Community Watchdog

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What is a community watchdog?

A community watchdog:

  • Pays attention to what’s going on in the community;
  • Gets involved in the political process;
  • Has the skills and know-how to organize others and get decision makers’ attention.

The four key aspects of being a community watchdog and launching an effective campaign.

  1. gathering information
  2. organizing allies
  3. lobbying policymakers
  4. communicating to the press

Whether it’s stopping a law that would allow a corporation to build condos in your favorite park, taking a stand against police brutality, or fighting for cleaner air or fair wages in your community, you can make a difference.
Sign up to become a community watchdog today!

What does a community watchdog do?

  • Spread the word.
    Share ACLU of Texas events and take action online through your Twitter, Facebook, blog and Pinterest accounts. Follow us and start sharing!
  • Attend and recruit.
    Come out to ACLU of Texas events and grassroots lobbying actions. Table at local community events and festivals and help us recruit new supporters!
  • Speak out.
    Sign up to write letters to the editor, participate in write-in and call-in efforts, and visits with your representatives.
  • Host an event.
    Plan public education events and grassroots lobbying in your community.
  • Organize.
    Take a leadership role in recruiting local activists, facilitating local meetings, planning events, and coordinating grassroots activism in your community.

Why become a community watchdog?

The ACLU of Texas is committed to protecting civil liberties for all people. Our main strategies include working through the legislative process, through the court system, and through public education and advocacy to protect the civil liberties of all Texans.

We cannot do it alone, however. We need people like you to look out for rights abuses and stand up for your community. We need people who are willing to advocate on their own. Decision makers are much more likely to respond to their constituents’ concerns.

Once you get started, you may find there are many others in your community that share your values. You may find unexpected allies to work with to prevent bad policies or to make positive change. Making change starts with you. Democracy demands participation from all of us.

Win-Win Solutions

In the words of Public Citizen’s Smitty Smith, “How do you accomplish great social change?
Figure out a way to make your enemy a hero when they go back home to their people.”

Coming up with a win-win situation is essential to making change happen. The best scenario in politics is when justice is served, and everyone comes out looking good.

Here’s an example. When Debbie Russell was concerned about police violence in her town, here’s one thing she found useful: looking across Texas for police departments that are doing a good job of reducing racial profiling or minimizing violence.

Then she set about finding out as much information as she could about the policies and practices that were being used, and whether they could work in Austin. Showing decision makers that someone else is already taking the lead on an issue, and their solution is working, has a way of motivating them to follow suit.

“That’s where people respond,” Debbie says. “I don’t want to just sit here and complain and just bring up the problems. I want to be able to offer solutions. I think that’s where people get motivated to actually get involved.”