Black Lives Matter activists are launching a new initiative to shift the movement's focus to state capitols, the Associated Press reports.
People who wish to become more politically involved have the potential of greater influence at the state level, according to organizers.
As the Associated Press notes, Republicans currently hold 33 governors' offices, as well as majorities in 33 legislatures. They also have control over the governor's office and legislature in 25 states, giving state Republicans more room to shape laws surrounding abortion, taxes, gun rights, and more.
OurStates.org illustrates a trend of Democrats and left-leaning groups placing their eye on statehouses.
From Associated Press:
"Despite the movement's national presence, it has not concentrated 'on engaging and resisting what state legislatures are doing to essentially implement the same agenda,' said Sam Sinyangwe, a data scientist with the project. 'If we don't engage on the state level, many of the same rights we're fighting to protect will be restricted at the local level anyway.' Users visiting the site can choose categories and click on states to learn more about pending legislation. It has a guide for influencing lawmakers, directing people to ask for in-person meetings, present specific demands and track the progress of legislation. The site also suggests conducting protests in lawmakers' offices to apply pressure and get their attention."
Brian Robinson, Republican strategist and former assistant chief of staff for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, says Black Lives Matter activists "could make inroads with GOP lawmakers," depending on how they go about it.
"If the goals are partisan, hot-button issues, the outcome is going to be ... no political or policy progress," Robinson said. "If Republicans are approached in a respectable manner on issues that could have bipartisan consensus, they can make headway, but they've got to be civil."
He also noted that activists must "be serious and have doable, incremental goals. If what they want to do is demonize Republican leaders ... they'll be ignored."
SOURCE: Associated Press