A lot of self-described radicals laugh when i tell them that i regularly write letters to members of Congress, corporations, local governments, mainstream newspapers and the like. But as someone who worked on Capitol Hill (a fact that some may find hard to believe), i know that letters can make a difference. I would agree that it is problematic if you feel that your power is relagated to writing letters, but for me letter-writing is another tool in the tackle. It is also a great way to show solidarity (we shouldn’t forget our friends in prison).
For those who “don’t have the time” to write a letter, many organizations have now instituted online petitions and click-and-send email letters. One of my regulars is the United Farm Workers weekly action (it caters so much to laziness that they will even email you once a week with a button to click that will take you to the action of the week). This week is the Bush administration’s immigration policy - something i’ve been slack on and haven’t written about once despite all the posts floating in my head. But you’ll get plenty of it on the tenth of April as i battle it out with another blogger (more on this to come).
When i was in college, i instituted a weekly letter writing session. I quickly found that this was a great way to educate White liberals (the only folks that ever showed up) about all the really messed up stuff that is going on around us. Sure, we had our “stop clubbing baby seals” letters, but it also introduced a lot of folks to new issues like the struggles of the Dine nation (at a time when John McCain was first gaining popularity among liberals). So i figured i would start up that tradition again. Except this time, instead of meeting in a worker-owned cafe, we’ll meet up in the blogosphere. Every sunday i’ll put up a post with at least one important issue and where to send the letter (or a link to a click-and-send email if applicable). It’d be great if you let me know if you also sent a letter by saying so in the comments. I’d also encourage others to post their own letter writing ideas on their site. Obviously you don’t have to do it on sunday, just thought it would be nice to know that we aren’t writing our letters by ourselves. One problem with armchair activism is that it is so isolating.
Today’s letter is the above link to the UFW’s campaign for a reasonable immigration policy, which is summed up in the first line of the letter, “Please honor the people who feed America by supporting the Senate Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan bill now being debated on the senate floor.” Simple enough. Of course you can also make it a little more persynal. I usually do (and i usually change the subject heading so that its not immediately deleted). Just so you know, don’t expect responses from form emails. If you want a response, send it snail mail or send it from your persynal email account.
And just to give you a heads-up, i have already dedicated some time this weekend to writing letters to prisoners, so i’m sure that’s what i’ll be talking about this Sunday. Oh, and we might as well start up a technorati tag, so here goes:
[tags]letter writing sunday[/tags]