As public health experts continue to urge caution and social distancing, you can be an advocate from the comfort of your couch.

Beyond upending our daily lives, COVID-19 has changed some of the ways we typically advocate for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. Fortunately, there are still many ways you can advocate from home to protect and advance Nebraskans’ civil rights and civil liberties. Although we are physically distant, this is a time that we can work to bring Nebraskans closer together, continuing the work of creating a more perfect union.

Here are things you can do from your couch or kitchen table:

Respond to the Census 

Be counted to help maintain a strong and healthy democracy. Census responses impact political representation and the resources that are returned to our communities. In past years, we have seen undercounting of immigrant communities, communities of color and low-income communities. Media coverage shows that’s once again happening in Nebraska with fewer people responding to the 2020 Census in Nebraska’s most diverse urban communities and in many rural communities.  

There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is also subject to some of the strongest privacy protections in federal law and the ACLU is monitoring closely to ensure full compliance with those protections.

Stay Informed 

Are you following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Follow us and stay up to date by watching or reading local news. Whether it's newspaper, radio, or television, Nebraska is fortunate to have many hardworking journalists covering issues that impact our communities. You can also participate in governmental proceedings virtually. Some communities will continue holding public meetings virtually through June. On July 20, the Nebraska Legislature will reconvene. Follow debate live via NET.

Remember, learning about an issue is just the first step to advocacy; next, take action. A simple but effective way to make your voice heard is writing a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. We have contact information and tips on our website.

Contact our Representatives

Government representatives are supposed to listen to We the People, and it is more important than ever to contact them. Let them know how the pandemic is affecting you, share thoughts about other issues in your community, or just thank them for their work. 

The Nebraska Legislature plans to reconvene on July 20 and will take up priority bills that are still waiting on votes - including antibias training for law enforcement officers, a ban on natural hair discrimination and workplace antidiscrimination protection for LGBTQ Nebraskans.  

Review current bills and reach out to your senator to share your thoughts. 

You can make a difference right now in shaping Nebraska's response to COVID-19. We are asking supporters to join us in calling for increased protections for meatpacking plant workers and long overdue action to address prison overcrowding, which is needed more than ever in this outbreak. Learn more at the following links.  

Remember, action at the federal level has a direct impact on Nebraskans’ lives. Our senators and congressional representatives also need to hear from you.  

Connect with Community and Family Members 

At the heart of advocacy is care. We care about our communities and want to create positive changes for everyone. A simple way to care for others is by checking in with friends, family and neighbors by phone, text, email, video chat or just leaning over the fence (from a safe social distance of course!).  

We’ve seen wonderful examples of mutual aid in this pandemic with people helping their neighbors, for example, using a sewing machine to make masks. Check in with friends, family and neighbors to see what they need. Some smaller towns have Facebook groups that are being used for this purpose. A shared group for Omaha and Lincoln has nearly 5,000 members.  

There are also many specific advocacy groups on most major social media platforms, which is another great way to connect with people who care about the same issues.

Register to Vote  

Nebraska just had a record turnout primary election. Let’s keep the momentum going. You can register to vote from the comfort of your home:  

Early voting ballots for the November general election can be requested as early as July 6.

This spring, we launched a first-of-its-kind voter education effort aimed at empowering system impacted Nebraskans. If you are someone who has been involved in the criminal legal system or know someone who has been, check out our new resource:

Get Creative  

Advocacy comes in all forms and can be appropriate for nearly any age. The ACLU coloring page below can be printed off on demand. It's perfect décor for your fridge or home office. Once colored in, post a photo on social media tagging us and encourage your friends to do the same!