With the start of Washington state’s 2023 legislative session coming up in January, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of ways to advocate for a cause you care about. In honor of CAIR-WA’s twentieth anniversary as a chapter, we came up with twenty ways that you can make a difference. During the legislative session, keep an eye out for action alerts, our legislative agenda, and information about Muslim Day at the Capitol 2023 (MDAC). The best way to keep up with CAIR-WA is to sign up for our newsletter.

  1. Sign up for email and/or text alerts from advocacy organizations that you trust. The link to sign up for alerts from CAIR-WA is here.
  2. Follow advocacy organizations on social media! A great way to find organizations is to go to the page of an organization that you know and trust (such as CAIR-WA), and see that organization is re-posting, tagging in their posts, or otherwise working with.
  3. Identify the causes that mean the most to you and focus on those. With so much going on in our world, and so many areas of need, it is normal to feel overwhelmed by advocacy efforts. By identifying the causes or issue areas that matter to you, you can focus in on those and know that you are making a difference in those areas. At CAIR-WA, we advocate on issues that make a difference in the lives of Washington’s Muslims and Muslim communities, ranging from police accountability to immigrant justice to data privacy.
  4. Talk to your friends, family, and loved ones about the issues that matter to you. The most effective way to make a difference is through personal connection and conversation. If you fill out an action alert on a topic that is important to you, ask a friend if they will join you. If you just learned about a troubling law, pass on your new knowledge by telling someone else about it.
  5. Fill out action alerts for causes that you care about. What is an action alert? Typically, an action alert will be an online form that enables you to easily send an email message to your legislators. These messages often are asking your elected representatives to support or oppose a specific bill. Tips for maximizing your impact: Read through the information about the topic; if you have been personally impacted, consider telling your story in your message; add a personal line or two to the form email; or make a phone call in addition to the email.
  6. Re-post and re-share timely action alerts. Our democracy depends on citizens engaging as much as we can, and telling our elected officials how to best represent us. When you come across ways to make your voice heard, share those with your networks, and when you re-share, explain why you took action.
  7. Learn about the legislative (law-making) process. It can be helpful to understand how change happens on a legislative level when you’re working towards a more just world. Seek out opportunities (like CAIR-WA’s annual Muslim Day at the Capitol) to learn how the state legislature works, and where your voice fits in to the process.
  8. Learn who represents you! Many of us don’t know what district we live in, who our city, county, district, and/or state representatives and elected officials are. Find your district here.
  9. Talk to your lawmakers. It seems like every time CAIR-WA does an event with an elected official, when we ask how folks can get involved, they tell us that they want you to call, to reach out, to get in touch. You can find information about your state representatives and state senators at leg.wa.gov. You can also join CAIR-WA at our annual Muslim Day at the Capitol (MDAC), where we will schedule a meeting between you and your representative(s).
  10. Donate. If you are able, giving $5, $50, $500, or any amount of money to an organization that advocates for a cause that matters to you will make a difference. Many advocacy organizations (like CAIR-WA!) depend on supporters to do their essential work.
  11. Vote, if you are eligible. When elections come around, if you are eligible, make sure that you vote. Primary elections are typically in August, and general elections in November. Occasionally a special election will fall in another time of the year. This is the most fundamental way to make your voice heard in our democracy. If you are not eligible to vote, encourage those who are, and make your voice heard in the myriad other ways available to you.
  12. Volunteer. Look for volunteer opportunities at organizations that you trust, and keep in mind that many organizations only use volunteers for specific events or actions.
  13. Read and research. When there’s a cause that you care about, an excellent way to become a better advocate is to learn more about the history of the issue, how it impacts different communities, and what research has been done on that issue. Before you look, make sure you know how to spot misinformation and disinformation. Here are two articles on spotting and stopping disinformation.
  14. Use your unique talents. What are you good at? What are you great at? Whether its speaking another language, writing social media posts, assessing accessibility needs, meeting new people, coding, or something else, what you’re good at can help advocate for a cause. If you love to cook, maybe you can host a meal for a good cause. If you speak and write Dari, maybe you can help an organization like CAIR-WA translate materials. Be creative!
  15. Support/Boycott. When possible, before you shop, check what companies have values that you support, or what companies have values that you don’t support. When you can, make consumer choices that align with your values. For example, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is a Palestinian-led international movement for freedom, justice and equality, with a targeted boycott list here.
  16. Show up. If you are able to, show up at events and protests that are relevant to the issues that you care about.
  17. Listen, and speak up. In your everyday conversations, if hot topics or issues that you care deeply about come up, it’s important to both listen and to speak up. Listen to the viewpoints of those around you to gain understanding. Active listening helps people feel seen, heard, and valued, leaving them more open to hearing new ideas or perspective shifts. Speak up about what you care about. If there is a point of disagreement, review these guidelines for respectfully disagreeing in conversation.
  18. Connect with community. Are there groups you can join, friends you can enlist in the cause, or other community spaces where you can be in solidarity?
  19. Engage in faithful activism (da’wah). Da’wah is a crucial part of our faith and can be as simple as being mindful of your etiquette (akhlaq) while interacting with others in a familial, friendly, or professional setting. At the heart of this act is sincerity and wishing well for others. On a larger scale, this can look like having constructive conversations about Islam to shed light on common practices and beliefs, or participating in local groups such as Uplift Da’wah and Why Islam; which attend markets and festivals to answer questions and clarify misconceptions to the public.
  20. Be kind to yourself. As you grow your advocacy and activism, you may find yourself feeling like you’re not doing enough. In these moments, remind yourself that you are doing great! Small steps are steps, and these are large issues that can’t be solved overnight or by one person. The reason that advocacy and activism is a group effort is that we need diverse coalitions of people from many backgrounds and of many skillsets to make lasting change.

Support CAIR Washington

Help us reach our 2022 end of year goal, celebrating our first 20 years and preparing for the next 20 years! We are 1/3 of the way there.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Thank you to our CAIR-WA 2022 “Twenty Years Strong” banquet sponsors: Stay Artistic, WA Immigrant Solidarity Network, Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane, Faith Action Network, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Frank Freed Subit & Thomas LLP, Somali Health Board, International Rescue Committee, Helping Hand Relief and Development, Amana Mutual Funds, ACLU WA, UFCW 3000, and Wahed.