ISSUE: It's time to show up! We're in the final week of another Congressional recess, meaning our federal legislators have returned to their home states for in-district work and meetings. That means they are waiting to hear from YOU! The Senate will return to work in Washington, D.C., on April 24 and the House on April 25 (check out the 2017 Congressional Calendar). Since legislators are back in their home districts, where their constituents live, this is a great opportunity to connect with and educate them about the issues that matter to our community.
Many PWN members and allies used the last recess in February to urge their legislators to protect health care, holding or attending town halls and "empty chair" events across the nation. Make sure you take advantage of this recess as an opportunity for #HIVResists! Whether you host a town hall, meet with your representatives, use phone calls and social media, or organize other forms of resistance in your community, check out the resources below for ideas and information about how to make the most out of this recess.
Get The Facts
- Health Care. Our health care is still under attack! Make sure to urge your Congress member to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. When you call or meet with your representatives, let them know who you are and how important access to health care is for our community by saying something like, "The Affordable Care Act provides access to lifesaving treatment and care for people living with HIV. Will you commit to opposing any bill that takes health care away from any of your constituents?" If your member has already committed to protect health care, be sure to thank them and let them know that we are counting on them. When using social media to elevate this issue during the recess, include the hashtags: #ResistanceRecess #ProtectOurCare #HIVResists
- The Families USA recess packet includes social media resources, a "contact your member" tool, talking points, tips for meeting with Congressmembers, a blog and other resources to use this recess to protect health care. The Community Catalyst recess packet and tool kit contain sample letters to the editor, messaging points, resources for working with faith-based partners, and other tools to activate on specific issues, such as how ACA repeal and Medicaid cuts harm substance use care and efforts to address the opioid crisis.
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights in particular are being targeted. Check out this list of Questions for Policymakers about Birth Control Coverage and Access, which includes questions, key points, and resources you can use to ask your members of congress about contraceptive coverage and access during town halls, meetings, and other events.
- Federal Funding for Essential Services: This how-to-do-it guide from the Coalition on Human Needs provides detailed information about organizing a community meeting or call with your congress members and attending a town hall. This guide includes useful information about the federal budget and advocating to protect funding for important programs such as child care, rental housing vouchers, and drug treatment programs.
- Immigrant Rights: April 16-22 is the We Belong Together Kids Week of Action, a week of action led by youth leaders on immigration and racial justice. The actions will demonstrate young people's unity and power, and will call upon elected leaders to stand strong against dangerous immigration policies that threaten to tear families and communities apart. Find out more about the week of action here (including an Organizer's Toolkit in English or Spanish). Find out more about the event here.
- Attend a Resistance Recess town hall or protest!
- Get prepared!
- Get information about hosting a town hall, learn about bird-dogging, and find other training Resistance Recess training materials here.
- Check out the Resistance in Your Pocket Toolkit for simple ways to engage your congress member both in-person at town halls and from home on social media or by phone on a number of issues.
- Schedule a meeting with your member of Congress or their staff at the district office. Read PWN-USA's suggestions for scheduling and planning your meeting here.
- Choose a primary issue you'd like to discuss with your Member of Congress and read up on it before your meeting -- see the resources above for ideas!
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