Search form

DONATE

Local Indivisible groups build and wield power in ways that individuals can’t. To create change, you need the collective constituent power that comes with working together, as Indivisibles.

Indivisibles organize -- which means building power and flexing at key moments. Indivisible Groups take action in their communities, build collective purpose, and create change.

We make calls. We show up. We organize. And we’ve built lasting collective power across the country, in our home towns. We’re Indivisible.

We’re a grassroots movement of thousands of local Indivisible groups with a mission to elect progressive leaders, rebuild our democracy, and defeat the Trump agenda.

The People Lead Event Toolkit

Overview

We did it! On January 20, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, ending Trump’s disastrous four years in office. We worked hard for this. We called, we texted, we protested, we held town halls, we birddogged, we organized. But we know that even with Trump on his way out of the White House (ridiculous lawsuits notwithstanding), our work isn’t over. 

This was a huge victory. Despite aggressive attempts by Trump and many Republicans to disenfranchise voters, there was record high turnout that led to five states flipping blue. We didn’t win every race we wanted, but it’s clear Indivivisibles made an enormous impact in this election, and we have a mandate to push for progressive policy solutions.

And yet, we know it’s not enough to defeat Trump. For the first time in our history, we need to build a truly inclusive democracy and enact transformative policy solutions on our pressing issues so we can build the progressive future we all want. Indivisibles played a key role in holding the House and defeating Trump, and we aren’t going anywhere. We are still here to hold Members of Congress (MoCs) accountable. We have the mandate and the time to influence their policy priorities is now.

We’ll need to be nimble and adaptable. The Georgia runoff elections will determine control of the Senate. If we have unified control in 2021, we need to make sure Democrats are using their power to move quickly through their legislative agenda and securing big structural changes that will put power back in the hands of the people. If we’re in a split Congress, it’ll be just as important as ever to make sure Democrats are pursuing a bold policy agenda instead of cutting bad deals with Republicans. How they show up in 2021 will help determine whether we have a real chance at unified control in 2022. And either way, it’s crucial we pressure Republican MoCs so they feel the heat and limit their attempts to stall or weaken legislation.

That’s why we’re organizing nationwide events on January 13, and amplifying our message online and through the press. The People Lead on what’s next.

We named this day of action The People Lead because the people delivered a huge victory and defeated Trump. We kept the House, and we may win the Senate. We’ve earned a mandate to demand transformative change. Join us on January 13!

Why it’s important to show up

For four years, you continued to show up. You resisted the Trump agenda. You helped save the ACA, pushed to defund ICE and CPB, mobilized to stop a potential war with Iran, among many other actions. We have proven that when we work together and show up in a big way, we can move Congress in the right direction. We have the power to lead. 

For those in this movement for a while, you might remember that this isn’t the first time we’ve mobilized in January with a new Congress. In 2019 after we flipped the House blue, we held Whose House Our House rallies across the country. We showed up in early January right after New Years, sometimes in the snow. Those events helped us set the legislative agenda and make sure Democrats knew we wanted them to act boldly, and that Republicans knew we would hold them accountable. This time, we have the House and the White House, and maybe even the Senate. We can do even more.

Policy Goals

We’re in a tricky place to plan because we don’t know yet if we’ll have control of the Senate in 2021. That means we have to be prepared for both outcomes, and what we can realistically achieve is different in each. Make no mistake, we’re not stopping until we’ve definitely secured a free and fair democracy but the path to get there will look different depending on what happens in the Georgia Senate runoff elections. Here are our overall policy priorities for democracy reform:

  • Pass the For the People Act (HR 1), a democracy reform package that would quickly and effectively strengthen our democracy and empower voters
    • Requires members of Congress, Vice Presidents and Presidents to divest their assets and disclose conflicts of interest, and Presidents and VPs to disclose their tax returns
    • Institutes strict revolving door requirements to keep corporate lobbyists from moving back and forth into government
    • Fight racial and partisan gerrymandering at all levels of government
    • Institutes public funding for elections to reduce the power of corporate money in government
  • Grant statehood for DC, a key democracy and racial justice issue. DC would be the first majority BIPOC state and would give residents representation in Congress. We want statehood for DC and self-determination for Puerto Rico and other US territories.
  • Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act (HR 4), named for the civil rights icon and vital to ending voter suppression
    • Restores the Voting Rights Act and overturning voter ID laws and other suppressive laws that target communities of color
  • Reform the Courts, so we can set the course for a less hyper-partisan process for selecting and appointing judges, undoing the damage to these institutions caused by Trump and McConnel.

