Civics 101: 5 Tips to Becoming a More Engaged Citizen

It’s prominently featured in our Facebook news feeds, at the water cooler at work, at dinner parties—and sometimes even in our dreams: politics and the future of America. We here at Style Salute do not advocate a political position, but we cannot help but feel the urge to learn more and get involved. After all, millions of women marched at the Women’s March on January 21—and these sorts of moving showings are proof that voicing your opinion on important political causes makes a difference.

Following the Women’s March, organizers released their new activist campaign, called “10 Actions, 100 Days,” on their official website. In short, it is reminding us to: Stay engaged. Stay involved. Make our voices heard. So, whether you are a dedicated voter and activist, or you are just learning who your elected officials are, one thing’s for sure: You can make a difference—and that presents an opportunity for us as women to become more engaged.

Below, learn the tools you will need to get more make your voice heard.

Nobody is automatically registered to vote; you must actively sign up to be registered. No matter our political learnings, each of us should exercise the privilege to make our voice heard. You may vote if you are a U.S. citizen, meet your State’s residency requirements, have turned 18 on or before the respective election day, and register to vote by your State’s voter registration deadline. If you are not registered to vote, you can do it easily by visiting and selecting your State. Your local library and Department of Motor Vehicles will usually also have voter registration forms. If you’ve recently moved, don’t forget to re-register to vote!

Don’t forget: they call them “representatives” because they represent YOU! You should never think that your representatives are too busy or too important to hear from you. Their sole mission should be to keep you, their constituent, happy. Whether you want to thank your representative for doing the right thing, or you want to voice your concern about an issue dear to your heart, reach out. Phone calls are best because the staff at the representatives’ offices tally your opinion and send it on D.C. at the end of each business day. You can also email, send regular snail mail or connect with them on social media.

With few exceptions, each of us has three representatives in Congress: two senators in the Senate, and one member in the House of Representatives. Basic civics lesson: the Senate and the House of Representatives together are called the Congress. Each of the 50 United States has just two senators, but will generally have more House of Representatives members because those are based on population. For example, California has two senators and 53 members in the House of Representatives. Do you know who your representatives are? If not, follow this link to find out! Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.

You can visit the official website and save each person’s contact information in your phone. OR, you can do what we did, which is send a text with your zip code to this number: 520-200-2223. The system will automatically send you all of your representatives’ numbers. Can it get easier than that? (Answer: no.).

You can either schedule tours when visiting D.C., or you can see your House Representatives during Congressional recesses when they come back to their home turf and meet with their local constituents. To find out whether your House Representative is hosting a town hall, visit their website, call their office, or visit the Town Hall Project. Our advice: if you find out your Representative is not hosting a town hall, ask them why. And, if you have a specific cause you want them to hear about, you can ask for a personal meeting with the Representative or one of their staff members.