The Maryland General Assembly is back in session for 2020 and considering many important bills that impact all of us. This year, the Maryland Catholic Conference is hosting the first-ever Virtual Catholic Day of Action on Wednesday, February 19 to encourage all Catholics in our state to speak up on important issues.
By participating in Virtual Catholic Day of Action, you can help us protect the most vulnerable Marylanders from efforts by out-of-state groups to legalize the dangerous practice of physician-assisted suicide. You can also help us to secure vital state scholarships that empower low-income families to choose Catholic schools for their children through the BOOST Scholarship Program. Lastly, you can help ensure Marylanders have access to paid family leave through the Time to Care Act. This bill would help those who have or adopt a child, need care for a sick loved one, or deal with their own illness by providing up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
Our faith calls us to be a voice of hope and justice in the public square, so we hope you will join us here, virtually, on Feb. 19, to speak out about these important issues.
Virtual Catholic Day of Action Toolkit
In this online toolkit, you will find the resources to learn more about each of these important issues, direct links to where you can take meaningful action on Feb. 19, and sample Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts so you can engage and share with your network about these issues.
Step-By-Step Guide to Using the Toolkit
We are so glad you are here and willing to join us in the fight to stop assisted suicide, ensure access to nonpublic school for low-income families, and provide Marylanders with paid family leave through the Time to Care Act. Please follow these steps to make the most out of this toolkit and these guides.
1. Learn about the issues.
Before joining us in action on Feb. 19, we hope you will take some time to download and review these quick and easy-to-use infographics. Each infographic provides details about the issue and some important facts we hope you will share with your legislators on our Day of Action.
To learn more about why the church has taken its position on these issues:
Click the links below to be view our issue pages.
2. Learn the best practices for speaking with legislators and their staff
Speaking with legislators or their staff can be intimidating. They are generally very knowledgeable on the issue, but also short on time, so being able to make your point in a polite and direct manner is very important. To make the most of your time when you call your legislator's office, follow these simple steps.
- Introduce yourself and why you are calling. Come up with a succinct way to introduce yourself and explain why you are calling.
- Find a way to connect to your legislators. Do you live in the same community? Have you lived in their district for many years? Offer any detail that can help personalize the experience and find common ground with the person to whom you are speaking.
- Get down to the point. Legislators and their staff are very busy, so make sure you quickly get to the point of why you are calling. The last thing you want to do is waste their time.
- Don't expect them to agree with you. Not everyone sees eye-to-eye on these issues, even among our Catholic faithful. But it's important that you speak with your legislators regardless of whether or not they agree with you so they know where you stand on these issues. Don't forget, they represent you, so it's their job to know and to care about what everyone in their district feels about these issues.
- If they don't agree, don't argue. Acknowledge that the legislator or their staff feels differently, reiterate your position, and ask them, as your elected representative, to consider your point of view when they vote. Don't try to argue, this is not the place.
- Be polite and considerate of the person you are speaking with. Every person has different experiences and approaches issues from differing points in life. Graphic descriptions, accusatory remarks, personal attacks or hyperbolic language won't help your legislator see your point, it will only make them feel attacked and even less likely to take you seriously.
- Be gracious. Always thank the legislator or their staff member for their time.
3. Take Action on the issues.
Now that you've gotten to up to speed on the issues and had a chance to think through what you will say to your legislators, click on buttons below to take action on one or all three of these issues. As constituents, yours are the voices that legislators listen to the most and they both want and need to hear from you. Remember, they represent you.
When you click the button you will be taken to an action page where you can send an email message to your legislators or make a phone call to their office. If you have time, we encourage you to do both.
4. Speak up about the issues with your networks on social media.
Thank you for taking action! Your voice is so very important and we thank you for using it to promote the common good in our state. But don't stop there! Please share with your networks on social media about Virtual Catholic Day of Action and these important issues and consider tagging key legislators as well. Social media has become a critical forum for dialog about public policies. Use these sample posts below to share about each of these key issues.
