Creative ideas for bringing the Occupation Project to your Congressperson's office:
Take a Walk in Their Shoes
Bring in pairs of shoes tagged with the names of Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the war. Carry signs that say "What does occupation look like?" and "Take a Walk in Their Shoes." Click here for Walk in Their Shoes info.
Visually show the local cost of war
Create posters and other visuals to show the cost of war to taxpayers, and what could have been purchased instead. Knock the cost: Every 4 seconds, knock on the door or table and announce that another $3,000 has been spent on the war in Iraq. Notify staffers of the cost ("Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you, I just wanted to tell you that another $3,000 has been spent on the war and destruction of Iraq." or "Another US soldier has been attacked in Iraq.") Add your own local financial and human cost of war stats per interval of time. The repetition of this info is sure to reach into the hearts of those witnessing it.
Click here to get local cost of war data and resources.
Reading of the Names
Read the names of the US servicemen and women from your state and Iraqi civilians who have been killed in the war in Iraq. Intersperse the names to emphasize that the killing of all people involved in the conflict is wrong. You may want to ring a bell, beat a drum, or collectively sing, "We remember you" after each name. Additionally, you could have a large pink sheet and mark a tally mark or an "x" after each name to visually represent the loss of life.
Click here to get a list of killed US soldiers from your state. Copy the names into an excel sheet and print out to bring with you.
Click here to get a list of Iraqi civilians killed.
Set up mock checkpoints and ask passersby to answer questions about the facts of the war to pass. Make fake barbed wire.
Rebuild the Office
You know what's best for your Representative and her staff. Bring in new curtains, photos, and decorations to redo the office. Insist that even though this is not what the staff wants, it's in their best interest, and you're in charge. You can even rebuild the landscape outside the office.
Rename the street, a creative idea from the South Bay Occupation Project: "We're going to hold a ceremony to rename the section of street in front of our rep's office 'Harms Way' because by continuing to fund the war, she is leaving the troops and Iraqi people 'in harm's way.' We also hope to counteract the excuse put out by Nancy Pelosi that they must continue to vote for funding because to do otherwise 'would leave the troops in harm's way.'"
Real Faces of War
Bring enlarged photos of what war looks like. Ask kids to draw pictures of what war looks like, and what peace looks like, and set up an exhibit of children's art in the office.
School Your Reps
Turn the office into a classroom and educate legislative aides on why
we need to get out of Iraq and defund the war. Bring in charts
illustrating the increasing cost of war, the amount of money going to
defense versus healthcare, education, and other social services, and
photos of what war looks like. Teach the mathematics and economics of
war. Review the history of what's happened in the occupation. End
with Civics 101 and explain that they work for you, the constituents,
and must listen to your demands. Pass out worksheets, flyers, and give
them homework to learn the facts and change their boss's mind. You'd
be surprised how many aides have not heard the tragic other side of the
Meet for a picnic/brown bag lunch in your Congressperson's office. Do a teach-in. Talk over lunch about why it's time to defund the war. Show a film, like The Ground Truth, on your laptop at the lunch.
Report Live from the Office
Schedule radio interviews during your occupation and report live from the office. Interview staffers and Occupation Project activists. See if you can get a weekly slot on your local progressive shows. If you can get wireless, blog live from the office.
Take Your Vigil Inside
Is there a weekly vigil in your city? Invite vigilers to bring their vigil inside for a week and vigil in the office of your rep. Or ask if they'll do a solidarity vigil outside the office while you're inside occupying.
War is THE Issue
What issues does your rep champion? The environment, healthcare, education? Relate the cost of war to the issues that are important to your Congressperson. Seek to partner with organizations in your community who work on these issues to build a broader coalition for your Occupation Project.
Sit-in... and refuse to leave.
Have more ideas for the Occupation Project? Email your ideas to email@example.com