Democracy 76: The Bucket List for Involved Citizens

#WeThePurple Top 5 Things To Do Right Now

  • Stay Informed: Read and subscribe to daily local, regional, or national newspapers!
  • Check out Allsides.com for news from the right, the left, and the center.
  • Vote: Local, state, national elections matter! Find out when elections are happening from U.S. Vote Foundation.
  • Participate: Contact elected officials, share your views on issues you care about!
  • A letter, phone call or visits is still the best approach
  • Help Others: Identify a problem in your community and work with your neighbors to fix it.
  • Get Social: Follow, like, and repost content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and @JoinWeThePurple on Snapchat and turn your social purple with #WeThePurple!

Stay Informed

  • Read and subscribe to daily local, regional, or national newspapers! Check out Allsides.com for news from the right, the left, and the center.
  • Facts matter: Is your news source trustworthy?  Check out these non-partisan organizations: factcheck.organd University of Virginia’s Center for Politics media literacy tips.
  • Fill your pocket with democracy. Pick up a pocket sized Constitution for as little $1.
  • Get the facts on any politician or political candidate at the non-partisan Votesmart.org.
  • Talk with someone who doesn’t share your political views. The non-partisan organization  BetterAngels.org is helping people do this all across the country.
  • Attend a discussion or event in your community or school focused on an issue you care about or want to learn more about.
  • Shadow a public servant for the day and learn how our institutions work.
  • Visit a museum. Learn about local, regional, and national history, and about those who have taken civic action in the past.
  • Visit a library. Librarians can point you to important books on our American Democracy.
  • Deep dive into the Constitution. The National Constitution Center has an interactive line-by-line breakdown.

Vote

  1. Vote: Local, state, national elections matter! Find out when elections are happening from U.S. Vote Foundation.
  2. Make sure you’re registered to vote at Vote.gov or use Turbovote.org for quick and easy registration.
  3. Make a voting pact with your friends or family. Collectively commit to register and vote.  Remind each other regularly. Make a plan to go to the polls together!
  4. Volunteer to register voters. Search for your city and state, along with “voter registration drive” to find opportunities near you.
  5. If you are a boss, give your employees time off to vote. If you are an employee, ask your boss to consider this.
  6. Volunteer to work at a polling place. To find out how, go to the Election Assistance Commission’s websiteor contact your local registrar.
  7. Offer to drive elderly voters to the polls.
  8. If you own a business, offer discounts to people who provide proof of voting on election days.  If you work at a business, ask your boss to consider this.
  9. Prepare to vote by checking ahead of time what will be on the ballot, reading up on the candidates and measures, locating your polling place, and knowing what you need to bring.
  10. If you are voting by absentee ballot, pay attention to deadlines and follow all the steps in the instructions.

Participate  

  1. Communicate with your elected officials to share your views on issues you care about. A letter, phone callor visit are still the best ways to contact them.
  2. Write an op-ed or letter to an editor.
  3. Attend a city council or community board meeting. The National League of Cities can help describe their function.
  4. Advocate for civic education in schools. Not all states require it and you can join the  CivXNow campaign to push for it.
  5. Join a campaign. Volunteer for your preferred candidate.
  6. Become an ambassador supporting digital citizenship education by signing up with DigCitCommit.
  7. Join the Parent-Teacher Association at your local school.
  8. Get involved with the local school board. The National School Boards Association has good tips on how to engage.
  9. Join a political party.  Here is a list of all the political parties, what they stand for, and how to get involved.
  10. Run for office. If you don’t like the candidates you are choosing from, put on your shoes and run for office.

Help Others

  1. Identify a problem in your community and work with your neighbors to fix it.
  2. Plant a tree or garden in your community.
  3. Share the #WeThePurple (weblink) Teacher Toolkit with teachers in your community.
  4. Volunteer to serve as an officer or member of a group in your community.  Volunteer Match can help you connect to groups in your area.
  5. Visit someone else’s place of worship.
  6. Keep watch on children who play in your neighborhood.
  7. Paint a mural in a public space (with permission).
  8. Pick up trash in your or someone else’s neighborhood.
  9. Serve as a juror. If you are called for duty, remember our judicial system can’t work without citizen jurors.
  10. Collect food for those in need.
  11. Visit a nursing home or hospital.
  12. Donate blood or plasma.
  13. Take a First Aid class.  The American Red Cross can help you be prepared to help those in need.
  14. Clean up the local park.
  15. Clean up a local river or lake.
  16. Help others in an emergency.
  17. If you own a gun, participate in a gun safety course.
  18. Host or be an exchange student. Rotary Youth Exchange is a good place to begin.
  19. Shop local and support small and local businesses.
  20. Contribute financially to a cause, even $5 can help.  Charity Watch is a good place to start if you need help identifying organizations to support.
  21. Support the teachers at your local school. Ask how you can help, start by supporting classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org.
  22. Volunteer at a museum.
  23. Volunteer at a public library.
  24. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank.
  25. Volunteer at a community garden.
  26. Volunteer to coach a youth sports team.
  27. Volunteer to lead a youth group.
  28. Volunteer at a community center.
  29. Volunteer to help teachers: chaperone school trips to the local city hall, share your own experiences with engaging in your community and with your government.
  30. Do a year of service. Serviceyear.org can help you connect to thousands of opportunities to develop real-world skills while giving back to your community.
  31. Chose to work at a non-profit organization dedicated to helping others.
  32. Become a teacher.
  33. Become a firefighter.
  34. Become a police officer.
  35. Become a disaster volunteer.
  36. Join the military or national guard.

Get Social

  1. Follow and like @JoinWeThePurple across social media.
  2. Download the #WeThePurple App in the App Store (coming soon!).
  3. Share and tag a #WeThePurple article or story.
  4. Host or attend a debate watch party in your community or university.
  5. Host a Purple Conversation [link to purple website poster/5 questions] with family, friends or in your school, or community.  Use the tips on facilitating open dialogue from Living Room Conversations.
  6. Share the Purple song and tag it #WeThePurple.
  7. Host a picnic or block party in your neighborhood and (respectfully) talk to them about your views.
  8. Use your consumer power to support companies whose values you believe in.
  9. Go out and talk to people, use your hands and your time.
  10. Recruit a friend and start checking off items in the Democracy 76 Checklist together!