If Democrats don’t take back control of the Senate, President Biden would have the authority to implement some smaller but important democracy reforms via executive action. He can do more through executive orders on other issues. To make that happen, we’ll need the House to pass strong bills that will support or push Biden to use his executive authority on solutions. In short, here’s our game plan if we don’t win the Senate:

  • Undo harm caused under Trump. Democrats must move quickly to undo the damage caused by Trump.
  • Deliver wins for voters through the House and excite the base. We need to pass bold administrative policies and use must-pass legislative vehicles (meaning bills that must be passed by Congress like funding bills) to deliver wins to voters. 
  • Setting us up for a win in 2022. Democrats must focus on passing popular legislation that voters want and use them to highlight Republican obstruction.

Targets

It’s important to send a movement-wide signal to Members of Congress (MoCs). That means every single MoC, regardless of their party, is a target. That being said, there are some MoCs that we want to make sure to put some extra pressure on. They are:

If we win the Senate:

  • Speaker Pelosi, CA
    Decision maker in the House
  • Senator Schumer, NY
    Likely to become Majority Leader
    Decision maker in the Senate
  • Senator Peters, MI
    Current ranking member of Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee which has jurisdiction over the D.C. statehood bill
    Could become the chair of committee next Congress in a Dem trifecta scenario
  • Senator Stabenow, MI
    Member of Democratic leadership, current ranking member of Senate Finance Committee which has jurisdiction over democracy reform legislation; potential to be chair of committee next Congress in a Dem trifecta scenario
  • Senator Manchin, WV
    Swing vote on policy, strategy, and process. He could make or break our efforts to pass democracy reforms.
  • Senator Sinema, AZ
    Currently does not support DC statehood and could prevent us from passing it even if we control the Senate
  • Representative Sarbanes, MD
    Lead sponsor for H.R. 1
  • Representative Nadler, NY
    Chair of the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over democracy legislation
  • Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC
    Lead sponsor for H.R. 51 which grants DC statehood bill

Split Congress:

  • Senator Schumer, NY
    Minority Leader, Democratic decision maker in the Senate
  • Speaker Pelosi, CA 
    Speaker of the House, decision maker in the House
  • Problem Solvers Caucus members
    Convervative Democrats who will try to block transformative change in the House
  • Representative Jayapal
    Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • Progressive Voting Bloc potential members: these MoCs will be our biggest champions and need to feel supported next year:
    • Representative Ocasio-Cortez, NY
    • Representative Pressley, MA 
    • Representative Tlaib, MI
    • Representative Omar, MN
    • Representative Garcia, IL
    • Representative Cori Bush, MO
    • Representative Bowman, NY
    • Representative Mondaire Jones, NY

If your MoC isn’t on the above list, you should absolutely still pressure them. Some will be very supportive of this campaign, and others we will need to really push. Do a little research on your MoC to figure out where they likely stand on democracy reform issues. Have they made any statements? Have they been receptive to progressive ideas or other campaigns you’ve run? One way to break it down is whether they are supportive, unreliable, or problematic and then determining your strategy for them. This will help you get specific on your tactics and messaging.

Supportive MoCs

These MoCs are publicly supportive of democracy reform and other key progressive issues, almost all will be Democrats. For these MoCs, we need to provide positive reinforcement that will inoculate them to bad ideas and messages from conservative Democrats like the so-called Problem Solvers caucus. We need them to stand firm and not accept bad deals with Republicans. This campaign will demonstrate that we will show up for them when they show up for us.

