Staying Politically Active as an American Expat
As an American expat, it is important to me that I continue to stay politically active and involved despite living in a foreign country. With all of the things happening back home, I have been busy finding ways to raise my voice and share my concerns in a way that feels productive and useful. After scouring the internet, I found some resources that may be of help if you are a fellow American expat in search of ways to remain politically active despite your place of residence.
- Vote: The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP.gov) has an excellent overview of the steps to take to ensure you are an up-to-date and eligible voter for upcoming elections. Voting from overseas takes additional planning and a lot more time, so be sure to stay on top of your deadlines.
- Raise your Voice: Sharing your concerns with your representatives is an important way to have your voice heard. As an expat, you can use resources such as Skype or Google Voice to call your Congressional Office from abroad. In addition to calling, you can also send letters or postcards, sign online petitions, or use social media and email to connect. Not sure who your representatives are? Use GovTrack.us to find out.
- Stay Involved: Several international cities have American Expat organizations that host meetings to discuss political affairs in the USA. In addition, many cities organize demonstrations and rallies in solidarity with protests back home. American Expats for Positive Change is a great resource for finding events. If you live in a smaller city (like I do), you can also find ways to remain active by signing up for newsletters that send weekly action items via email. I am currently signed up with the Women’s March 10 Actions 100 Days campaign and the Wall of Us acts of resistance.
- Financial Support: Vote with your money by boycotting organizations that support legislation and politicians you do not agree with. On the flipside of boycotting, consider donating money to organizations that support movements you agree with – every contribution matters. Inspire others to take action by sharing on social media or in daily conversations with friends why you are boycotting companies or contributing money to others.
Living abroad has been an excellent experience, but one thing I did not anticipate was the expectation placed on me to be a representative for my country’s culture and actions. While at times, I have been overwhelmed by the number of questions people have asked me about what is happening in my country (“why did the president do this? what does that legislation mean? why? why? why?”) it has pushed me to be a more informed citizen. So stay active, stay informed, and stay optimistic – be the change.