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Self-advocacy 101: Find Your Congressional Representatives

FWIW: This is the first-ever post to OTYCD, uploaded on January 7, 2017.

Before you can start pushing back against Trump, you need to know who represents you in Congress.

Find out who your Congressional representatives are by plugging your zip code and your state into this web site:

This web site is better for learning who stands for you in the House of Representatives (plug in your zip code and it will narrow the choices to two. The name that seems more familiar to you is probably your House rep):

Once you have pinned down your two Senators and your House Rep, pull up their web pages. Scroll to the bottom. If their offices aren’t listed there, go to the Contact page and find them.

Pick the state office that is closest to you (*NOT the Washington D.C. one).

Find the phone number for that office.

Put it in your phone.

Repeat for your other two representatives.


* You can put the Washington, D.C. numbers in your phone, but call them last. You are far more likely to reach a real person if you call the district offices.

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Follow Your Congressional Reps on Social Media

Are you active on social media, even a little bit? Are you thinking about signing on?

Please follow the pages and accounts of your Congressional representatives.

Pull up the web pages of your three Congressional reps–your two senators and your house rep. Social media platform logos tend to show up at the top of the home page or the bottom. If they’re not there, try the Contact page.

Most members of Congress are on Facebook and Twitter. If they’re on other platforms and you want to follow them there, go right ahead. But don’t feel like you must follow them on every platform. Do what makes sense for you.

If any of your reps are not on social media, or aren’t on the platform you like best, call their offices and ask them to join. You can bet there’s an intern or entry-level staffer who’s been chewing the rep’s ear off, trying to make their case. If enough constituents call to ask them to get on social media, or on a specific platform, that might change their minds.

Following your reps on social media is worth it. It keeps you up to date on what they’re saying and doing, and lets you know when they might appear at an event happening near you. It lets you show your support for them. And it helps move toward a world in which members of Congress take messages that arrive through social media as seriously as requests that come over the phone or through postal mail.

But don’t forget that for now (early 2017), social media is the least effective way to speak to your reps. If you need to ask your members of Congress to do something, use the phone. Do not use social media. Your message will not get through to them.

If you’re not on social media at all, consider signing up to follow your reps. You can have a private account on Twitter, and you can keep strict privacy settings on your Facebook page.

If you’re not on social media at all and have no wish to be, sign up for their e-newsletters and postal mailings instead, if you haven’t already. You should be able to do this through their web sites.


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Support Miry’s List, Which Assists Refugee Families Who Settle in Southern California

Want to help refugee families who have just arrived in America? Check out Miry’s List, which provides new arrivals to southern California with basic needs.

Miry Whitehill-Ben Atar launched Miry’s List in July 2016 after encountering a Syrian refugee family of five, with five-year-old twins and a five-month-old, who had just come to California and needed baby gear and groceries. After getting them set, she realized that she had unwittingly found a gaping hole in the social safety net, and created Miry’s List to fill it.

As of February 2017, Miry’s List had completely taken care of the needs of 60 refugee families in southern California. It is in the process of becoming a 501(3)c organization.


Join Miry’s List:


See the current Miry’s List roster of families needing help:


Donate to Miry’s List:


Like Miry’s List on Facebook:


Follow Miry’s List on Twitter:


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Hooray! We Defended Delaware’s Trifecta!

Update: Congratulations! Stephanie Hansen won her Delaware race, preserving its Democratic trifecta. Thanks to all who helped make this happen, with a double helping of thanks going to former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Democratic party claims only six “trifectas” nationwide–states where the party controls the governorship, the state senate, and the state house.

Delaware is one of the six, and it is in danger of losing its trifecta.

Do you live in Delaware? Do you have friends and family who do? Help elect Democrat Stephanie Hansen to the Delaware State Senate on February 25.

Bethany Hall-Long vacated the seat, in the 10th state senate district, when she rose to the post of Lieutenant Governor. If Hansen fails, the Democrats’ 40-year hold on the state senate would end.

Hansen faces two rivals: Republican John Marino, and Libertarian Joseph Lanzendorfer. Flippable reports that the 10th district is competitive, and could be nail-bitingly close. Hall-Long won by just 267 votes in her last race.


Learn more about the special election:


Donate to Stephanie Hansen’s campaign:


Sign up to phone bank (make calls for) Stephanie Hansen (yes, you can do this even if you don’t live in Delaware):


Like Stephanie Hansen’s Facebook page:


Read Flippable’s take on the Delaware senate race here, and learn about other upcoming state-level elections:





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Learn from How Italians Ultimately Defeated Silvio Berlusconi


Trump has been likened to Hitler, Mussolini, and other 20th-century autocrats, but his closest analog is Silvio Berlusconi, the blustering, womanizing media mogul who served as Italy’s prime minister from 1994 to 2001.

