3 Things You Can Do About the Shutdown Right Now

Janis Richter
October 9, 2013

Don’t just get mad, take action to help urge a responsible end to the shutdown that’s affecting millions of families and children.

“The consequences are grave if we don’t open our mouths.”
- Deborah Weinstein, executive director, CHN

Now in its second week, the partial government shutdown is starting to have real impact on workers, communities and families.

You already know the government shutdown is bad, and that the prospect of a government default is terrifying. You’re not the one who needs convincing—but you do have a role to play. Your voice is needed to help get government back to work.

This week, the Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) and its allies are urging concerned adults and youth to speak up in your community and in Washington, DC. Here’s how.

1. Contact your representative.

Every voice counts. Make sure yours is tallied on the side of ending the shutdown and preventing default.  Because of the government shutdown, some offices only have voicemail. In others, the Senator or Representative or staff will answer the phone personally.

Either way, your call will be tallied and is critically important for supporting those opposed to the government shutdown and to urging a change of heart for those who are holding out for concessions before allowing the government to function.

Call toll-free:  1-888-659-9562

Suggested message:

As your constituent, I want you to act NOW to end the government shutdown and prevent the economic catastrophe of a government default, without conditions.  Please vote to restore funding for all of the services that families count on and to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. 

*CHN is grateful to AFSCME for making this toll-free number available.


2. Use Local Media

Show your community the good work you do and what you can’t be doing now because of the shutdown.  Write letters to the editor, find local radio call-in shows, leave comments on news websites and blogs, and share local stories about Head Start and other programs to show your neighbors how important government services are to local families and communities.

Because of the government shutdown, members of Congress may not be getting their mail. Many lack staff to read their emails. So they are paying even closer attention to the local media to see the impact of their votes.

Grassroots voices and stories are the way to change the hearts and minds of your neighbors and your Representatives in Washington.

Sample Letter to the Editor Message: If you can, highlight a program in your area that has been affected. You can use this message, from the National Women’s Law Center: “It is important to reject a piecemeal approach and reopen the government with no strings attached.  That will give Congress time to work out a final budget agreement that ensures that the comprehensive needs of children and families are protected.”

Use our media tools to find local media and write a powerful letter to the editor.


3. Tweet Your Support: #JustVote

The National Women’s Law Center is asking allies to tweet using #JustVote to urge Congress to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution.  Tweet your friends and don’t forget to tweet your Members of Congress who have Twitter handles. 

[insert @handle] The #shutdown is hurting children & their families . It's time to get back to work & pass a clean CR. #JustVote


Learn More & Share Your Story

How is the shutdown affecting you? Share your story by emailing it to: info@chn.org