Wondering what it takes to start a local CODEPINK group? Here are the basics to get you started. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on getting started! Once you feel ready to commit to organizing with CODEPINK, you can fill out our Start a local group form.
Being a CODEPINK Leader means that you are:
- Willing to organize actions or share information about events in your area
- Agreeing to be the contact person for CODEPINK in your area
- Pledging to take action locally at least once a month
It's important to identify what types of activities you are interested in and passionate about. Your enthusiasm and excitement about taking on campaigns or actions will help inspire others to join you. Use your first meeting to discover your interests and the kind of actions that appeal to your group and are needed in your area of the country. This is also the time to organize your skills, talents, and the roles you wish to take on in producing the actions of your choice.
Ask yourself and your new team:
- Do you enjoy making banners, or doing fabric art?
- Do you like doing street theater or creating other artistic acts?
- Do you want to coordinate a meeting with your government representative?
- Are you experienced at organizing fundraisers, house parties or demonstrations?
- Is there a particular aspect of US militarism that most upsets you (such as the local cost of war in your community, military recruiters in high schools, family members or friends serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, concern for civil liberties, or profiteering by Blackwater/Halliburton/Bechtel and other military contractors)?
- Have you looked at the Local Spotlight to get an idea of the range of creative actions CODEPINKers are involved in all over the world? You can define CODEPINK with your bold actions for peace!
Organize a gathering!
- A good first step might be hosting a potluck dinner at your home or a gathering at local café for an evening of conversation about people's interests and skills. Gatherings can become monthly events to rejuvenate and inspire local activists, and you can feature guest speakers or show one of the many excellent films about war and militarism.
Start with an action!
- Many groups were launched by holding a candlelight vigil (in memory of the thousands of soldiers and countless civilians who have been killed during the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) at a busy intersection or in front of the local military recruitment station. You can use the vigil as an opportunity to collect signatures on a petition calling for an end to war funding, and then deliver the signatures to your congressperson or senator (you can also contact these people about future events!).
What does it look like to have a strong local group?
- Well-organized local groups meet regularly (once a month or more); create local actions and take on national campaigns; rapidly respond to national news, local appearances by politicians needing to prodded about the war; fundraise to support the costs of materials for actions; have their own webpage and a local listserv; and inspire activists to travel to Washington, DC, to join the action on Capitol Hill, or if overseas, their federal government capital.
What kinds of actions do we organize?
- Each of our CODEPINK local groups has its own spirit and flavor. Groups may pick a particular campaign to work on over time, such as a legislative pressure campaign, countering military recruitment, bringing the National Guard home, or an ongoing regularly scheduled vigil to distribute information about the wars and increase awareness around the number of soldiers and civilians killed. Groups may choose to take action around particularly important days, such as March 19th, the anniversary of the occupation of Iraq; October 7, the anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan; or Mother's Day, which was originally intended to be a women's day of protest against war. When elected officials who are refusing to take action against the war come to town, local groups organize to bird-dog them, pressuring them into changing their position with creative and fun actions and inside disruptions.
- Local groups set their own agenda, choosing to work on particular grassroots anti-war campaigns, and they are also willing and eager to participate in our national campaigns and actions. To get a feel for some of the inspiring CODEPINK actions that are happening around the globe, you can visit our online Local Spotlight .
IMPORTANT Non-Profit Information:
- CODEPINKis a women-initiated peace movement, and is a tax-exempt nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. While we are working to create political change on a single public policy issue—peace—CODEPINKcan never endorse a candidate, fundraise for a candidate or say we are working against a candidate. We do not support or oppose any federal candidates. Instead, we seek to call attention to their positions on those issues which are fundamentally important to CODEPINK's mission.
- As a nonprofit issue-based organization, we are focused on peace, and on creating a voting bloc that will prioritize peace, not on electing particular candidates for office. We can educate people on the issues, but we cannot tell them who to vote for. In addition, we put pressure on elected officials post-election with actions such as pink slips and office visits. Individuals from a local CODEPINKgroup are, of course, free to assist in candidate campaign efforts, but cannot do so under the banner of CODEPINK.
- The benefit to having non-profit status is that people can make tax-deductible donations to our national CODEPINKorganizing efforts. Local groups can also use our tax-exempt status for donations, but only if your funds are processed through our national account. Local groups may also seek to collaborate with another local non-profit for fundraising events.
- For more info about what is and isn't appropriate as a non-profit (c)3 visit the Alliance for Justice.