Mobilizing Your Parish Community (Back to Immigration Toolkit)
Step 4: Act
Directing people to specific actions provides an outlet for the passion you inspired within people through education and conversation, and often actions can be paired directly with educational events. There are a wide range of actions you can suggest, from talking to family and friends to attending a group meeting with a senator, and you must decide what action is most appropriate for your community.
Two forms of action exist:
- Grassroots Advocacy
- Direct Advocacy
Both forms are needed in conjunction with each other to be most effective.
Grassroots advocacy is working to expand the number of people in the community who are passionate about an issue – it’s what you are doing as you mobilize your parish. The thought is that the more people who are passionate about an issue, the greater the pressure on decision makers.
1. What would grassroots advocacy actions look like at your parish?
- Ask for a commitment that each person will talk to five other parishioners about immigration reform.
- Ask people to host a small event at their home centered around immigration, whether it involve showing a movie, hosting a conversation, or discussing a book (see resources).
Direct advocacy is any action that is in direct commuincation with decision makers. The more involved the form of communication is, the bigger the impact it makes on the decision maker. A signature on a petition takes little time, so it takes many signatures to gain the attention of a legislator. A group meeting takes a lot of energy to put together, so it signifies that you are more invested in the issue and thus causes a legislator to take notice.
2. What would direct advocacy actions look like at your parish?
- Group meetings with your Congressmen and Senators
- Phone calls (see talking points and direct advocacy actions)
- Personalized email or letter (check MCC Catholic Advocacy Network for action alerts, and see direct advocacy actions)
- Petition or postcards (see JFI’s Parish Toolkit)