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General News    H3'ed 8/5/09

Organizing for August Town Halls

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   6 comments
Author 31673
Message Pam Miles

  1. Work with Town Hall Planners.

Before the event, work with those organizing the event and ask for ground rules to be set out at and delivered at the beginning of the town hall, possibly by a member of the Clergy. Also, encourage "Pro" and "Anti" reform microphones so each side can take turns and be respectful of each others opinions. The goal is to get the majority of people in the room to be on the side of an orderly discussion.

  1. Turnout Big Numbers of Supporters.

This recess will determine how meaningful reform is. Now is the time to turnout as many supporters who will vocally and visibly support health care reform as possible. We know the opposition will be out in full force, so we should too.

  1. Make Sure We Identify Our Supporters.

We should have at least one of our organizers at the site an hour and a half before the event. S/he should have a petition or sign-in sheet on a clipboard. The organizer should also have pro-reform buttons or stickers for people to wear and rally signs to hold. The paraphernalia will allow all of us, including the speakers, to identify who is on our side.

  1. Work with Allies.

Share information about events, work to crowd-build, and prepare for media outreach with allied organizations on the ground.

  1. Get Our People There Early.

Their tactic is to take the front rows and make it look like their numbers are bigger than they are. By getting there early and taking the best seats we can eliminate their front row presence. We should have at least 15-20 of our people in line 45 minutes to an hour before the event starts.

  1. Inform the Media about Right Wing Tactics.

Provide a memo to press regarding anti-reform tactics and the usual misinformation about reform. Suggest questions for reporters to ask of attendees. Some questions include: "Where are you from?"; "How did you find out about this event?"; "Do you support any of the President's plans?"; "What do you think should be done about skyrocketing healthcare costs?". Send your materials to ocal media in advance and have more copies than you think you need at the event. Make sure you only give your releases to members of the media. Get their business cards or contact information so you can follow up.

  1. Bring Video Cameras.

Make sure to have multiple cameras at the event. If there is a microphone where the audience can ask questions, one camera should be trained there. If people scream or interrupt, we should capture that on video. Get as much of their outrageous behavior on camera as possible.

  1. Stay on the High Road.

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Democratic Activist and Strategist, doing most activist work thru a nationwide email listserv, referred to as "Pam's List". Elected member of the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee as well as a member of my county, (Madison) Democratic (more...)
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