March 6, 2017 NOPE! Meeting Notes

Dear Friends,

Thank you to the more than 40 people who turned out for our first Nope Neighbors meeting.  We covered a lot of ground -- getting everyone up to speed on what we’ve been working on, hearing from you about your interests, and learning about what works when doing advocacy with Members of Congress.  Here’s a review of what we did and what you can do next:

Lobbying Members of Congress:

Trudy Vincent, our guest speaker --  former Chief of Staff for Senator Jeff Bingaman -- made it abundantly clear that one of the best ways to influence MoCs is by having constituents contact their offices, ideally with personal stories and local data. Other points she made:

  • MoCs who we are most likely to be able to persuade are those who had or expect to have close elections.  With that in mind, here’s a target list of House members and Senators. See if there’s someone in your personal network in these districts who you can engage in local activism.
  • Occasionally there are mega-issues or actions that demonstrate dramatic public outrage and generate a lot of media attention (e.g., Congressional Town Hall meetings, marches, or a particularly important issue such as dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.)  Contacting MoCs about these issues can be effective.   
  • Use local addresses -- outside of the blue bubble -- where you grew up, have family, or have a vacation home when you engage with MoCs through calls, letters and visits.

Sign up at IndivisibleGuide.com and MoveOn.org for weekly action updates and phone calls. They highlight the current hot issues that are generating the most attention.  

Issue and Action Work groups:    

At our meeting, everyone provided their name, email address, and the actions and issues they are interested in. Based on this information, we developed the attached list of eight work groups and the folks who expressed an interest in each group. At our upcoming April 20 meeting, these groups will convene to further develop their plan of action. These are initial group “assignments” - of course, you can decide to join a different group.

If you weren’t at the meeting and want to tell us what your interests are, please send us an email or complete the NOPE survey  at this link.

Visit the the NOPE Neighbors Connect page for more information about each work group, including copies of the action agendas that we handed out at last week’s meeting.

  • Nope Neighbors Rapid Response Network. The rapid response network is our approach for ensuring that the actions that each work group recommends are communicated to all NOPE members, who will then share the actions with their personal network of friends and family, as appropriate. The objective of this work group is to communicate the network concept to NOPE members and to make sure that it is working.
  • Flip from Red to Blue.  As the election season heats up there will be more activity here and we’ll send out information on how we can join to together to participate.  But most immediately support Jon Ossoff, who is running for HHS Secretary Tom Price’s Congressional seat in Georgia this spring.  
    • For state and federal elections, follow  Flippable, Sister District Project, Swing Left, and Daily Kos Elections -- links can all be found at in the Resources section of this website. 
    • For redistricting, join the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
    • And make sure all these organizations show up at the top of your Facebook feeds.
  • HandsOffDC. Join HandsOffDC and DC Vote. Follow them on FB and send a birthday greeting to Jon Chaffetz (see above for local action).  
  • Issues - More specific information will follow as workgroups convene on these issues:
    • Immigration. Support sanctuary cities; join the ACLU Freedom City organization; coordinate with other DMV groups that are working on immigration issues.
    • Education. Follow the 2018 budget debate; follow DeVos’ actions at the Department of Education; support educational organizations and issues.
    • Environment. Follow the 2018 budget debate; follow Pruitt’s actions at EPA; support environmental organizations and issues (including climate change, of course).
    • Healthcare and Women’s Reproductive Rights. Lobby for the ACA and against Trump’s American Health Care Act. Fight for Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.
    • Catchall. NOPE members identified seven other issues of interest.
  • Cross-Cutting Local Action Group. Organize local actions; participate in local protests; support marches that are held in DC, including hosting marchers from out of town and helping them lobby their MoCs. Upcoming marches include April 15 Tax March to demand that Trump release his tax returns, April 22 March for Science, and April 29 Peoples Climate March. As these actions come up on the calendar we’ll send out information on how we can join to together to participate.

Stay in Touch:

Read the NOPE! Facebook page every day. Friend us. Post your ideas. Comment on other people’s posts.

Check out the NOPE! Website for information on our action agenda and resistance resources.

Email Debra and Joanna with questions, suggestions, ideas to: nopeneighbors@gmail.com.

Thanks for persisting with us.  In the immortal words of Margaret Mead - Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

Persistantly yours,

Joanna Pratt & Debra Fried Levin