Looking for Nonviolence and Active Bystander Intervention Training?

What Kind of Nonviolence Training Do You Need?
Read Rivera Sun’s round-up on types of nonviolence training to determine what will work best for your group. Read Rose Berger’s When You See Something … Act (April 2017 Sojourners).

Are you looking for Peace Team, Active Bystander and Nonviolent  Intervention Training?

What you’ll learn: In this training, participants learn skills for nonviolently interrupting vio lence and discrimination, hate, intolerance, intimidation and harassment. They learn de-escalation skills, documentation skills, intervention and disruption skills, protective accompaniment, peace team and unarmed peacekeeping skills. Role-playing is often an essential part of the training process.

When to use this training: You see verbal abuse happening on the subway, or in line at the grocery store. You live in an area where discrimination and intolerance is visible and vocal. You are going to a situation where there is likely to be hate crimes, verbal abuse, active discrimination, or tensions around difference that could lead to violent and abusive situations.

Who offers it:

D.C. Peace Teams
Michigan-Meta Peace Team
Kit Bonson at the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition (email: mococivilrights@gmail.com)
Tameka Bell at Story Fuel Strategies (See her training description.)
Green Dot
Hollaback
Beautiful Trouble

What if I want to facilitate my own Active Bystander and Nonviolent Intervention Training?

While we recommend inviting trainers who have a broad expertise in nonviolence and a variety of conflict situations, anyone can facilitate an introductory training with a few basic tools.

Contact Kit Bonson at the Montgomery County (Md) Civil Rights Coalition (mococivilrights@gmail.com) to request the training curriculum used by Swamp Revolt at the 23 trainings held in the greater D.C. area on Inauguration Day.

Materials for Nonviolence & Active Bystander Intervention Trainings
Want to learn how to de-escalate hate speech and harassment and better understand what it means to (safely) stick up for your neighbor with compassion and resolve?

Take 32 minutes to complete the following self-study on the basics:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Principles of Bystander Intervention by Kit Bonson (2 minutes)
  2. Read Six Principles of Nonviolence by Michael Nagler (6 minutes)
  3. Watch Ken Brown explain the science behind bystander effect and active bystander effect: The bystander effect is complicated — here’s why(16 minutes)
  4. Study this illustration on Islamophobic Harassment by French artist Marie-Shirine Yener about how to help if you witness public harassment of a Muslim woman (3 minutes)
  5. Review and personally commit to the Nonviolence Pledge (5 minutes) and see the Meta Center’s Pledge of Resistance.

 

Go Deeper in Nonviolent Civil Resistance and Active Bystander Intervention
Want to learn more about the broader social movement for civil resistance to injustice and how to build stronger, more inclusive, democratic communities?

  1. Read Education and Training in Nonviolent Resistance by Nadine Bloch (20 minutes)
  2. Watch Standing Up for Racial Justice’s video, Don’t Be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks (4 minutes)

Led Down the Path of Protest and Dissent

Our friends over at Radical Discipleship are hosting a Lenten journey through Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech. Last autumn I was asked to make a contribution and it was posted yesterday.

Led Down the Path of Protest and Dissent
By Rose Marie Berger, a senior associate editor at Sojourners magazine

Now it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.” It can never be saved so long as it destroys the hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that “America will be” are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.–Martin Luther King Jr
———–

Between the first and second sentence of this paragraph, Brother Martin fully entered into his “vocation of agony.”

Between these two–the first, where he holds America accountable to the ideals of her founding and the second, where he begins his sharpest theological critique to date–King “sets his face like flint” (Luke 9:51; Isaiah 50:7) toward the center of military empire: Washington, D.C.

The Riverside speech launches the next phase of King’s ministry. Now he will address the mechanism of empire–not just its bitter fruits. Now he will hold America accountable not only to her founding ideals but to God.

In that space between “the present war” and “America’s soul,” an assassin snicked his soft-nosed bullet into a 30-06 rifle.

King names America as “Hope-Destroyer;” Vietnam is what the Prophet Jeremiah calls a “high place of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire for burnt-offerings” (19:5). … [read the rest at Radical Discipleship]

March 7: Feast Day of Perpetua and Felicity

Perpetua was a 22 year old married Christian woman who lived in Carthage (modern day Tunisia) during the first century. She had given birth to a son a few months before she was arrested for her faith, under the persecutions of Septimus Severus.

