We’re counting on you to hold another organizing meeting so you can get to work in your community. Ideally this meeting will be after your meeting with local education officials — so think about scheduling it two or more weeks out. At this gathering, you’ll go over the results of your meeting with education officials if you were able to obtain one. If you were not able to meet, call your local education board office and inquire about which of the Blue Grizzlies nine model rules and policies for local education are already in place.
In this meeting, determine the target of your local campaign based on your research into what policies are in place or supported by education officials. For example, if your research or the results of your meeting with local education officials shows that only five of nine policies are in place in your jurisdiction, your group may decide to initiate a local campaign to get the other four policies in writing. Make a list of local elected officials you can pressure to adopt the “Freedom Schools” policies and rules that are not already in place in your city or county.
Key pressure points may include:
- Superintendent of Schools
- City Council Members
- School Board Members
- Community College Board Members
- College Deans
- Other local elected officials (e.g. County Executive)
In this meeting you’ll also choose what tactics your group wants to pursue to urge adoption of the “Freedom Schools” rules and policies. Find below suggested key tactics, though your group may have even more ideas (and we would love for you to share them with us). Big groups may want to start with working groups taking on multiple tactics. Smaller groups may want to choose just one.
- Making calls and/or sending letters to elected officials’ offices
- Meeting with elected officials in person
- Holding town hall meetings with invitations to elected officials
- Organizing protests and rallies at offices of elected officials, at ICE field offices, at offices of radical and oppressive groups like ALEC
- Gathering and presenting petition signatures
- Attending/testifying at city council or county board meeting
- Writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper
- Showing active solidarity with Muslims, immigrants, and refugees at Mosques’ citizenship ceremonies, through volunteering at “Know Your Rights” trainings or refugee resettlement offices
- Posting “We Welcome Immigrants and Refugees” signs on your windows and doors, and around schools
You can read more about each of these tactics in the ACLU’s Tactics Guide (unaffiliated).
If you organize an event a few days in advance and if it’s consistent with our guidelines, we will try to help you recruit people to attend by calling and texting nearby Blue Grizzly activists. New people are signing up for Blue Grizzlies every day, so this is a great way to get new people involved in your campaign.
Note: Even if your city or county already has all nine “Freedom School” policies and rules in place, there’s always more that can be done to advance the Freedom Schools initiative locally. If your research shows that all nine policies are in place in practice, but some aren’t solidified in writing, launch a targeted campaign to get a city ordinance passed with all nine rules and policies in writing. If your local education institutions have strong pro-immigrant policies in place, you can even consider asking them if they would consider forms of outreach to others (maybe a letter explaining why the rules have been helpful; maybe some form of public statement).
We’re excited to see all of the work you will accomplish in your community!