Since the election of President Donald Trump, the shift in the political landscape at the federal level has prompted activism to rise nationally and at home.
When groups of people get together to fight for their cause, real change can occur — at least that is the philosophy at One Wisconsin Now, a progressive issue advocacy group with a focus on promoting activism in Wisconsin.
At a Monday discussion held at the Madison Public Library, representatives from the organization talked about ways to educate people on how they can make a difference in society and the importance of being active in today’s political climate.
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Change can happen in many different ways, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now Scot Ross said. Creating change could be as simple as writing a letter to the editor for a local newspaper or making a phone call to a legislator, he added.
“A small effort of making change happen is recognizing other’s political action rather than their speech and what kind of effect is has on certain political issues,” Ross said.
Ross said individuals should keep their message “short and succinct.” Whether it’s a tweet, a sign at a political protest or a letter to the editor, the message should be short and to the point, he added.
In the current climate, this method will resonate much more effectively than a long, drawn-out message, Ross said.
Pat Kreitlow, a board member of One Wisconsin Now, also emphasized the importance of recognizing when to follow the rules.
Society is full of “rule followers,” Kreitlow said. While he said this is a generally a good quality, it can also be limiting.
Instead, to inspire and influence change, Ross said citizens should be talkative and enthusiastic not only with when talking to legislators or handling politics directly, but also in their everyday lives.
“[Conservatives] have what seems to be unlimited resources … but the thing is that we have something that is even more powerful than that,” Ross said. “That is the voices of [the community].”
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Activism should come from the right place at all times, and individuals should not let negativity affect their goals, Ross said.
Moving forward, Ross said One Wisconsin Now will continue working to reduce student loan debt, protect voter rights, defend public education and promote fair taxation at the state level.
“We’re not motivated by hate or division, we’re motivated because we want [Wisconsin] to be as good as it can possibly be,” Kreitlow said.