Unreliable MoCs

These MoCs may have indicated some support for our issues, but haven’t made a commitment, or they’ve implied that the ideas are “radical.” They probably have a track record of cutting bad deals or voting with Republicans on bad legislation. The strategy for these MoC’s is to remind them that we will support them if they listen to their constituents, and their constituents demand democracy reform and big solutions to our pressing issues. This provides political cover for them.

Problematic MoCs

These MoCs include most Republicans and a few conservative Democrats, like the Problem Solvers. The Democrats in this category often voted with Trump and the Republicans or cut bad deals. We likely won’t be able to persuade many of these MoCs, but we can publicly show that many of their constituents support these issues which will make it harder for them to dissuade others or stall the process. We can still make them very nervous.

Remember, be flexible!

It’s true with any political campaign and it’s especially true now, we need to be ready to adapt and adjust our plans. The Georgia Senate runoff elections that will determine control of the Senate will be held on January 5, but it may take several more days to count all the ballots. These results and other unforeseen events may mean we have to shift our thinking and our plans. Talk with your team about the potential scenarios and how you want to communicate with each other if you need to adapt your plans. We’ll keep you in the loop on political and electoral updates and you can always reach out to your organizer or to supportteam@indivisible.org.

Planning your event

Decide what kind of event you’ll host. Before you do anything, you’ll want to decide what kind of event you are hosting. While we believe that in-person actions will be the most impactful, due to the pandemic there is the consideration of your and your participants safety. We also know that in-person events may not be possible due to COVID in some places and aren’t accessible to everyone. If you do decide on doing an in-person event, we strongly encourage you to limit the number of participants to no more than 3-5 people. Even one person showing up can make an impact.

With all that said, the most effective action you can take is to visit your Member of Congress’ (MoC's) office. Showing up in that space lets them know that you’re a committed constituent to whom they are accountable. We recommend doing this at your Senator’s office if we win in GA (if your House Rep isn’t Sarbanes, Nadler, or Norton), and your Representative’s office if we don’t win. That’s because if we have unified control, our strategy will focus mostly on the Senate. If we have a split Congress, our strategy will focus mostly on the House (see the Policy Goals section for more context). 
If your MoC doesn’t have an office in your area, you can send the same message by having your event in a high-traffic area; have people line up with signs on the sidewalk (six feet apart of course). This will give you the opportunity to effectively amplify your message and attract media attention through holding eye-catching signs and making yourselves as visible as possible. 

If you decide to not do an in-person event, there are a lot of ways to take action virtually. We will have the biggest impact if we are coordinated across a single day of action making a collective demonstration of our people power, so plan your virtual events and actions on January 13. We will have more resources to come with ideas and resources for these virtual actions. In the meantime, we thought we’d give you a peek at what kind of events to think about. Actions such as hosting a Zoom meeting with your MoC, creating a community room in which everyone is calling the MoCs office, and hosting a Zoom gathering where participants write Op-Eds or Letters to the Editor together are great examples of things that are effective and fun. We’re living in a virtual world - let’s get creative! 

Set a location and time.

Start by figuring out when you’re going to have your event. It may be helpful to check in with your team to see what’s most convenient before finalizing a time. Since these are small events that you’re not trying to recruit large numbers for, you can be more flexible about the timing. In terms of location, we’re recommending district offices if you have one (if your MoC doesn’t have one yet since they’re newly elected, you can select another meaningful public location). Some district offices will be closed with staff working remotely, but you might be able to drop something off in or outside the building, making it clear you were there. And it makes a great visual.

Make a COVID plan.

There are a few health and safety precautions that we expect every event to follow (outlined below), but we also encourage you to think about if there are additional items you want to add to your events. Based on the location, consider how many people you want to have present at one time. We recommend no more than 3-5 people—but even just one person can make an impact! 

