We here at Samara were heartened to see everyone getting political this Saturday at the Women’s Marches around the world. Some of us made the trip to Washington and some of us took our kids to their first march. We were so proud of the organizers and all the people who took time out of their busy weekends to remind public leaders of their responsibilities towards all people in their country, not just those who brought them to office.
President Trump thinks that an election is the end of the discussion but we at Samara know that it’s just the beginning. Democracy is how we make decisions together and those decisions are not just made on Election Day; they’re not just made by those who are in power; and they’re not even just made by people who are eligible to vote. Our way of life and our democracy require everyday vigilance and engagement. Indeed, it’s so important that Samara offers a report card on everyday democracy through our Democracy 360 project. Watch out for the next edition to be published at the end of March.
So what to do with all that great energy? Samara has a handy checklist for you.
But top of our list?
- Talk about what you care about in person and online. Also... stop talking and listen. Some people believe Trump came to power because we are living inside our own information bubbles. Get outside your bubble and hear what others care about. Maybe we’ll find some common ground and compromise.
- Write to or, better yet, call your elected leaders and let them know what you think. Don’t just do so when you’re mad about something. Remind them that you elected them to hear you every day. Check out our friends at Open North’s tool to find out who represents you at all three levels of government.
- Join a political party. Three of our federal parties—NDP, Bloc Québécois and Conservative Party of Canada—are currently electing new leaders. What does this mean? This is the time when new ideas are being taken under consideration and new directions are being set. If you like one of those parties, this is your chance to have your voice heard from the inside and to tell them that you want opposition parties who are constructive, inclusive and accountable—all while they hold the government to account. Make sure they choose the right direction. (You can also join the Liberals or Greens and make change from inside there.)
- Donate to a cause. Charities and NGOs are often the main link between government and people whose voices are not heard. Give them a boost—whether through your time, talent or treasure ($).
- Work with others in your community. The Women’s Marches wouldn’t have come together without amazing community organizers. Jump in and be one yourself! Samara’s 1,000 Everyday Political Citizens will tell you that working with others is what makes doing the work so rewarding.
Keep heart. Stronger Democracy for a Better Canada.