May 27, 2022

Ways to Support Policy Change in the Wake of Recent Tragedies

Russ Feingold President

Russ Feingold
ACS President Russ Feingold

Every week, it feels like we are confronted with more harrowing events. This week’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas stole my breath. The competing emotions of heartbreak and fury have become all too familiar as we respond to crushing tragedies that highlight the inaction in this country on crises to which we have answers if only people would implement them. Whether we’re talking about white supremacy or gun violence, these oppressive forces are not new. And yet, again and again, too many elected officials respond with hollow or misguided promises.

Many of our members have reached out to ask what they can do in reaction to Uvalde and Buffalo. Out of the ashes of tragedy, we find perseverance. Here are a just a few things that we all can do in support of action and policy change.

  • Help shape the narrative around these events on social media. As obvious as the events may seem to us, there are always competing narratives about what happened, some laced with conspiracies. Speak out, on whatever your preferred social media platform is.
  • Write letters to the editor. We always encourage folks to write op-eds, but LTEs are easier to write and can be better for rapid response. LTEs also generally have less guidelines, meaning you can express more emotion and reaction. Most news outlets have online submission forms for LTEs, making them easier to submit as well.
  • Write your elected officials. Trust me, as a former Senator, I can tell you that your state legislators and your congressional representatives pay attention to their mail. Even more than email, hand write a letter. Tell them where you live, why you are writing, what you want them to do, and remind them that you are a voter.

This week, we also commemorated the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by police. Mr. Floyd’s murder and legacy sparked a movement that continues to motivate and call for transformative change. President Biden signed an executive order this week because of that very movement. And still, we need so much more action to address the epidemic of police violence against people of color. At a minimum, we must ensure the reforms that President Biden made this week for federal law enforcement extend to state and local law enforcement.

We will be discussing many of these issues at our upcoming National Convention where we have a plenary on “Evaporating Abortion Rights – Expanding Reproductive Freedom,” and a plenary on, “Democracy’s Moment of Truth.” We will also be hosting a breakout session entitled, “Bringing a Poster to a Gun Fight: the Fatal Combination of Expanded ‘Gun Rights’ and Self-Defense Laws on Political Participation.”

Our convention is an opportunity for us to come together and discuss how we intend to meet this moment. And June 1 is the last day to register to attend in person. If you haven’t already, take a minute now to register. You can register to attend virtually up until June 16th. After two years of virtual conventions, I am excited to reconvene in person, particularly at this pivotal time for our democracy. I hope to see you in Washington.

Gun Violence Prevention and Second Amendment, Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation