If you are 16 or 17, the first thing you can do is pre-register to vote.
As of March, 2017, 16 and 17 year old California teenagers can pre-register to vote online at registertovote.ca.gov. Once pre-registered, a teen’s voter registration will become active immediately upon his or her 18th birthday.
But voting represents the bare minimum of participation in our democracy. With the upcoming midterm elections in 2018, you might consider volunteering for a candidate or organization, especially if you live in California’s 25th District, which includes Santa Clarita and Simi Valley.
In 2014’s midterm election, representative Steve Knight won CA-25 by a margin of 6.3%, so whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, your time and effort could be invaluable in defending Knight’s seat, or upending it. You might help to register voters in your district, make phone calls to inform voters about your candidate, or help organize fundraisers. If you want to stick it to Trump and end the Republican majority in Congress, head to SwingLeft.org to learn more about volunteering opportunities in your nearest swing district.
Another, often overlooked, way of exerting pressure on lawmakers is to simply make a phone call. Don’t like the sound of the new health care bill? Call your representative and tell them. Are you worried about the future of our open internet, in which you can use any website, application, or service at no additional cost beyond your basic subscription? Call the FCC and tell them you are against Ajit Pai’s motion to compromise net neutrality.
Participating in protests and marches is not only a means of sending a message to lawmakers, but also, and perhaps more importantly, an excellent way to experience a sense of solidarity with one’s local community. Since Donald Trump’s election there have been numerous marches and demonstrations in Los Angeles, including the Women’s March, the People’s Climate March, and the March for Science. On June 11th, there will be a national protest march, Resist March, as part of Pride weekend; in LA, Resist March will begin at Hollywood and Highland in West Hollywood at 8 a.m.