Excerpt from Perpetua’s diary:

While we were still under arrest (she said) my father out of love for me was trying to persuade me and shake my resolution. ‘Father,’ said I, ‘do you see this vase here, for example, or waterpot or whatever?’

‘Yes, I do’, said he.

And I told him: ‘Could it be called by any other name than what it is?’

And he said: ‘No.’

‘Well, so too I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.’

A pregnant slave, Felicity, with her husband Revocatus and six other African Christian men were also arrested. The group were kept together in a house for several weeks, during which time Felicity had her baby. Around this day in 202, they were gathered together and taken to the games. Contemporary accounts say they left joyfully ‘as though they were on their way to heaven’.

The group were all killed by wild animals in front of the crowds. Perpetua and Felicity are said to have clung to each other and prayed so much that they became unaware of what was happening to them. Both were mauled by a heifer. The men were killed by leopards and bears. Perpetua had her throat cut by a gladiator.

The feast of these martyrs soon became very famous throughout the Christian world. It was recorded in the Roman and Syriac calenders as well as in the Martyrology of St Jerome. In 1907 an inscription in their honour was discovered in Carthage in the Basilica Majorum where they were buried.

Francis Stratmann: ‘The souls of the well-intentioned’

I had a wonderful Skype interview with Jim Forest this morning. It’s great to be able to see one another’s faces, laughter, tears, and even a pesky sleek feline who likes to sit on Jim’s lap.

In the course of our conversation he mentioned a German Catholic priest who was head of the German Catholic Peace Union in the 1930s and wrote a significant book, War and Christianity Today. His name was Francis Stratmann, OP.

In learning more about Stratmann, I came across an excerpt from a letter he wrote on April 10, 1933, to Cardinal Faulhaber. This was less than a month after the German Catholic bishops had accepted the legitimacy of the National Socialist government and rescinded their mandate that Catholics could not support National Socialism.

“The souls of the well-intentioned are deflated by the National Socialist seizure of power, and I speak nothing but the truth when I say that the bishops’ authority is weakened among countless Catholics and non-Catholics because of their quasi-approbation of the National Socialist movement.”–Francis Stratmann, OP, to Cardinal Faulhaber in Munich (April 10, 1933) [from Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, by Robert Krieg]

Stratmann’s German Catholic Peace Union was banned in July 1931 when their offices were raided by 26 men and Stratmann and others had to flee the country. Gordon Zahn’s German Catholics and Hitler’s War tells this story well.

I was struck to my heart’s core at reading this. Our souls are indeed “deflated” by the current “seizure of power.”–Rose Berger

Catholic Bishop McElroy Calls ‘All to Become Disruptors’

“President Trump was the candidate of “disruption.” He was “the disruptor,” he said, challenging the operations of our government and society that need reform.

Well now, we must all become disruptors. We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. We must disrupt those who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor. We must disrupt those who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.

But we, as people of faith, as disciples of Jesus Christ, as children of Abraham, as followers of the Prophet Muhammad, as people of all faiths and no faith, we cannot merely be disruptors, we also have to be rebuilders.”–Bishop McElroy

To read Bishop McElroy’s whole statement, see below.

SAN DIEGO CATHOLIC BISHOP CALLS LEADERS TO DISRUPT AND REBUILD

MODESTO,  Calif., Feb. 18, 2017 – The Most Rev. Robert W. McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, today delivered the following comments at the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements during a panel discussion on the barriers marginalized people face in housing and work:

For the past century, from the worker movements of Catholic action in France, Belgium and Italy to Pope John XXXIII’s call to re-structure the economies of the world in “Mater et Magistra,” to the piercing missionary message of the Latin American Church at Aparecida, the words “see,” “judge” and “act” have provided a powerful pathway for those who seek to renew the temporal order in the light of the Gospel and justice.

As the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace described this pathway, it lies in “seeing clearly the situation, judging with principles that foster the integral development of people and acting in a way which implements these principles in the light of everyone’s unique situation.”

There is no greater charter for this gathering taking place here in Modesto in these days than the simple but rich architecture of these three words: “see,” “judge” and “act.” Yet these words — which carry with them such a powerful history of social transformation around the world in service to the dignity of the human person — must be renewed and re-examined at every age and seen against the background of those social, economic and political forces in each historical moment.

