Community Resolutions Toolkit
This is the third page of a step-by-step sample process for organizing a community resolution in defense of the Bill of Rights. There are four pages in this process:
1. Draft Resolution:
Meet with your resolution sponsor to draft a resolution. The Mayor, Police Chief, and other Council members should review the draft in ongoing negotiations to create a document everyone can support.
2. Lobbying Efforts:
Make sure each Councilor is contacted by a committee member.
Send postcards, emails, and press releases asking community members to call their Councilors. Urge them to also attend the Council meeting when the resolution will be voted on and to speak in favor of the resolution in the "public comment" period. (Don't overlook high school and college students as speakers!) Make previous arrangements with potential speakers to offer the perspectives of diverse community members.
Be prepared for possible opposition from your U.S. Attorney's office. The most effective way to counter the opposition is to know your facts and to feel confident in your position. Focus on and familiarize yourself with the legislation that has the greatest impact on your community. Remember your audience when debating with the opposition. If you are likely to face them, it can be helpful to have "credible" counterweights, such as lawyers, professors, and politicians defending your position.
- Sample postcard for lobbying City Councilors; same content was also sent as an email via local listserves.
- Sample press release prior to meeting.
- Conservatives Against the USA PATRIOT Act
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Sample speech made to local governing body (PDF) Source: Acton (MA) Civil Liberties
- Tools for debating the DOJ and U.S. Attorneys
3. Demonstration of Community Support:
Gather all the completed petitions. Deliver the signed petitions at the Council meeting. It's effective if you have a significant number of signatures.
4. Public Relations:
After your council's vote, send out a press release to local and national media outlets to inform your community and other communities of your success. Name your group as a resource for those trying to pass a resolution.
Consider documenting the process of passing your resolution in a book, and giving copies to local libraries and schools as a public record.
- Final press release
- SPEAKING OUT To Protect Civil Rights and to Reduce Discrimination and Harassment in the Era of the U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT (PDF, 58 pages), the story of the Multnomah County (OR) resolution