  • Wear a mask! And make it a requirement that all attendees wear masks! Have extra masks you can give to participants who may forget to bring one.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart—really, keep a safe distance from one another. 
  • Follow any local guidance/regulations, including any limits on the number of people per gathering. Even if you don’t have local limits on people per gathering, keep your events as small as possible. 
  • Keep in mind that folks have different circumstances and risk factors, so make sure there are different ways for group members to participate. 
  • Ask participants not to join in person if they feel sick or have any concerns about recent exposure to COVID. Consider creating a questionnaire during the sign-up process that asks participants to confirm the following screening questions:
    • I am not showing any COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. fever, dry cough, sore throat, fatigue)
    • I have not had contact with others with a confirmed positive test of COVID-19 in the last 14 days 
    • I have not traveled to restricted countries or states in the last 14 days 
    • I will wear a mask for the duration of the event

Set your agenda and invite speakers.

Given the size of these events, it’s important to consider your agenda and if you want to have any speakers from the early stages so that you can keep an eye on who/the number of people you recruit to join. These events should be short, so limit the length and number of speakers.

REGISTER YOUR EVENT ON THE INDIVISIBLE MAP.

Make sure to register your event on the map here, using The People Lead for the “Event Issue Focus.” Registering your event helps by making it easier to tell a national story about the grassroots activism for this issue. For example, we can tell the media we have X number of events happening for this day of action, increasing the chances we’ll get national and local coverage. It also helps new Indivisibles find your group! If you need to, you can check the “Make Event Private” box which means the event won’t show up on our event page.

Start recruiting.

This is going to be a very unique type of recruiting. Since you’re only looking to have a handful of folks join, you can determine the best way to assemble that group. Do you want to take volunteers who are lower-risk and feel comfortable going out in person? Do you want to start with a steering committee? Just remember, everyone should be allowed to determine their own risk level and what role they can take on. 

Delegate and determine roles.

Any event is a great opportunity to develop leadership within your group and empower folks to take on new responsibilities. Even though you’ll have a small group in person, you can still involve folks who won’t be joining the day of—like helping with props, planning or media outreach. 
Invite reporters. Invite reporters who have covered your MoC. Read recent stories about the race, looking for the “bylines” of people who’ve written them. Check in with any guest speakers to make them aware media are invited, and see if they can offer any help bringing them. If reporters are able to make it, mention at the beginning of the event they are there, so participants are aware. If they can’t make it, send them the press release afterwards. Make sure to send out an advisory, see a sample here.

Make a social media plan.

The press isn’t the only way you can amplify your message. If you’re showing up to an office, you can use Facebook or Instagram live to broadcast your event online, which can inspire others to call, email or tweet their MoC. The campaign doesn’t end after the event so whatever your action is, make sure to take lots of pictures and videos to post afterward! We’ll have a social media resource coming soon!

Create a visual component.

We’re still organizing in a different world that we’re used to during this pandemic. Since we can’t have big rallies, a potent tool is using creative, unique visuals to catch the attention of the press, constituents, and your MoC.

What is the message you want to convey if a picture is captured and there is no description? This is an opportunity to get creative! If you have supportive MoCs what is the message you want to make sure you deliver to them? If you have MoC’s that are unreliable or problematic, how do you deliver the message to them? We’ll have brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas together but here are a few to get your started:

  • Deliver a big print out of a letter signed by your members demanding action on democracy reform
  • If you have a supportive MoC, you could deliver balloons or flowers welcoming them back, and reminding them that you’ll be in touch….
  • Drop off items representing how many calls you made to get your MoC re-elected

Sample event agenda

  • Meet at X location at X time
  • Make sure everyone is wearing masks if not pass out masks to the participants that forgot
  • Drop off your visual component in our outside of the office
  • Deliver remarks to the press or via Facebook/Instagram live
  • Take pictures and videos and head home to post them

Talking Points 

  • We are holding this event because we we want our MoC to know: we need bold, transformative change to reform our democracy and other pressing issues
  • We resisted the Trump agenda for four years, flipped the House, and defeated Trump. It’s time for Congress to work for us.
  • For Democrats: We expect our MoC to stand firm in what will help their constituents. If they fight for us—and don’t make bad deals with Mitch McConnel—we will have their back.
  • For Republicans: We need them to stop obstructing progress. We will hold them accountable.