In the United States we stand at a pivotal moment as a people and a nation, in which bitter divisions cleave our country and pollute our national dialogue.

In our reflections in these days, here, we must identify the ways in which our very ability to see, judge and act on behalf of justice is being endangered by cultural currents which leave us isolated, embittered and angry. We must make the issues of jobs, housing, immigration, economic disparities and the environment foundations for common efforts rather than of division.  We must see prophetic words and prophetic actions which produce unity and cohesion and we must do so in the spirit of hope which is realistic. For as Pope Francis stated to the meeting in Bolivia: “You are sowers of change,” and sowers never lose hope.
See Clearly the Situation

One of the most striking elements of “Laudato Si” is its clear and bold analysis of the empirical realities that threaten the Earth which is our common home. “Seeing the situation clearly” is the whole foundation for that encyclical. It is the starting point for transformative justice. Pope Francis was unafraid to venture into this controversial set of questions about climate change and the environment despite the fact that massive social and economic forces, especially within our own country, have conspired to obscure the scientific realities of climate change and environmental degradation, in the very same way that the tobacco companies obscured for decades the medical science pertaining to smoking.

There is a lesson for us here, as agents of change and justice. Never be afraid to speak the truth. Always find your foundation for reflection and action in the fullness of empirical reality. Design strategies for change upon ever fuller dissemination of truths, even when they seem inconvenient to the cause.

This is an especially important anchor for us, in an age in which truth itself is under attack.

Pope Benedict lamented the diminishment of attention to the importance of objective truth in public life and discourse.  Now we come to a time when alternate facts compete with real facts, and whole industries have arisen to shape public opinion in destructively isolated and dishonest patterns. The dictum “see clearly the situation” has seldom been more difficult in our society in the United States.

Yet the very realities which our speakers this morning have all pointed to in capturing the depth of marginalization in housing, work and economic equality within the United States point us toward the clarification and the humanization of truth, which leads to a deeper grasp of the realities of injustice and marginalization that confront our nation.

As Pope Francis underscored in his words to the Popular Movements in Bolivia, “When we look into the eyes of the suffering, when we see the faces of the endangered campesino, the poor laborer, the downtrodden native, the homeless family, the persecuted migrant, the unemployed young person and the exploited child, we have seen and heard not a cold statistic but the pain of a suffering humanity, our own pain, our own flesh.”

One of the most important elements of your work as agents of justice in our midst in this country in this moment, is to help our society as a whole become more attuned to this reality of humanized truth, through narrative and witness, listening and solidarity. In this way, you not only witness to the truth through the lives and experiences of the marginalized, you help us all to see the most powerful realities of our world in greater depth.

Those realities embrace both scientific findings and stories of tragedy, economic analysis and the tears of the human heart. “See clearly the situation” is not merely a step in your work on behalf of justice, it shapes everything that you do to transform our world.

Judging with Principles to Foster Integral Development
The fundamental political question of our age is whether our economic structures and systems in the United States will enjoy ever greater autonomy or whether they will be located effectively within a juridical structure which seeks to safeguard the dignity of the human person and the common good of our nation.

In that battle, the tradition of Catholic social teaching is unequivocally on the side of strong governmental and societal protections for the powerless, the worker, the homeless, the hungry, those without decent medical care, the unemployed. This stance of the Church’s teaching flows from the teaching of the Book of Genesis: The creation is the gift of God to all of humanity. Thus in the most fundamental way, there is a universal destination for all of the material goods that exist in this world. Wealth is a common heritage, not at its core a right of lineage or acquisition.

For this reason, free markets do not constitute a first principle of economic justice. Their moral worth is instrumental in nature and must be structured by government to accomplish the common good.

In Catholic teaching, the very rights which are being denied in our society to large numbers of those who live in our nation are intrinsic human rights in Catholic teaching: The right to medical care; to decent housing; to the protection of human life from conception to natural death; of the right to food; of the right to work. Catholic teaching sees these rights not merely as points for negotiation, provided only if there is excess in society after the workings of the free market system accomplished their distribution of the nation’s wealth. Rather, these rights are basic claims which every man, woman and family has upon our nation as a whole.