In this November 2016 New York Times op-ed, Luigi Zingales shows us how to avoid the mistakes of Berlusconi opponents, which had the effect of prolonging his grip on power.

The key point to remember:

Attack what Trump does, not who he is. Yes, he’s morally bankrupt. Yes, he’s an awful human being. Yes, he’s unbelievably ignorant. Yes, his view of women is horrific. Yes, his twitter-squawkings are insane. Yes, he looks goddamn ridiculous.

If you need to complain about things like that, vent in a private Facebook group, or some other protected space. Empty it from your mind, then go out and shine a light on what he is doing, and explain why what he’s doing is bad.

You need to do it in a way that spotlights the consequences of his actions as president, and not on why Trump, the man, is repugnant. The instant you start attacking his character, you make him sympathetic. It’s not fair, but it’s what it is. The anti-Berlusconi crowd made that mistake and got seven years of his rule. Do you want eight years of Trump? Then lay off.



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Call Your MoCs and Ask Them to Investigate the Yemen Raid

Call your members of Congress and ask them to investigate the January 27 raid in Yemen, in which a Navy Seal lost his life along with as many as 29 civilians.

Less than a week after taking office, Trump gave the go-ahead to an attack on the central Yemen home of a suspected Al-Qaeda collaborator. Unfortunately, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Navy Seal Ryan Owens died along with as many as 29 civilians, possibly including an 8-year-old American girl. An Osprey aircraft valued at $75 million had to be deliberately scuttled to prevent Al-Qaeda from taking possession of it.

The military is now conducting an investigation of the raid. But Trump’s administration has not yet launched its own investigation. Bill Owens, father of the dead Navy Seal and himself a veteran of the Navy and the Army Reserves, has asked for a full probe of the mission.

Owens declined to meet Trump when his son’s body arrived in the United States. He was annoyed when White House Press Secretary invoked Ryan Owens’s sacrifice when deflecting criticism of the raid.

In early February, the Washington Post quoted Spicer saying: “The action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success. American lives will be saved because of it, future attacks will be prevented. The life of Chief Ryan Owens was done in service to this country, and we owe him and his family a great debt for the information that we received during that raid. I think any suggestion otherwise is a disservice to his courageous life and the actions that he took, full stop.”

(White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has since said that she “would imagine that [Trump] would be supportive of that [an investigation into the Yemen raid].”)

Owens has since countered Spicer’s words in a February 27 Miami Herald article: “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation.”

It’s entirely possible that the mission was plagued by bad luck. It happens. But given the loss of life and the circumstances surrounding the choice to go ahead when it did, Owens is right to demand a formal, public investigation of the incident that claimed his son.

Does your house rep belong to the House Armed Services Committee? Is one of your senators a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee? Then it’s extra-important that you call. Check the links below before dialing:

House Armed Services Committee:
Senate Armed Services Committee:
Sample script: “Hello, I am (Firstname Lastname) from (town, zip code). I’m calling (Senator/Rep Lastname) to ask for a formal investigation into the Yemen raid that Trump pursued in late January. Early indications show that it went poorly, yet White House press secretary has deflected criticism by claiming that questioning the raid is a disservice to the Navy Seal who died in it. That Navy Seal’s father has explicitly asked for a full investigation. I ask you and your colleagues to pursue one.”
Read about the Yemen raid, and what went wrong:
Read how Spicer defended the Yemen raid and invoked the sacrifice of Ryan Owens to deflect criticism:
Read about how the raid may have been a bust, goal-wise:
Read the Miami Herald articles on Bill Owens and his call for an investigation of the raid that killed his son:
Read the article in which Deputy Press Secretary Sanders gives her opinion that Trump would be open to a probe:
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Save This Tool for Tracking MoC Appearances Near You


You know how important it is to attend Town Hall meetings, public forums, and other events where your members of Congress appear in person to speak with their constituents and take questions.

Some clever, determined, energetic people have created the Town Hall Project 2018. It evolved from a spreadsheet of all the events scheduled by MoCs, be they Town Hall meetings, district office hours, ticketed events, or conference call-Town Halls. Now all you have to do is plug in your zip code and voila! It’ll show you all the relevant events happening within 75 miles.

Save this tool for tracking events where your members of Congress will take your questions and meet with you:


Like the Town Hall Project 2018 Facebook page:


Follow the Town Hall Project 2018 on Twitter at the handle below and the #TownHallProject2018 hashtag: