Illinois Pulse – Resources
This is a resource page for people who want to get involved in fighting the hatred that was behind the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. This will be updated with resources, places to volunteer and places to donate. We’ll also be offering information and news on our newsfeed. If you have information that can be share about organizations, please send it in to [email protected].
These organizations are involved with civil rights, volunteering and activism in Illinois and the Chicago area. All need support and volunteers.
Chicago House and Social Service Agency, TransLife http://www.chicagohouse.org/
Project Fierce http://projectfiercechicago.org/
Trikone Chicago http://www.trikonechicago.org/ (South Asian LGBTQ community organization)
Chances Dances, queer community and collective in Chicago. Chances Dances produces parties, a dance music podcast, and a scholarship for queer artists. http://www.chancesdances.org/
Lambda Legal-Chicago http://www.lambdalegal.org/states-regions/illinois (Legal resources for LGBT civil rights)
Equality Illinois http://www.equalityillinois.us/ (Statewide civil rights lobbyists)
RAD Remedy https://www.radremedy.org/ (Medical and mental health resources for transgender individuals)
#PulseOrlandoSyllabus https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f8-gISMgvKq8XokbmcEp9H3f8jEAfcbQcjhxShhDLeM/edit#heading=h.eh0sg0dy67ru (Open source document with books, articles and organizations)
Reaching out to political representatives
You can find out who your representatives in the U.S. House and Senate are at GovTrack.us. You’ll also be able to see how they voted and what bills they’ve sponsored.
Here’s how to write your letters (email or snail mail) courtesy of Community Toolbox.
So how do you write letters to public officials, anyhow? We have a number of guidelines that should help you not only write the letter, but increase the chances that it will be actually read and taken seriously.
DECIDE ON THE RECIPIENT.
Get the name, title, and address of the official who will make the decision about your issue. Watch to make sure that all names are spelled correctly and that you have the proper address. An incorrect name counts against you. An incorrect address may mean your letter might not arrive at all.
If you’re concerned with politics or issues at all, you should make it your business to know the names and contact information (address, office phone, and e-mail) of all those who represent you, from the most local to the federal government. In the U.S., at least, you can get to know your representatives at any level of government if you make the effort. If you’re an activist, you may meet with them, or at least speak to them or their aides fairly regularly. If that’s the case, letters from you will be taken seriously.
OPEN THE LETTER IN AN OFFICIAL MANNER.
If you are writing to an elected official, show respect for the position by using the title of the office, and the official’s full name. In any other letter, use the familiar term “Dear,” the title Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, or Dr., and the official’s full name.
January 5, 2008
Title [Name of Representative or Senator]
House of Representatives [OR] U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20515
EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE FOR YOUR LETTER.
Let your reader know immediately what your letter is about. Tell him/her why you are concerned or pleased that a particular decision is being considered.
Example: The proposed increase in the gasoline tax will make the cost of transportation unreasonably high for commuters in the metropolitan area.
SUMMARIZE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ISSUE/DECISION BEING CONSIDERED.
State the general impact that you expect to occur if a particular decision is made.
Example: The creation of a peer-counseling program at our high school will help reduce the number of teen pregnancies in our community.
EXPLAIN YOUR POSITION ON THIS ISSUE.
Describe in detail why you feel the decision made will lead to the impact you foresee.
Example: This will provide opportunities for our high school students to discuss pressures they experience with their peers at this critical time in their lives.
DESCRIBE WHAT ANY CHANGES WILL MEAN TO YOU, AND TO OTHERS.
Describe specifically the positive or negative effects the decision will have on you personally and on those you represent. The more people affected by the decision, the more convincing you may be.
Example: This program will help provide career opportunities for teenagers in our community.
IDENTIFY OTHERS WHO MAY BE AFFECTED BY THIS DECISION.
Tell the official which, and how many, people will be affected. Statistics can be very helpful here.
Example: A recent study showed that 80% of minors who smoke obtain cigarettes at stores that do not ask for any identification. Increased enforcement of the existing laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors could significantly reduce the rate of smoking among our youth.
ACKNOWLEDGE PAST SUPPORT.
Mention appropriate actions and decisions the official has made in the past and express thanks for them.
Example: We appreciate your past support of the bill protecting the rights of emergency medical crews to not be tested for HIV.
DESCRIBE WHAT ACTION YOU HOPE THE OFFICIAL WILL TAKE.
State specifically what action you (and those you represent) hope the official will take–and by what date, if there is a deadline.
Example: We hope you realize the best course of action to protect our community’s infants and young children is to vote “yes” to House Bill #689b.
IF YOU HAVE WRITTEN A LETTER THAT OPPOSES SOME ACTION, OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE.
Example: I believe that rather than increasing the number of police cars patrolling our neighborhood, a cheaper and more effective alternative would be to work with our community to develop a community-policing program.
IF YOU HAVE TIME AND YOU ARE COMMITTED, ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP
Example: Our group is more than willing to explore the various options in helping make our community a safer place to live.
CLOSE AND SIGN YOUR LETTER.
Thank the official and sign your full name. Make sure your address, and phone number are included.
CHECK YOUR LETTER FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS.
Correct spelling and grammar won’t do the job by themselves, but they can help. Why not give your letter every possible advantage?