These are the fundamental principles which the Church points to as the basis for judgement for every political and social program that structures economic life within the United States. And they are supplemented in Catholic teaching by a grave suspicion about enormous levels of economic inequality in society. Pope Francis made clear the depth of this suspicion two years ago. “Inequality,” he said, “is the root of social evil.”

In his encyclical “The Joy of the Gospel,” Francis unmasked inequality as the foundation for a process of exclusion that cuts immense segments of society off from meaningful participation in social, political and economic life, as we have all heard this morning. It gives rise to a financial system that rules rather than serves humanity and a capitalism that literally kills those who have no utility as consumers.

Now, when I quote the Pope that “this economy kills,” people very often say to me, “Oh come on, that’s just an exaggeration; it’s a form of speech.”

I want to do an experiment with you. I want you to sit back in your chair for a moment. And close your eyes, and I want you to think of someone you have known that our economy has killed:  A senior who can’t afford medicine or rent; a mother or father who is dying, working two and three jobs, really dying because even then they can’t provide for their kids; young people who can’t find their way in the world in which there is no job for them, and they turn to drugs, or gangs or suicide. Think of one person you know that this economy has killed.

Now mourn them.

And now call out their name; let all the world know that this economy kills.
For Catholic social teaching, the surest pathway to economic justice is the provision of meaningful and sustainable work for all men and women capable of work. The “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” states, “Economic and social imbalances in the world of work must be addressed by restoring a just hierarchy of values and placing the dignity of workers before all else.”

In work, the Church proclaims, men and women find not only the most sustainable avenue to economic security but also become co-creators with God in the world in which we live. Work is thus profoundly a sacred reality. It protects human dignity even as it spiritually enriches that dignity. If we truly are in our work co-creators with God, don’t we think that deserves at least $15 an hour?

Acting

After the panel yesterday, when the panelists were asked in one word how they would summarize their message, I tried to think, what is the “act” that summarizes how we must act in this moment?

And I came up with two words. The first has been provided in our past election. President Trump was the candidate of “disruption.” He was “the disruptor,” he said, challenging the operations of our government and society that need reform.

Well now, we must all become disruptors. We must disrupt those who would seek to send troops into our streets to deport the undocumented, to rip mothers and fathers from their families. We must disrupt those who portray refugees as enemies rather than our brothers and sisters in terrible need. We must disrupt those who train us to see Muslim men, women and children as forces of fear rather than as children of God. We must disrupt those who seek to rob our medical care, especially from the poor. We must disrupt those who would take even food stamps and nutrition assistance from the mouths of children.

But we, as people of faith, as disciples of Jesus Christ, as children of Abraham, as followers of the Prophet Muhammad, as people of all faiths and no faith, we cannot merely be disruptors, we also have to be rebuilders.

We have to rebuild this nation so that we place at its heart the service to the dignity of the human person and assert what the American flag behinds us asserts is our heritage: Every man, woman and child is equal in this nation and called to be equal.

We must rebuild a nation in solidarity, what Catholic teaching calls the sense that all of us are the children of the one God, there are no children of a lesser god in our midst. That all of us are called to be cohesive and embrace one another and see ourselves as graced by God. We are called to rebuild our nation which does pay $15 an hour in wages, and provides decent housing, clothing and food for those who are poorest. And we need to rebuild our Earth, which is so much in danger by our own industries.

So let us see and judge and act.
Let us disrupt and rebuild in solidarity and peace.
And let us do God’s work.

–Most Rev. Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, Calif.

Pope Francis to World Popular Movements First U.S. Meeting

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organizations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all that you are doing.

I would like to thank the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its chairman Bishop David Talley, and the host Bishops Stephen Blaire, Armando Ochoa and Jaime Soto, for the wholehearted support they have offered to this meeting. Thank you, Cardinal Peter Turkson, for your continued support of popular movements from the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. It makes me very happy to see you working together towards social justice! How I wish that such constructive energy would spread to all dioceses, because it builds bridges between peoples and individuals. These are bridges that can overcome the walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance.

I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organizing”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbors, organizing among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.

A few months ago in Rome, we talked at the third World Meeting of Popular Movements about walls and fear, about bridges and love.[1] Without wanting to repeat myself, these issues do challenge our deepest values.

