August 16, 2012
It's August, that time when members of Congress return to their districts to meet with constituents and campaign for re-election. It's also time for activists to call, meet with, and ask their member of Congress to get the "real" Violence Against Women Act -- the bipartisan, inclusive Senate version (S. 1925) -- passed.
After the Labor Day holiday, members will return to Washington, D.C., for only two weeks, and then they will recess until after the elections. So the clock is ticking. Your House member is the most important person to seek out. Here's what you can do:
ACTION 1: Find your Congress person at a town hall meeting, rally or campaigning on the street and ask:
What have you done to get a final VAWA passed that protects everyone? Explain that the bipartisan Senate bill contains provisions that extend better protections for immigrant women, Native American women, LGBT persons and women on campus. The House bill (H.R. 4970) leaves out those protections and omits many others that are important to ensuring safety and services for all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Check the NOW website and www.4vawa.org for background information.
ACTION 2: Call your Congress person's state or district office, and tell them why VAWA is so important to you and your community! Personal stories about why shelters and services are important to you, your family and friends and your community are best. But for other points to support your message, go to www.4vawa.org Also, you can write a letter to the editor or a short op-ed for your local newspaper about the importance of passing the bipartisan, inclusive Senate version of VAWA.
Our allies at The Leadership Conference can help you find your Congress member's website, so you can look up their local contact info. They also offer an online form where you can register to let them know about your meeting and they will send you more information to help you advocate for VAWA with your elected officials.
ACTION 3: Visit your members of Congress in their district office while they are home: Spend the month of August telling your Congress member to get the bipartisan, inclusive Senate version of VAWA finalized and sent to the president for his signature before the elections. Ask them in their offices, on Twitter, through a letter to the editor or on Facebook: What have you done to get the inclusive version of VAWA passed? What will you do to bring to a final vote the bipartisan "real" VAWA that protects all domestic violence/sexual assault survivors? You can tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReathorizeVAWA #RealVAWA and #VAWA.
ACTION 4: Invite your representative to come visit a local program! We all know the power of seeing what domestic violence/sexual assault survivors are going through. Members of Congress need to see it for themselves. Chances are they will want the press to know about their visit, and that's another opportunity for you to get the message out to the public about the need to pass the Senate version of VAWA reauthorization …SOON!
Here's what NOW President Terry O'Neill said recently about VAWA:
» Stop Blocking VAWA
» In Struggle Over Violence Against Women Act, War on Women Turns Deadly