How to Pass A Community Resolution
1. Contact the ACLU
- Your local ACLU affiliate will inform you of any pending resolution activity and how you can get involved. You can locate your state affiliate online at www.aclu.org (scroll down to the ""In the States"" section).
- The national ACLU office has hired a full-time field team to support local efforts in passing resolutions. For detailed information on promoting a resolution in your community go to the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree.
- Look over the ACLU draft resolution and discuss it with your ACLU contact. Consider which provisions are particularly important in your community. To obtain a copy of the ACLU draft resolution online go to the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree.
TIP: If there is no pending resolution in your community, inquire about potential contacts that may assist in the process. Ask for assistance in setting up organizing meetings. Your local ACLU affiliate may have a list of people and organizations that want to be involved.
2. Know Your Community
- Understand your local administration and how decisions are made. In particular, you need to know what powers the City or County Council has with regard to the police, libraries, and other municipal offices and resources. You may be able to access this information by contacting a local government office or a former municipal official.
- Collect information about the members of the City or County Council. Get informed about which members of the Council are most concerned about your issues and may be willing to support, if not sponsor, the resolution. Also, figure out what people or groups have leverage over council members who may not initially lend support for the resolution.
- With the ACLU draft resolution in mind, consider what organizations and activists in your community may be particularly interested in joining the resolution effort. Obtain a copy of the ACLU draft resolution online at: /node/22759
- Review the list of communities that have passed resolutions, to see if a resolutions(s) have been passed in your state. (The list is available online through the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree.) You can contact organizers from those cities and counties to learn their strategies for success. Keep in mind that some resolutions contain legally binding language, which actually protects residents, while others have been largely symbolic. To best protect your personal privacy, please consider starting strongly worded ACLU draft resolution. Then, individualize the draft so that the language is specific to the concerns of your community. To obtain a copy of the ACLU draft resolution online go to the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree.
TIP: Stay organized by keeping records of your contacts. Knowing this information will help you complete the coalition building process.
3. Build a Coalition:
- Identify organizations in your community that you think may wish to work on the resolution effort. Know that a number of national organizations have pledged their support for this community resolution effort. You may also find allies by contacting the national organizations who have joined the ACLU in opposing intrusive federal policies - ask for local affiliates or activists in your area. With these possibilities in mind, contact your local ACLU affiliate to further discuss the specifics of your coalition. Remember that you can and should draw on a broad array of organizations to support.
- Locate your local affiliate online at www.aclu.org (scroll down to the ""In the States"" section).
- View a listing national organizations at www.indefenseoffreedom.org/organizations.html
- Send a letter to the organizations that you feel may be interested in working on this project. Remember to include the ACLU draft resolution with your letter as a starting point for your discussion. To obtain a copy of the ACLU draft resolution online go to the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree.
TIP: The coalition you assemble should be balanced and representative of the diversity in your community. Remember that having other organizations and activists support for binding language will be essential if you want a strong resolution to be passed. And know that building a strong, broad grassroots coalition will create a lasting defense against civil liberty abuses in your community , that will continue after the resolution is passed.
4. Host an Organizing Meeting:
- Having discussed the initiative individually with some of your key organizational partners, you should convene a coalition meeting to discuss this project as a group.
- Establish roles and responsibilities for leadership.
- Review and discuss the provisions of the USA Patriot Act that can adversely affect your community. Peruse the ACLU's PATRIOT Act information online at www.aclu.org/safeandfree, click on ""USA Patriot Act"" in the News and Issues section. Your state ACLU affiliate can offer support as needed, as well.
- Draft a resolution that reflects the priorities of your community. While you should use the ACLU draft resolution as a starting point, you should be ready to add and subtract from the draft in order to meet the needs of coalition partners critical to your success. The resolution should be both legally binding and representative of the diverse interests within your community. To obtain a copy of the ACLU draft resolution online go to the ""Pass Community Resolutions"" section at www.aclu.org/safeandfree
TIP: You may want to involve sympathetic City Council members in the drafting process.
5. Build Public Awareness
- Work with the ACLU to devise a public education strategy. Some suggested methods are to start a letter writing campaign, draft an op-ed piece in the local newspaper, engage in a public petition drive or set-up information tables in public places. In addition, with your coalition partners, you can organize 'teach-ins' with your members and/or forums with the general public invited. Any information given to the public needs to be accurate and concise.
TIP: The ACLU has printable flyers -- useful for raising awareness. Go to www.aclu.org/SafeandFree, scroll down to Publications section and click on the ""More Safe and Free Publications.""
6. Implement a Strategy for Passing the Resolution
- Schedule informal meeting(s) with your local council members. Present evidence of public support to the council members. Identify most persuasive council member(s) to introduce the resolution to the city or county council.
- Have influential people or groups call or visit members that need to be moved to support the resolution
- Identify key people to testify in support of the resolution at the meeting when the council will be debating the resolution.
TIP: Members of the coalition should be prepared to attend City or County Council meetings and testify publicly on behalf of the resolution. And remember to keep the media informed about your activities, about council votes and certainly about your success!
Passing a resolution is only the beginning; early successes should be capitalized upon in the media and in the community. Email us to develop a Next Steps Work Plan. at: email@example.com. We are here for you.
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY!!