If you scoured the Web for things that make America great, the guaranteed right of our citizenry to express concerns and objections to our government’s policies would make everyone’s Top 10 list. It’s such an important provision that it’s included in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And that’s great news for vapers who are opposed to the new bans being discussed and implemented across the nation.
First, connect with fellow vapers to share your ideas. Use #ecigfreedom on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to join the conversation right now. And if you’re ready to stage or join a protest, here are some pointers for taking your freedom of expression to the next level:
Takin’ It to the Streets: Protest Pro Tips
- Peaceful protest has long been a staple of political influencers—but the key word here is “peaceful.” Take a note from the pages of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nothing provides your opposition with more ammunition than being able to paint your side as unruly or dangerous.
- The first order of business is to understand the rules of engagement. Make sure you’re within your legal rights to stage a protest in a given location, and contact local government offices to determine if a permit is needed. (They’re sometimes required to avoid crowd and traffic problems.) Also, ensure that your fellow protesters are on the same page and know what behavior is acceptable and what’s off limits.
- Understand precisely what your message is and communicate it clearly (and cleverly). A catchy slogan, chant or sign grabs people’s attention—and can even go viral, spreading the word across the globe. Same goes for a policy-based flash mob; passersby just have to stop and see what’s going on, and each and every one of them has a video camera (aka “cell phone”) in their pocket.
- We’re in an age that allows any of us to be a reporter of sorts, publishing our views and ideas via social media and blogs and the like. But don’t forget about the mainstream media. If you’re involved in a protest and aren’t sure if the media has been notified, contact local (and even national) media outlets and let them know. TV, newspapers, magazines, influential blogs … they’re all fair game.
- Find a group involved in the debate and ally yourself with like-minded citizens. The more compatriots you can pull together, the bigger your event. And the bigger your event, the likelier it is to be noticed and talked about—and to get the attention of legislators. A larger resource of brainpower also leads to more creative ideas, better problem-solving and further-reaching communications.
Record a one- or two-minute video on your smartphone, webcam or video camera, talking directly to the camera as if you’re addressing lawmakers. Tell them why you oppose e-cig bans and why you use blu. Then share your testimonial on social media using the #ecigfreedom hashtag. Upload the video to WeTransfer.com and submit it to the blu team at firstname.lastname@example.org (free of charge, of course).