Op-ed: Now I jump out of bed for my morning activism

First Published      Last Updated Mar 18 2017 03:00 pm

Like many Americans, President Donald Trump's election was a wake-up call for me. On Nov. 9, I woke up depressed. On Nov. 10, I woke up angry. But by Nov. 11, I was ready to get to work.

As a work-from-home mom who runs a day care, I don't make enough money to donate to all my favorite non-profits. And I can't go up to the Capitol every day, but I can do a lot from my computer. So I started following Action Utah and Planned Parenthood on Facebook, I signed up for action alerts and I learned how to follow bills on the Utah Legislature's website.

I became what I call a keyboard lobbyist. Every day of Utah's legislative session, I contacted at least one representative up on the Hill. I woke up every morning an hour before my three kids. I made myself a cup of coffee and snuggled up on the couch with my puppy and my laptop. I took this quiet time to sift through action alerts. I composed personal messages to committee members explaining how annoyed I am that feminine hygiene products and baby diapers are taxed as a luxury. I thanked my amazing representatives for voting to make sure all rape kits are processed as fast as possible.

I used to have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I would hit the snooze button over and over again. But since I have been writing my emails every morning, I am awake before my alarm goes off. I know the number of many bills by heart as I tracked them through committee, to a hearing in the House, and then the Senate. I know which representatives are likely to reply and which ones are likely to blow me off. I know who will most likely condescend to me and who has my back (and my uterus) covered.

Being a part of the legislative session, even from afar, has been empowering and exciting. Now that the 2017 legislative session is over, I'll turn some of my activism towards the national level. I'll be writing Mia Love and our Utah senators voicing my disapproval on the ACA repeal and the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. I plan on working towards educating my Utah neighbors about the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and collecting signatures with Grassroots Utah Strategies for a 2018 ballot initiative to fight gerrymandering.

When Utah's legislative session begins again next January, I'll be ready. I want the legislators to know I'm not going away. I will keep calling. I will keep emailing. I will keep voting. Because my voice matters, and so does yours.

Kat Martinez is a mother of three and the owner of Little Friends Daycare in Murray.