Street Stalls and Shopping Centres

shoppingcentreaction.jpgYour MP will schedule regular public appearances in their list of things-to-do. Some of these appearances, including street stalls and shopping centre engagements, are organised so that the MP look as if they are openly canvassing the concerns and suggestions of their constituents. Take this opportunity to tell your MP, in no uncertain terms, that professional pay for early educators is long overdue.

Regularly check your MPs social media pages.

MPs and their staffers post prolifically on social media to convey that they are actively involved in their electorate. To that end, they will use social media as a platform to announce when and where they will next appear to "listen" to their constituents. Coordinate with your group to attend such an event.

At the Event

Get there early, meet up, and get organised. 

Meet outside or in the parking lot for a quick huddle before the event.

Optimise visibility. 

You want your presence as a group to be recognisable and attention-getting at this event. It may make sense to stick together as a group, wear your Big Steps t-shirts, and carry signs in order to be sure that your presence is noticeable.

Be prepared to interrupt and insist on your right to be heard.

As you may not be offered a mic at the event you attend, you have to attract attention to yourself and your message.

Coordinate with each other to make your message heard.

Record everything!

Assign someone in the group to use their smart phone or video camera to record other advocates asking questions and the MP’s response. While written transcripts are nice, unfavorable exchanges caught on video can be devastating for MPs. These clips can be shared through social media and picked up by local and national media.

Identify, and try to speak with, reporters on the scene. 

Be polite and friendly, and stick to your message. For example, “We’re here to remind our MP that some of her constituents are early educators. Many of us are paid $20 per hour, which is well below the national average. We need professional pay.”  You may want to research in advance which local reporters cover MPs or relevant stories, so that you know who to look for.

After the Event

Reach out to media, during and after the event.

If there’s media at the event, the people who asked questions should approach them afterward and offer to speak about their concerns. When the event is over, you should engage local reporters on Twitter or by email and offer to provide an in-person account of what happened, as well as the video footage you collected.

Example Twitter outreach:

.@reporter I was at (your MP’s) event in Campbelltown today. Large group asked about professional pay in early childhood education. I have video & happy to chat.

Note: It’s important to make this a public tweet by including the period before the journalist’s Twitter handle. Making this public will make the journalist more likely to respond to ensure they get the intel first.

Share everything.

Post pictures, video, your own thoughts about the event, etc., to social media afterward. Tag the MP’s office and encourage others to share widely.

Article adapted from Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License.