know how to do and look for answers from those who have gone before and are much wiser.
Like “Uncle” George Takei, a survivor with his family in a Arkansas Japanese-American internment camp at age 6, a civil rights worker in the South as a teenager, a lifelong gay rights and marriage equality activist and more recently after the Pulse mass shooting, an advocate for gun violence prevention. I had the honor of meeting privately with him after he spoke to an auditorium of mostly students at the University of Missouri – St. Louis last week. George’s devotion to social and civil justice his entire life – even after his country unconstitutionally imprisoned him behind barbed wire with armed soldiers for several years – motivated me to get back out there.
I stand solidly with peaceful protestors all over. When they attack our values, I will resist. I promise you.
?WHAT YOU MUST DO RIGHT NOW:
My friend Sarah, a junior at Georgetown University and very wise social justice teacher, gave her friends a to-do list for the week. Here is mine:
1) Found out who you elected.
Learn exactly who represents you in the state legislature, Congress and at the local level. CLICK HERE TO START. Remember our elections have not yet been certified by the Missouri Secretary of State so check back for updates.
Some of you KNOW that I’m your state representative for the next 2 years (87th district) however your state senator in this district may have changed. House Minority Leader Jake Hummel is the new Senator-elect in the 4th Senate district (is mine), replacing Joe Keaveny in the November special election.
2) If you need assistance to find out, please contact my asisstant, Adam Speak at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at my office – 573.751.0100. He will help you – regardless of where you live.
3) Write down your electeds names, email and phone number and stick them on your refrigerator and computer desktop. Use bright colored post-it notes so you can see them every time you reach for a snack or get on Facebook.
I could not be more serious with the above 3 steps.
Most people have NO IDEA who represents them in the state legislature. Many in my own district think I work in Washington D.C. I am not kidding you.
Most of us were on your ballot in November —and are who YOU put in charge to represent you. You will need to contact us repeatedly in 2017. You cannot give any of us a pass.
The majority of state legislatures are now in conservative control with only 5 states with Democrat complete control for 2017: California, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Oregon and Delaware. Previously, conservatives controlled 39 state legislatures. In Missouri the GOP is in charge with super-majorities in both the House and Senate and have all but one statewide office. It is going to be quite rough.
Even though Congress is considered to be “cooler,” most policy action happens in the states. This is not an accident. This is what they designed.
4) Mark this on your calendar in red: January 4, 2017 —Missouri Legislative Session Begins.
5) Find out your mayor and who sits on your local school board. They are meeting regularly RIGHT NOW and many will be up for election in the spring. Attend city council and school board meetings. Seriously considering running yourself.
I’m very proud that my stepson Drew did this in August even though his children are not yet in public school. He spoke out as his local school board was considering altering their good sex education/bullying policies. I was proud. His voice mattered.
Policy decisions that effect your family are being made each month, decisions on which you may or may not agree. Pay attention – even if your children aren’t old enough to attend or if you’re an empty nester. Extremist policy begins locally—and is where extremist candidates are groomed.
6) Decide what issues matter the most to you. Reflect on what YOU truly care about – where you can put your time and resources. Our impulse is to open up our wallets to every organization immediately which isn’t practical. Step up for those for which you are truly passionate.
7) Forward these instructions to every one in your family and your friends. Being passive is NO LONGER an option.
We’ve seen much of this before.
Protecting our civil rights is once again, our responsibility. I’m stepping up.