Calling your elected officials

In addition to writing your elected representatives, you can also call them and let them know where you stand on issues concerning Ethiopia. Although it is unlikely that you will get to talk to the Member of Congress directly, you will be able to communicate your displeasure (or pleasure) with their policy or public statements on a given issue. The Members staff will take note of your concern and often convey it in some form to the Member. If the Member of Congress finds that his position is unpopular and untenable, your call may contribute to a chance in policy. You can call your Members of Congress through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Sample conversation

Caller: I would like to speak with the aide of Congressperson ____ who handles human rights and political governance in the Horn of Africa.

Staffer: Sure, just one minute please…

Aide: This is ____, how may I help you?

Caller: I am Samson Randomperson, from the 4th district in Anystate {or: from Cityville, Illinois). Please tell Senator/Representative XYZ that I strongly support the bill to advance human rights, democracy and stability in Ethiopia, HR 5680. I want him to know that I support it because, as anAmerican citizen of Ethiopian descent, a stable and democratic Ethiopia in a strategic region like the Horn is both in the interest of the American people as well as the Ethiopian people. I want Congressperson/Senator XYZ to know that giving aid and comfort to a dictator only creates resentment in Ethiopia against America, as well as unrest within the country, which breeds instability. HR 5680 is a win-win bill, and I want to see him/her vote YES when it comes to the floor. Please, tell me what is Senator/Congressperson XYZ’s current position on this bill?

Aide: (Will either answer to the latter question, or state that (s)he will have to follow up on that. If the latter…)

Caller: Ok, I would be very grateful if you could send me information on Congressperson/Senator XYZ’s current position on HR 5680. Let me give you my email / postal address. It is ___. Many thanks, and I look forward to receiving your reply shortly.