Change the World: Making Civics Sexy

Levi Strauss & Co.
September 20, 2018

Jamila Hubbard is on a campaign to let people know that making a difference doesn’t have to be daunting.

Last fall, in honor of being named to the Fortune Change the World list in 2017, Levi Strauss & Co. gave grants to five employees who had bold ideas of their own for creating change. Jamila, a talent development manager at LS&Co., was inspired to use the support to put on a full-day workshop called “Civics is Sexy” for budding activists at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

With the help of community advocates from the Surfrider Foundation and Brown Girl Surf, the workshop focused on teaching the step-by-step processes, skills and tools to influence policy changes.

“It’s so important to see regular people making a difference in their community,” Jamila said. “This is where real change starts – at home.”

A few key takeaways from the workshop for those of you are wondering how to get involved on the issues you care most about:

  1. Know who represents you. There are people at all levels of government, from the city council on up to the White House, who make decisions that touch your life. Find out who your local, state and federal representatives are, and how to contact with them.
  2. Find out where they stand. What do they think – and more importantly, how do they vote – on the issues that matter most to you? You can research their voting record, or get in touch and ask them directly.
  3. Let them know what you think! Contacting your representatives really does make a difference. You can pick up the phone (you’ll probably just leave a message, but tallying up the number of people who care enough to call on an issue is one of the ways that politicians gauge what is most important to their constituents), write a letter or schedule an in-person meeting. Be sure to keep it simple and direct, provide your zip code to show you’re in their district, reference specific legislation by bill number and ask for a concrete action (like voting for or against a bill).
  4. Speak up. Attending and speaking at a public meeting is a great way to get your message across directly to decision-makers. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of public speaking – but do come prepared, know who you’re speaking to and what they have the power to do (or not), and learn the rules and procedures for the public hearing.
  5. Write to your local paper. A letter to the editor is a great way to reach a larger audience and get the attention of elected officials. Be sure to include your contact information, and make sure your letter references an article or editorial the paper has printed on the subject.
  6. Get social. These days, social media plays a powerful role in social movements (think #blacklivesmatter and #metoo). So use your social media networks to spread the word.

Now go out there and make your voice heard! The easiest way to do that is through your vote. Check out how Levi Strauss & Co. is helping people get out the vote this fall.