Below is a step-by-step guide to organizing the Occupation Project in your district to get your Congressperson to defund the war in Iraq.
Starting the Campaign:
Research your Congressperson:
Research your Congressperson by going to www.house.gov or www.senate.gov. Visit his or her home page.
Click here to see if your representative has voted against funding the war in past bills.
To find out if your representative has signed onto HR 508, visit www.thomas.gov and search for “HR 508” and look at the cosponsors list.
Pay attention to your Congressperson's key interest issues, including healthcare, education, all of which relate to local cost of war.
Form an affinity group and build your team:
Click here for outreach ideas.
Go to local peace events with a sign up sheet and invite people to take part in the project.
Is there a weekly vigil in your community? Invite participants to take their vigil inside for a week and join you in the office of your representative.
Find out who has been doing lobby work at this person's office in previous actions.
Build your coalition by contacting other peace and justice groups:
Many other groups will be able to help you. Click here to check out the United for Peace and Justice local member group listing by state.
Contact organizers from the groups below to see if a member lives in your area:
Gold Star Families for Peace: Contact Dede Sheehan at tiggerloli(at)aol.com
Iraq Veterans Against the War: Contact Kelly Dougherty at kellydough(at)hotmail.com
Veterans for Peace: National office phone is 314-725-6005
Peace Action: Kevin Martin (Director) (301) 565-4050 ext.307
Find related materials:
Click here to download our sample ½ page flyer. Contact your local radio station to find out about radio interviews in advance of your action.
Click here for a sample email outreach letter
Email your meeting or action plans in a ready-to-send letter to locals(at)codepinkalert.org and we'll send out the info to CODEPINK activists in your area.
Email locals(at)codepinkalert.org to get a contact list of CODEPINKers in your area that you can call and invite to participate in your actions.
Decide on your strategy:
Are you going to occupy the office once a week for 8 weeks? Can 10 people commit to occupy the office for the one week that Congressional reps are home starting Feb 19—2 people per day?
Do you have an inside/outside strategy? People can be rallying outside while occupation is going on inside. Also, you can send a regional or statewide email alert for people to call the office staff while you are occupying the office. Try to get phone #s and email addresses that go directly to staffers, rather than the general reception line.
Contact the press:
Click here to read our tips on how to get media to successfully cover your event.
Click here for sample press advisory
Pick one person in your group to be the press liaison; this person will speak for the group.
If you are able to connect with a particular individual reporter, be sure to get his or her contact information on a card if possible.
Know your Rights!
Contact your local National Lawyer's Guild
Pick one person to be the security/police liaison
Check out our Know Your Rights guide here
What does occupation look like? The more creative and unique your occupation project is, the more it will make an impression on your rep's staff and the media and ultimately the people in your district who may become inspired to join the campaign and keep the heat on your representative.
Click here for creative ideas for the Occupation Project. Host an art party at your home or a community center to make props (tag shoes, paint banners, etc.) for your action. Invite the press to see you preparing for the occupation!
During the action:
Take photos and videos to document the action.
Call the press during the action.
Keep it nonviolent, both in tone and in message. Use your best energy to be creative and adaptable. Stay calm in your heart.
Be observant; keep notes of what representatives or aides say at the time, as those notes can be helpful later.
After the action:
Follow up with legislative aides/staffers
Follow up with press; be sure to send out press release if people were arrested and letter to editor in local papers.
If the office refused to let you in or mistreated you, make that known to the press as well.
Report back to national campaign by listing on the local spotlight (click here)
Arrange jail support if necessary.
Debrief with your group by talking over what went well, what could be improved, and begin to plan the next occupation.
Have additional suggestions? Please email locals(at)codepinkalert.org