Today is Virtual Catholic Day of Action in Maryland! Please tell legislators to vote NO on physician-assisted suicide. It puts vulnerable people at risk & adds to the Rx drug epidemic. MD has rejected this 5 times. Let’s do it again. Click the link to make a difference. https://bit.ly/3bkwNK6 #wearecatholic @willsmithformaryland @speakeradriennejones
Maryland families need us! Tell your legislators to say YES to more funding for the BOOST Scholarship Program. BOOST empowers low-income families, helps to bridge the achievement gap and breaks the cycle of poverty. Applications increased 25% this year, but there is a waitlist for scholarships so more funding is needed. Click to take action! https://bit.ly/2S9dVpZ #wearecatholic @delmaggie @senatorguyguzzone @billforsenate @RosapepeForSenate @speakeradriennejones @MichaelFor27B
Please help Maryland families today. Only 17% of working families have paid family leave when they need to take time off for a child, sickness or ill family member. The Time to Care Act would give Maryland workers the ability to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave when they need it. Click to take action! https://bit.ly/2SR7zKI #wearecatholic @antoniohayes40 @delarianakelly Delegate Kris Valderrama
I have been a caregiver for family members and it can be hard. Paid family leave would have helped. Please help make it a reality for Maryland families. The Time to Care Act would give Maryland workers the ability to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave when they need it. Click to take action! https://bit.ly/2SR7zKI #wearecatholic @antoniohayes40 @delarianakelly Delegate Kris Valderrama
It’s Catholic Virtual Day of Action in Maryland! Tell legislators to vote NO on physician-assisted suicide. It puts people at risk & adds to the Rx drug epidemic. MD has rejected this 5 times. Let’s do it again. #wearecatholic #mdga2020 https://bit.ly/3bkwNK6 @Willcsmithjr
Help Maryland kids: Tell legislators to increase BOOST Scholarship funding to help families. BOOST empowers low-income families with new educational options. Applications increased 25% this year. #wearecatholic #mdga2020 https://bit.ly/2S9dVpZ @SenBillFerg @SpeakerAJones
MD workers need paid family leave. Only 17% of families have paid leave when they need to care for a child, sickness or ill family member. #TimetoCareMDAct would give workers 12 weeks of paid leave. #wearecatholic #MDGA2020 https://bit.ly/2SR7zKI @DelArianaKelly @AntonioHayes40
** Add the link in BOLD below each post to your Instagram bio, or add this link: www.mdcatholic.org/dayofaction
Today is Virtual Catholic Day of Action in Maryland! Please tell legislators to vote NO on physician-assisted suicide. It puts vulnerable people at risk & adds to the Rx drug epidemic. MD has rejected this 5 times. Let’s do it again. (LINK IN BIO) #wearecatholic @willcsmithjr @speakerpro1
Maryland families need us! Tell your legislators to say YES to more funding for the BOOST Scholarship Program. BOOST empowers low-income families, helps to bridge the achievement gap and breaks the cycle of poverty. Applications increased 25% this year, but there is a waitlist for scholarships so more funding is needed. (LINK IN BIO) #wearecatholic @mcintosh.maggie @senbillferg @speakerpro1 @michaelfor27b
Please help Maryland families today. Only 17% of working families have paid family leave when they need to take time off for a child, sickness or ill family member. The Time to Care Act would give Maryland workers the ability to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave when they need it. (LINK IN BIO) #wearecatholic @antoniohayes40 @delarianakelly Delegate Kris Valderrama
5. Invite others to join you.
Thank you again for taking part in Virtual Catholic Day of Action! These are important issues, and the more people who get involved, the better the chance we have have ensuring that physician-assisted suicide is not legalized, that low-income students still have access to BOOST scholarships and their best educational option, and that Marylanders can take paid time off when they face the birth or adoption of a child, an illness or family sickness. Consider sharing the post below on your social media or sending the draft email to your friends and family to encourage them to join in on the action!
It's Virtual Catholic Day of Action in Maryland! Will you join us? Speak up for life, education options and human rights in Maryland with @mdcathcon by writing and calling your elected leaders. Learn more and join in! #wearecatholic www.mdcatholic.org/dayofaction.
