Hello First UU! For those of you who do not know me, I am Kelli McNeal, First UU’s Social Justice Intern. For now through April, I will be writing a Social Justice blog every week to discuss what the church is doing in relation to social justice, bills that are going through the General Assembly, updates on how to respond to federal and state political actions, etc. I invite questions and suggestions on anything you all would like me to look into, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and include in the subject line, Social Justice Blog. I hope this space will be a point of connection for those of you who would like to stay up to date with Social Justice happenings in the congregation, Virginia, and the US.
I have been having numerous conversations with colleagues in the School of Social Work about how to track and follow policy changes that seem to be changing on a minute-by-minute basis. If you’re like me, you want to stay on top of the changes, but it can feel overwhelming when trying to track policy on your own. So, for my first post, I want to share a few resources that I have found helpful when trying to follow the changes that are happening quickly in our new political climate as well as how to better reach out to your representatives. The first two are new resources that have recently entered the social justice arena. These are focused on social justice from a federal lens. The second two on this list are resources that have been around for a longer period of time and are specific to Virginia policy and legislation.
- I downloaded the app Countable on my phone recently and am really liking the results so far. I was able to put in my address and the app tracks my federal representatives and lets me know when a vote is happening in congress and how my representatives voted. You can select to be notified about specific topics, or track all of the legislation if you wish. Time will tell if this is a helpful resource, but it has shown itself to be helpful so far in staying on top of the confirmation hearings.
- The Indivisible Guide: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, was a quick, short read that provides insider information on how to effectively get your congress members to listen. It provides tips and tricks that the congressional staffers have used in the past that have been effective in getting representatives to listen to their constituents. I would recommend reading through this short document for guidance on how to move forward with the new administration.
- The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) is a nonpartisan nonprofit that will send you a daily email about federal and state legislation as well as news headlines to help you stay on top of changes that are happening daily. When you subscribe to their newsletter, you will get an email at 7:30 every morning for the most up to date information.
- The Virginia Legislative Information System provides a service called, Lobbyist-in-a-box, which lets you track up to five bills going through the General Assembly for free. This is a great resource if you have a particular bill that you want to follow on its journey.
MSW/MDiv Social Justice Intern
First Unitarian Universalist Church