Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lobbying for Civil Rights

Congratulations! You and your partner from class have been hired by the prestigious Civil Rights law firm of Equality, Truth and Justice, LLP. ETJ is most famous for its success in lobbying in every type of campaign, be it direct, grassroots or informative.

ETJ focuses on civil rights issues. The firm has hired you to work on a grassroots campaign for one of the interest groups it represents. These groups fall under many headings, and include the following:
  • Civil and Constitutional Rights
    • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    • The Rainbow PUSH Coalition
    • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    • The National Urban League
    • Amnesty International
  • Public Interest/Single Cause
    • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
    • Common Cause
    • The National Rifle Association (NRA)
    • Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)
    • The National Rights to Life Committee
  • Political/Ideological
    • Americans for Democratic Action
    • The League of Conservative Voters
    • The American Conservative Union
  • Feminist
    • The National Organization of Women (NOW)
ETJ has given you and your partner the freedom to choose which lobby you will work for. Use Google or a similar search engine to locate the websites for the organizations above that you think you will be interested in. HINT: if you don't know what an organization stands for, look it up!

Browse through the organizations and choose one which interests you. You will use this organization for a mini-project we will work on in class today and Thursday.

Answer the following questions in an e-mail to me. You will primarily use your chosen interest group, although you may also use the Google search to find additional information as long as you give the link and clear the site with me. The e-mail is a 20 point homework grade, and is due at the end of class.
  1. Name your chosen group. Explain what attracted you to this lobby. (2 points)
  2. Summarize your chosen lobby's mission. Specifically state what they intend to accomplish and explain why. (2 points)
  3. Are there any influential or famous people behind your lobby? If so, name and describe them, then summarize their involvement with your lobby. (2 points)
  4. What issues does your lobby focus on? How do they relate to its mission? (4 points)
  5. Has your lobby been in the news lately? If yes, summarize the circumstances. Then, evaluate whether this will make people view your lobby in a more positive or negative light. Your page may give some of this information, but remember -- it will only give you POSITIVE information about your lobby. Use the Google news search (news.google.com) or one of the papers we've used (NY Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.) to find news that might not be 100% positive. (4 points)
  6. OPTION 1: Does your lobby offer any tips for how you could potentially influence people and politicians? If so, list and describe the tactics it advises you to use. Explain the practical application of your lobby's tactics. (2 points)
    OPTION 2: If your lobby does not show actual tactics, then describe the tools used on the lobby website to influence your opinion. How is the lobby attempting to appeal to you? Does it work? Explain. Could you use any of the tools from your pamphlet to assist your new lobby?(2 points)
  7. Discover the lobby's attempts to influence people from Chicago and Illinois. Describe the activities/events/etc. it sponsors locally. You may use the lobby's site for this information, but may need to use the news search. (2 points)
  8. Which candidate(s) did your lobby support in the Illinois midterm elections? Why? (NOTE: if you can't find any support for Illinois politicians, you may choose to focus on well-known politicians we've discussed in class) (2 points)
FOR HOMEWORK, read pp. 493-497 on Equality and Civil Rights. Take Cornell Notes. These are due on your desk at the start of tomorrow's class.

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