ATCNJ is now STAND CNJ!

We are pleased to announce that we have changed our name to STAND Central New Jersey (STAND CNJ), proudly embodying our purpose to “Stand and Take Action Now for Democracy.”

In November 2016, we formed as a regional group representing six counties to fight for progressive values and to mobilize at the grassroots level. However, as a regional group under our previous name, Action Together Central New Jersey (ATCNJ), we were not an official affiliate of Action Together NJ, which is structured as a state/individual county organization.

Our commitment to supporting the entire Central New Jersey region is integral to our strategic mission. Our six counties represent 40 percent of New Jersey’s state legislative districts. We believe this is an effective way to organize, since legislative and Congressional districts are not drawn by county lines. Thus, we have the ability to work more broadly, reaching regional, county, congressional and state legislative districts. At the same time, we will continue to partner with county and state groups, such as Action Together New Jersey, as well as nationwide networks that share our goals. By working together, we can make a difference on a larger scale.

STAND CNJ has an active, energetic volunteer base that reaches across our six counties — Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Hunterdon. Our membership is nearly 800 and growing. Our teams range from education and advocacy to research and events, such as teach-ins and workshops – all geared toward constituency empowerment that impacts the state and national conversation and enacts change from the ground up.

Most importantly, our name, STAND CNJ, reflects our mission: to support our democracy by fighting for social justice, economic opportunity, and basic human rights for all. Through education, partnerships, actions and initiatives, we will affect elections and issues at the local and state levels to improve lives in NJ. Together, our efforts will help build a stronger, more progressive NJ that can shape policy and discourse more powerfully at the national level.

Join us as we move forward and STAND for Central New Jersey.

Go local: STAND CNJ “huddles” now forming

STAND CNJ is taking the lead from the Women’s March and forming our own small group huddles! These huddles, or hyper local groups, are an important piece in organizing a widespread grassroots movement. It allows us to organize for action right in our towns and then come together with other groups for actions that need mass participation. Your huddle can comprise of you, and a guest list from a few people to twenty– and can be held in a coffee shop, community room, or even your home. We do ask you to allow space for a few like-minded STAND members who may have not yet found a local huddle in their area. By hosting a huddle, you can act as a liaison between STAND and your group–which will help your group be kept well informed on not only STAND, but their partners action activities.  Ready to organize a huddle? Then send us an email and read the following tips!

Resistance Huddles: How-To and Tips

As huddles are hyper-local gatherings of individuals looking to participate in hands-on activism in a community-building, social environment. In essence these are activism parties – designed to take immediate action, share ideas, inspire further activism, and socialize with like-minded individuals.

To make a huddle both productive and enjoyable, try to include a combination of 2-3 simple hands-on activities and free time for open discussion and mingling.

Activity Options

  • Postcard writing: Come prepared with postcards stamped with postcard stamps, a handful of current issues and sample scripts and/or a sample written postcard, addresses (bonus points for pre-printed labels) of recipients, and lots of pens, all set up on a work area. Colorful, eye-catching postcards are most likely to get noticed! For ideas, addresses and scripts, visit the Facebook group Postcards for America.
  • Phone calls. If there is a current call-to-action for phone calls, have the sample script(s) out and call! If it’s off business hours, calling and leaving a voice mail makes for good practice for those who are nervous to call.
  • Twitter session: Twitter primer for beginners, and Twitter share for those already on Twitter. Follow one another, share good accounts to follow, look for trending hashtags, and send some strategic tweets on current hot-button issues.
  • “What have you read lately?” Ask attendees ahead of time if they have read any interesting articles or books on current issues or activism, and if so, to share key points with the group. Bonus points if you, as the host, have come across a particularly interesting article and have copies on hand for attendees.
  • Brainstorming and committing on individual activism plans. Evidence indicates that people have more success in following through on plans if they declare their plans to a group, and this is a great opportunity to discuss ways that each person can become involved in ways that fit their interests and schedules and commit to doing so.
  • Share ideas and contact info for special issue-focused organizations that can guide you to ways to publicly comment on regulations being considered in legislation. More on this here:
  • https://thinkprogress.org/a-simple-guide-to-how-you-can-throw-sand-in-the-trump-administrations-gears-64843da93664#.r0jx3nb21
  • Plan a group volunteering project to help marginalized groups, or groups who will need more help due to loss of funding. Alternatively, share ideas for volunteer opportunities based on individual interests.

Tips:

Try to keep the tone positive. Some venting is healthy, but try to keep the environment hopeful and action-oriented.

  • Food, beverages, music! This should feel be a fun, positive, energizing experience.
  • Put out a collection jar for anyone who would like to contribute to the costs of the supplies used.
  • Before people leave, ask people to commit to a date to host a huddle of their own in the near future! If this is a group of friends, ask people to put it on their calendar; if it’s a more loose group, ask future hosts to commit to host, and offer them help and guidance in getting started.

 

 

 

 

Open Letter to Members of the Press

Dear Members of the Press:

We can only imagine how difficult the past 18 months have been for you.

All election cycles present reporting challenges, but this one has been far from normal. You have been called names and thrown out of press rooms. The term “mainstream media” has turned into an insult, and truthful, fact-based reporting has been labeled “fake news.”

It has become clear that these extraordinary challenges did not end with the election; in fact, the fight has seemingly just begun. Nevertheless, you are still showing up and taking on new obstacles.
We thank you for that. In fact, we implore you to continue showing up without fear. The only way for the average American to understand the laws and policies being enacted at breakneck speed or to gain insight about elected and appointed officials is for our free press to doggedly ask the important questions and report the facts fully and accurately.

At press conferences, if one reporter is shut down due to disapproval about past reporting, take it upon yourselves to ask that question for him or her until it is answered. We know that among yourselves you are competitors, but you are also journalists with integrity. When you back each other up, the American people will respond in kind by supporting you across the board with subscriptions and ratings.
In interviews, hit your subjects hard and do not back down. We know they are trying to talk in circles for answers, but we also know you can turn circles into lines. We are behind you in that effort and we believe, as you do, that truth matters.

The free press is a hallmark — maybe THE hallmark — of our society. The First Amendment, which allows you to provide information for the American citizenry and people across the world, is a cornerstone of our freedom and the bedrock of our way of life.

So we want you to know we have your backs. We will always support you. We want you to keep asking, keep delving, keep covering, keep writing, keep broadcasting, keep blogging.

Keep searching for answers to every question the American people can ask. We need you now more than ever.

Sincerely,
Concerned Americans