When it comes to Trump-era resistance, it’s time to get local.
A new website called OurStates is arming people with tangible steps to fight local legislation that targets at-risk communities. Through an interactive map, OurStates unpacks both harmful and progressive bills currently being considered in each of the 50 states.
The tool aims to inform activists, outlining proposed legislation under six categories: immigration, policing and protesting, reproductive justice, voting rights, LGBTQ equality, and economic justice.
Our States was launched by nonprofit StayWoke, a branch of racial justice organization Campaign Zero led by noted activists DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe. StayWoke’s mission is to create digital tools for activists, and now it’s focusing on states for good reason — to draw attention to how local politicians’ decisions can have a devastating impact on marginalized communities.
“While everybody has been focused on resisting Trump’s agenda in Congress…many states have been moving forward.”
States, for example, have most or total control over legislation around issues like mass incarceration, LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws, voting rights, and services available to undocumented immigrants, such as ID cards and health care.
“While everybody has been focused on resisting Trump’s agenda in Congress and his executive orders, many states have been moving forward with implementing Trump’s agenda without as much opposition,” said Sinyangwe, who is the lead coordinator of the OurStates project.
“And in 27 states, these decisions will all be made within the next two months — so there’s a real sense of urgency to getting involved in stopping these harmful bills from becoming law,” he added.
OurStates explains the power state legislatures hold, while also outlining ways to engage with representatives, like how to prepare for in-person meetings and how to track a bill. The guide further instructs activists on how they can apply pressure if a representative is steadfast in legalizing discrimination, such as reaching out to the media and organizing direct action.
StayWoke and Campaign Zero hope OurStates can help communities engage with local politics to make their communities more inclusive — especially during a time when they’re under attack by state and federal legislation.
“We hope to create pathways for more and more people to influence their state legislators, so that we can stop these anti-immigrant bills, voter suppression bills, anti-LGBT bills, and anti-abortion bills from becoming law,” Sinyangwe said. “Instead, we hope to get [legislators] to pass laws that protect communities from being harmed by Trump’s administration.”
You can explore proposed bills in your state and download regularly updated guides here.