Talking Points if we win the Senate and have a Democratic trifecta:

  • Our priority is to save our democracy. Our country is facing a number of crises related to the pandemic and so we need Congress to take immediate action to pass a recovery package that puts families first and that meets the challenges we face.
  • We demand our MoCs take quick and bold action to fix our democracy. 
  • We got here because our democracy is rigged against the people in favor of the Republicans, the wealthy, and corporations. 
  • Specifically: the first non-pandemic legislation Democrats pass must be reforms to our democracy. We’re mobilizing to send our MoCs a clear message that we demand they move quickly to pass bold and transformative democracy reforms. Indivisibles spent four years resisting the Trump agenda and doing everything possible to put Democrats in a position to govern. Now we want them to use it to deliver big wins for us, starting with democracy reform. 
  • We want H.R. 1, DC statehood, and court reform. To save our democracy, we must pass H.R. 1, The For the People Act, statehood for DC, and rebalance our courts. That’s what we mean by democracy reforms.
  • We know the Biden agenda goes through Congress. We will also hold President Biden accountable if he fails to live up to his promises, but Joe Biden needs Congress in order to move his legislative agenda. That’s why we’re focusing on MoCs to make sure they’re fighting for big progressive change at every turn. 

Talking Points if we don’t win the Senate and a split Congress:

  • We need transformative change. Our country is facing a number of crises related to the pandemic and so we need Congress to take immediate action to pass a recovery package that puts families first and that meets the challenges we face. However, our problems are much larger than the pandemic. We need democracy reform, we need to deal with climate, we need immigration reform. We want Democrats to use the White House and the House to make progress on bold, transformative change. 
  • We demand Congress takes quick and bold action that reflects our values. Indivisibles spent four years resisting the Trump agenda and doing everything possible to remove him from office. Now we want Democrats to use their majority in the House and the power of the White House to deliver big wins for the American people.
  • We understand that with a split Congress, McConnell will block everything in the Senate. That’s why we’re saying to Democrats: “make it good in the House, get it done with executive action.” That means pass bold progressive legislation in the House and use the powers of the White House to deliver policy wins.
  • We don’t want our MoC to agree to bad deals with McConnell. Mitch McConnell will do to Biden what he did to Obama: obstruct and try to get him to make bad deals. We’re demanding that Democrats resist those bad deals and instead demonstrate to voters what they stand for.
  • We will hold every member of Congress accountable. We want every MoC, regardless of party or chamber, to know that we’re watching and expect them to deliver wins for the American people. We’ll hold Republicans accountable for their obstruction, and Democrats if they sacrifice their values. 
  • We’re ready for 2022. While we pressure MoCs, we’re already preparing to win in 2022. Our plan is to take back the Senate in 2022 and put us into a governing scenario in 2023. To get us there, we need Democrats to act boldly, resist bad deals with Republicans, and deliver wins through executive actions. 

After your Event 

Send a thank you email. It’s a good practice to send a quick follow up email a day or so after your event to reiterate your appreciation for joining, share any resources that came up during the event, and remind folks about your call(s) to action. 

Thank speakers and volunteers. Send a specialized follow up and thank you to your event volunteers and to any special speakers you had at the event. This can be a handwritten note, phone call, or email depending on what makes sense in the circumstances. 

Hold a debrief. Regardless of the size of a project or event, debriefing is an important habit to get into. This can be with the main event planners or with a larger portion of your group. Spend time digging into what went really well and what can go better next time—then make sure you have a way to capture all these great learnings for future events. 

Follow up individually with attendees. After you do outreach to all your attendees, make a plan to follow up with folks individually—especially those who haven’t been to events with your group before. Recruit others in your group to help call through the attendees to thank them for joining, build a relationship, and see how they want to get involved in your group. 

Send reporters a press release, photos/screenshots, and stories. Even if no reporters make it, which happens, you can package up some highlights for them afterwards in case they can use them in their coverage of the race later. Write a press release. Get quotes from any guest speakers. Send screenshots. One long email with a bunch of attachments is OK.

Post your pictures and videos! Keep amplifying your message by posting pictures and videos of your event online with the hashtag #ThePeople Lead