Step 1: Find your reps
Figure out who you want to write and what power they hold:
- Madison City Council ask them to commit to support of resolution #60764 on June 16th for police oversight and to a long-term goal of defunding Madison Police.
- Dane County Board of Supervisors ask them to stop the jail expansion project.
- Madison Metro School District ask them to immediately terminate their contract with the Madison Police Department and remove police from schools.
Use the Wisconsin Election Commission website to find all of your elected officials
Step 2: Write a concise letter in your own words
Madison DSA has endorsed the “Doyle Resolution” to stop the county jail expansion project. When you write your County Supervisor, it is important to clearly state that you are asking for them to support this resolution. Stating your request early on in your statement can help your supervisor understand your request.
Templates can be valuable time savers, but once your representative starts to see the same letter over and over again, the impact drops off. Take a few extra minutes to write your own message, it doesn’t have to be very long to have a big impact. Make sure to (1) state who you are, including if you are a constituent, (2) be as specific as possible when asking for what you want, (3) focus on your strongest arguments and illustrate them with data specific to the situation, and (4) emphasize the impact you see in your life and your community.
Step 3: Bring in resources
You can make a bigger impact by using solid data and resources as you write your letter, particularly data that speaks to your community.
- School resource officers arrest black students four times the rate of white students in Madison Schools.
- Madison spends over $80 million annually on police while only spending about $8 million on community health while in 2019, the black infant mortality rate was three times higher than for white infants.
- Only 28% of people with a mental illness and 17% of people who abuse substances receive care in Dane County.
More data and resources are further down on this page.
Step 4: Stay involved
Support Black-led activists in Madison, such as Freedom, Inc., Urban Triage, and Impact Demand. Connect with Madison DSA through our website, madison.dsausa.org.
Letter writing suggestions
ACLU guide to “Writing your Elected Representatives“
City of Madison Budget: https://www.cityofmadison.com/budget
MMSD Budget: https://budget.madison.k12.wi.us/files/bpa/uploads/2019-20_budget_book_-_january_2020.pdf
Data on Racial Disparities in Dane County
Race to equity report (summary)
UW-Madison Institute for Research on Poverty
Cap Times analysis of Madison Police Use of Force.
Madison Police Department quarterly data reports
JFA Report on incarceration in Dane County