I'm Chris Orris, currently an underemployed public relations professional working as a cashier at a liquor store. Though I work, I use my off-time to work with the Suburban Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
On Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by a woman named Cheryl Procter-Rogers, a renowned PR pro who has been very successful in advocacy and is more than partially responsible for funding being restored to the MAP grant in 2009. If you aren't already aware, the MAP grant was and is a major source of funding for underprivileged students attending college. About 20% of DePaul university students, where Cheryl was employed, depended on the grant to stay in school.
During Cheryl's presentation, I got an idea. She mentioned how part of what the school did to change the minds of legislatures was to actively get students to write letters to the politicians, telling them of their situation and why it was in the state's best interest to reinstate the grants.
Of course, writing letters to politicians is kind of a no-brainer. Of course that should be done! But what struck me as being really awesome is how she set specific goals and how lots of letters were written in a short amount of time. I forget the exact numbers, but she found out about how many letters the legislatures got on a given day and got students to send in (I think) ten times that number (or something of around that order of magnitude).
So that made me think of the Occupy movement. I'm sure with the increased awareness the movement has caused, politicians have seen a bit of an increase in the letters they're receiving over the past few months. But that's not very overwhelming; not visually, not mentally. What is needed is for the people in charge to be blasted with these letters and emails all at once, from everywhere.
What if Occupy Chicago, and hopefully Occupy movements elsewhere, organized a specific day when everyone associated with the movement got out and wrote a letter to a designated politician? We could pick a day, say, hypothetically, December 24, and promote the hell out of it. We would make sure that if you only spent one day with Occupy Chicago (or hopefully wherever) it would be THAT DAY. In the meantime, we would stockpile stationery and postage materials and come up with key points to be addressed in the letters.
With word-of-mouth, social media and media relations, you could hopefully get letters to the big names from not only all the Occupiers, but everyone who supports the movement in some way. On that day, the designated politicians would be completely overwhelmed with letters asking them to limit corporate campaign contributions, get rid of tax breaks for the rich, and pay better attention to the 99 percent. With so many emails, the government would virtually be shut down and forced to pay attention.
I think it could be pretty special. What do you think? Please let me know if you want to discuss this further. If you think this could work out, I would also put forth as much effort as possible to make it happen.
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