Dear friends and family,
Our Maryland state legislature is considering new legislation that will impact all of us and our families. That is why I am participating in Virtual Catholic Day of Action with the Maryland Catholic Conference today and I encourage you to do so too!
It’s easy. Go to www.mdcatholic.org/dayofaction to find the toolkit, click the links and send emails or make calls on key issues from wherever you are. There’s even information so you can learn more about the issues before you take action.
By participating in Virtual Catholic Day of Action, we can help protect the most vulnerable Marylanders from the dangerous practice of physician-assisted suicide; help secure the vital BOOST Scholarship program to empower more low-income families to choose Catholic schools for their children, and help ensure Marylanders have access to paid family leave through the Time to Care Act, which would provide workers with a portion of their pay should they need to take time off work to have or adopt a child, care for a sick loved one, or deal with their own illness.
I hope you’ll join me and Catholics across Maryland and make your voice heard! To learn more and find a step-by-step guide for taking action, visit www.mdcatholic.org/dayofaction.
6. Stay involved.
Virtual Catholic Day of Action is just one day out of the 90-day legislative session when we at the Maryland Catholic Conference need people to speak out on important issues. If you have not yet done so, please join our Catholic Advocacy Network. This is an online network of Catholics across Maryland who take action on numerous bills throughout the session. To join the Catholic Advocacy Network CLICK HERE.
Looking to get even more involved? Consider becoming a Parish Legislative Ambassador for your parish. To sign up to volunteer as a Parish Legislative Ambassador CLICK HERE.
We believe prayer is powerful. Join us in prayer on social media every Monday for our state elected leaders during the legislative session, or pray on your own. To learn more and get the prayer CLICK HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. My legislator doesn't agree with the church on these issues. Why should I even bother sending them a message or calling?
As a Catholic, you are one of more than 1 million Marylanders who share our faith. Standing together, we are a strong voice worth listening to. Studies have shown that when it comes to voting on an issue, the people who truly help shape a legislator's vote are their constituents, a.k.a. people like you. Even if your elected Senator or Delegate doesn't personally agree with you, they still represent you and you have a right to speak with them and share with them where you stand on important issues like these. We have seen the power of speaking up change the tide for issues, so it's never a waste of time to send a message or make a phone call.
If your elected Senator or Delegate doesn't agree with you, it might be helpful to remind them just how much of an impact Catholics like you are having their district. To download the Catholic Impact for your legislative district, CLICK HERE.
2. I don't know who my state legislators are. How can I find out?
Finding your legislators is easy! Simply CLICK HERE to go to the state website where you can put in your home address and it will identify your legislator for you.
3. How do I know my messages will go to the right person?
The Maryland Catholic Conference has an online system for sending messages to legislators. When you fill out the form with your home address on the action page, this system is able to identify your state Senator and Delegates based on where you live and send your message directly to them. Be sure to use your home address.
4. I used to come to Catholic in Annapolis (formerly, Lobby Night). Why is there no lobby night this year?
Thank you for being part of our Catholics in Annapolis in the past! This year, we are trying something new to get even more people involved in contacting legislators. We know that many people will miss coming to Annapolis this year in person — and you should always feel free to reach out to visit your elected representatives — but we are excited for the new opportunities a Virtual Catholic Day of Action offers to those who can’t make it to Annapolis.
5. Why these issues?
More than 3,000 bills are introduced each session in Maryland, and the Maryland Catholic Conference works to identify, follow and advocate on many issues. The timing, need for direct action, and other considerations guide our focus at different times during the session. All three of these important issues are currently pending before the General Assembly and would have a significant impact on our faith and those we serve. This isn’t the only day we will ask you join us and take action or the only issues on which we’ll ask you to lend your voice. To make sure you are aware of all the issues we are working on, please sign up for our Catholic Advocacy Network and please visit our testimony page HERE.
6. I took the action and I shared about it with my network. Now what?
If you have not done so already, please join our Catholic Advocacy Network so we can keep you up-to-date on these issues, and others, as they progress throughout the session. To join the Catholic Advocacy Network CLICK HERE. If you've joined the network, taken these action and shared them with your friends and family, THANK YOU! We couldn't do this without you.