An urgent meeting for details on passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was held at Creating Change. I came away with a renewed sense of how anyone can do the work to get ENDA passed and a long list of suggestions to help.
If you’ve been following ENDA news, you may have recently felt discouraged by word that ENDA was not moving. Mara Kiesling of the National Center for Transgender Equality let us know that ENDA is, in fact, still moving and set to be voted out of the committee VERY SOON (think within WEEKS). There is definitely a sense of urgency to be contacting our Representatives and Senators NOW. If you already know your legislator supports ENDA still contact them- they need to feel our support so they know we’ve got their backs if they catch fire for support us.
To quote Jaan Williams from NCLR (who should go down in history as ENDA’s hero when it passes) “Our legislators need to know this is personal this is our lives and we CANNOT wait another year”
Here’s a great list of ways (many I’d never thought of!!) we can accomplish letting them know:
At home? Here’s some simple actions ANYONE can do:
– post to facebook “Did you know it’s completely legal for someone to be FIRED in most states for being LGBT? We must fix this and pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. More info at http://UnitedENDA.org” This simple action lets your actual friends and family know how they can support you. Most of us don’t talk to the people who care the most about us enough about how they can help us.
– Follow @ENDAnow and the #ENDA hashtag on Twitter to help spread the word. Tweet about employment discrimination with the #ENDA hashtag.
– set up an in-district meeting with your Senator NOW. You don’t need to be an expert to be your own lobbyist- you only need to tell your story. Never met with a legislator before? Learn how here: http://unitedenda.org/take_action
– A fierce group of students at the Indiana University was able to get over 150 letters to Congress in just a week by tabling. Woohoo! If you didn’t know- snail mailing letters to Congress members works. They love to read stories on the House and Senate floor of why their peers should vote with them.
– host an ENDA panel or bring in a brilliant speaker like Mara Kiesling from NCTE (who is also HILARIOUS) to help people learn about ENDA.
Working with a grassroots group?
– Jaan Williams talked about a “Stop and Dial” campaign that Equality California used to great success. The idea is so simple any group of five friends could do it. Essentially you go to an area full of supporters (campus, club, group meeting, etc) and ask people if they’re against workplace discrimination. Then you hand them your phone to call the Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and leave a message in support of ENDA. Brilliant! Contact Jaan for training materials at JWilliams@nclrights.org
– friends and family phone banks! Also simple and completely genius. Get a group of folks together from your organization and ask them to call people they actually KNOW to contact their reps in support of ENDA. Again, see Jaan for training materials. JWilliams@nclrights.org
Part of a faith based organization?
– a United Church of Christ leader suggested bringing up the Golden Rule and talking about values, worth and dignity.
– Phonebanks, Stop and Dial, tabling and many other ideas can be used to great effect by faith based orgs as well.
Let’s get out there and pass ENDA!