How To Protest This Government Shutdown That's Hurting So Many People
The grim effects of the ongoing partial government shutdown is putting a strain on Americans across the country. Civil cases in the Justice Department have been temporarily halted as federal attorneys have been furloughed, over 800,000 federal workers remain without pay, federally-funded researchers have had to pause their time-sensitive projects, and much more. If you're similarly frustrated and wondering if there's anything you can do protest this government shutdown, here's how to make yourself heard.
It's entirely unclear when the shutdown, which began on Dec. 21, 2018, will end. As President Donald Trump digs in his heels on the $5 billion demand for a border wall, and Democrats continue to resist that request, there seems to be no end in sight.
But while lawmakers quarrel with each other over border security, everyday Americans who work for the government are struggling to pay for their most basic needs, like feeding themselves, caring for their health, and making sure they can pay rent on time. And they're understandably losing their patience, too. Already in Philadelphia and Missouri, federal workers have held protests against the shutdown.
Though it's ultimately up to Congress and Trump to strike a deal, there are some things that you can do to make sure elected officials know exactly how you feel about this government shutdown.
1Take To The Streets
Government workers across the country, many of whom are working through the shutdown without getting paid, are taking to the streets.
There are several protests that have already taken place, and if you're interested in joining a rally in the capital, the American Federation of Government Employees, which is a union representing some 700,000 American government workers, has planned one in Washington, D.C., at 1:00 p.m. ET on Jan. 10. Check out the AFGE website for more details.
2Contact Your Member Of Congress
Get in touch with your representative on Capitol Hill by dialing the congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121. You can reach your representative by giving your address. Keep your message under 30 seconds and explain to them why you think it's important to reopen the government.
If your representative is a member of the Republican Party, you may have an even better shot at turning the tide: If GOP lawmakers hear that a lot of their constituents are being hurt by the shutdown, they're more likely to exercise that pressure on Trump to end the impasse. Already, two Republicans, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, are publicly imploring Trump to reopen the government.
Alternatively, you can also take to social media to send a message to your representative. C-SPAN has a list of representatives on the platform, though keep in mind that tweets are character-limited.
3Get To Talking
There's a chance that some people may not have a sure grasp the gravity of this situation, whether that's a family member or a co-worker. In such a case, it's helpful to just talk. You can explain the background of the government shutdown, where Trump stands and what lawmakers have said so far. And most importantly, explain how this shutdown is impacting people in big and small ways.
4Support Organizations For Migrants
At its core, the ongoing government shutdown is about Trump's refusal to budge on his demand for the wall. Behind that lies the group of people who have faced the consequences of the Trump administration's immigration policies: migrants themselves.
If you feel passionate about helping them, you can reach out to organizations like the nonprofit Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which helps migrants with donations, legal representation, and more.
5Help As Much As You Can
There are several communities that are particularly hurt by this shutdown, and these are groups that you can help in small ways.
Whether it's donating money to domestic violence and sexual assault shelters near you, volunteering to pick up litter in the national parks, or giving your time or money to organizations trying to help federal workers, there are many things you can do.
Until Congress passes a new funding bill, and Trump signs it, this government shutdown will drag on. In the meantime, the suggestions listed above can give you ideas of how to protest this shutdown and help those in need.