What Can I Do

What Can I Do

You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do? We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, and what they’d do differently if they had to do it all again. In the process, we’ll offer concrete advice on how to take the leap from freaking out on Twitter to making a difference, building community, and finding joy in getting involved.


November 23, 2022 32 min

So, the election is over, political changes are afoot, and you’re looking to help people take action into their own hands. What do you do?

For Elyssa Feder and her team at Rising Organizers, the answer was to teach emerging activists the tools they need to change their communities, policies, and the world. By focusing on issues instead of elections, Rising Organizers helps people take steps towards making this change whether or not ...

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In this special post-election edition of TL;DL, we’re looking back at the action items we discussed on the most recent seven episodes of “What Can I Do” featuring: Candice Kerestan of Democrats Abroad, Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodard of Dirt Road Revival, Rev. Angela Williams of SACReD, Amanda Litman of Run for Something, Don Hebbard of Compressor-Free Franklin, Rosie Torres and Susan Zeier of Burn Pits 360, and New York City Counc...

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So, you’re campaigning for a timely but hot-button ballot initiative and need to reach voters without eliciting knee-jerk reactions. What do you do?

For Ashley All and the many coalition partners working with Kansans for Constitutional Freedom, the answer was to empower local activists to reach out in their communities and work together to message that protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion is one way to protect something Ka...

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So you’ve gotten involved in a major political protest movement but you want to do more. What else can you do?

For Chi Ossé, an active organizer with the BLM movement working in nightlife, the drive to make change led into a successful city council bid, making Ossé the youngest member of the New York City Council and the youngest person ever to pass a bill in New York City. Ossé believes that local politics are the best place to beg...

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So your community of veterans is getting sick because of toxic exposures on the job, but nobody, including the federal government, wants to take responsibility for your care. What do you do?

For Rosie Torres and Susan Zeier, the answer was the organize a major lobbying effort to ensure that burn pit victims like their family members were taken care of. For Rosie, the founder of Burn Pits 360, this involved organizing a community and...

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So you’re concerned about a local issue in a small rural community and you need to start an advocacy effort from scratch. What do you do?

Donald Hebbard was a retired farmer and longtime resident of a rural area in upstate New York when he learned of a plan to put a natural gas compressor station in his town. Concerned about the impact this would have on the environment and community, he and a group of concerned citizens put togethe...

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So you’re thinking about how to connect young people interested in running for office with the resources and community they need to win. What’s your first step?

For Amanda Litman, a veteran of the Obama campaign, the first step was to put up a website looking for people interested in running for local office. What the response was greater than she could have ever imagined, she and a friend recruited volunteers and got to work helpin...

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So you’re looking to be a part of a faith community, but one that shares your values about things like reproductive rights LGBTQIA+ issues, and more? How do you find one? How do you create one?

For Rev. Angela Willams, the co-director of Movement Building at SACRED, faith and political action are intertwined. She talks about being called to become a Pastor while finding her political voice, working to change the narrative that r...

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September 21, 2022 27 min

So you live in a rural community that’s been ignored by the Democratic establishment, but you want to get involved in the political system. So, what do you do? 

For Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward, taking the lessons they’d learned while working in the climate movement and applying them to what they knew about Chloe’s rural home community taught them a lot about how to win campaigns in rural spaces. After working together to get Ch...

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You’re an American living abroad, but you want to have a voice in choosing who represents you, so what do you do? 

For Candice Kerestan, an American living in Germany, the question of how to work towards a more equitable and just American system was made more urgent by her experience living in the German system, where issues like education, healthcare, and combating climate change were being prioritized. So, she got involved at the ...

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September 12, 2022 16 min

A recap of the actions and strategies we’ve discussed in our recent interviews. Find out more on our blog!

Episode Links:

  • The trouble with viewing 9/11 and the pandemic through a wartime lens,” by Lila Nordstrom and Sarah Senk, The Washington Post, September 9, 2022.
  • The Op-Ed Project
  • Writing Effective Op-Eds, Duke University
  • “15 Actionable Media Training Tips From Former Journalists,” LiaisonPR, August 23, 2021

  • Follow Lila on Twitter
  • F...
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    You’re skilled in the arts and you want to use those skills to make change, so what do you do? 

    For Shannon Downey, a.k.a. Badass Cross Stitch, the answer was simple: Build a community of craft lovers and doers, and connect them with activists, issue-based craft challenges, fundraising opportunities, bystander training and advocacy workshops, and, of course, each other. Shannon tells us how she took her love of embroidery and lifelo...

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    August 31, 2022 28 min

    If you can see how big, seemingly-intractable national and international issues impact your local community, what do you do? 

    For Rachel Dawn Davis, community activist and public policy and justice organizer with Waterspirit, the answer has been to search for intersections and connections between myriad local and national causes and do…whatever needs to be done. Between her work with veterans, her environmental activism, and her wor...

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    If you don’t see any people in power who look like you or come from your background, what do you do? 

    For A’shanti Gholar, President of Emerge America, the answer was to jump into the ring herself. From her high school showdown with a candidate for U.S. Senate to her work training women to run for office all over the nation, A’Shanti shares the story of how she took an early interest in politics and turned it into a career helping o...

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    A new crisis explodes and you’re the frontlines. What do you do? 

    Marked by COVID co-founder Kristin Urquiza’s father died from COVID after trusting Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s claims that “it was safe to resume normal activities.” While reeling from the loss, she and co-founder Christine Keeves made the decision to act, hoping to save others from facing similar losses. Find out how they went about forming Marked by COVID and bega...

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    Feeling down about the state of the world? Looking for substantive ideas about how to take action? We’re here to help! In this first episode, Lila and Kelly discuss their own activist journeys, what it takes to move beyond voting and donating, what first steps can look like, and how to figure out where your skills can be of use.

    Episode Links:

  • Order Lila’s book: Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor's Fight for Health Care in the Wak...
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    July 28, 2022 59 sec

    You voted (again), you protested (again), you posted on social media (again), yet you’re still reeling from all the terrible news. But…what else can you do?

    We’ll help you figure that out! Each week hosts Kelly Therese Pollock and Lila Nordstrom interview activists working on a range of issues, from national policy to local concerns, not about why but about how they took action: What got them started, who helped them along the way, ...

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