We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”[2]

As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.”[3] These are signs of the times that we need to recognize in order to act. We have lost valuable time: time when we did not pay enough attention to these processes, time when we did not resolve these destructive realities. Thus the processes of dehumanization accelerate. The direction taken beyond this historic turning-point—the ways in which this worsening crisis gets resolved—will depend on people’s involvement and participation and, largely, on yourselves, the popular movements.
Continue reading “Pope Francis to World Popular Movements First U.S. Meeting”

Video: Arturo Sosa Addresses Latin American Theologians in Boston

Arturo Sosa is the current head of the worldwide Jesuit order. (Pope Francis is a Jesuit. The movie Silence is the story of Jesuits in Japan in the 1600s.)

This 5-minute video by Sosa gives context and direction to the leadership Pope Francis is offering the church and the world.

It was part of a unique gathering that just concluded at Boston College on the theology of Latin America. See an excerpt from the press release below:

The weeklong conference examined the role of liberation theology as Pope Francis and the Catholic Church respond to issues of globalization, migration and economic exclusion, said Boston College School of Theology and Ministry professor Rafael Luciani, a co-organizer of the conference with his Boston College colleague, professor Felix Palazzi.

Luciani said the theologians – among them professors, priests and Vatican officials – will return to their communities in the U.S., Latin America, and Spain with a renewed commitment to the Pope’s reforms and a deeper understanding of the pontiff’s own thinking, rooted in the “theology of the people” and liberation theology.

Two papal representatives, Cardinal Baltazar Porras, of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, and Bishop Raúl Biord Castillo, SDB, together will present the group’s work to Pope Francis. Research and analysis from the theologians is scheduled to publish in a book later this year, said Luciani, a lay theologian from Venezuela.

The work of the conference is of particular importance in efforts to better serve Hispanic Catholics, who make up the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. church. Worldwide, more than 65 percent of Catholics live in the “Global South,” which includes Latin America and Africa.

Attending the conference were some of the leading figures in the birth of liberation theology, including Juan Carlos Scannone, SJ, a founding philosopher of the “theology of the people” and the pope’s seminary instructor, and Notre Dame University Professor Gustavo Gutiérrez, OP, regarded as the founder of liberation theology.

Fr. Scannone reminded participants that the pope has called the poor “protagonists” and “makers of history.” He told the conference: “The poor should not just feel at home in church. They should feel like the heart of the Church.”

 

Ched Myers: Lay Bare the Root

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“Radical Discipleship is about nothing more and nothing less than laying bare the roots of the personal and socio-political pathologies of our imperial society and its dead-end history, even as we seek to recover the roots of our deep biblical tradition: namely, the messianic movement of rebellion and restoration, of repentance and renewal, a ‘Way out of no way’ that has been going on since the dawn of resistance to the dusk of empire.” —Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries

Jan. 30: Gandhian Resistance by Joan Chittister

gandhiJANUARY 30, ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF MAHATMA GANDHI

Mahatma Gandhi is a strong, unwavering figure whose light has lit many a road. Martin Luther King, Jr and the Civil Rights Movement walked the way that Gandhi led and brought segregation to an end. Cesar Chavez and the migrant farmworkers walked the way that Gandhi led and made Hispanic farmworkers a power to be reckoned with rather than an invisible minority to be exploited. The peace movement around the world has walked the way that Gandhi led and forced the end of the Vietnam War, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines, and the end of nuclear innocence.

Gandhi asked us to critique government and law according to a higher law. Gandhi reminded us to be patient with others, to do no one harm, to pursue truth with passion.

Gandhi demands that our political involvement and our personal responses be based on a spirituality so deep, a spiritual attunement so constant, a spiritual vision so broad that no personal ambition, no selfish gains, no parochial interests corrupt the depth of our commitment nor the openness of our hearts. No seed ever sees the flower, Zen teaches. Those who follow Gandhi, may, like him, never know their successes. But like Gandhi, too, they will never really know defeat.—by Joan Chittister (adapted from A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God; Orbis, Devotional Edition)

Track Trump and Other Useful Spiritual Tools in an Age of Political Chaos

trowel-1My head spins, my stomach sickens, and my heart hurts when I dip in to all the political chaos with real life consequences coming from the Trump administration. It’s hard to sort news from political theater (both from the administration and from the reactionists).

I’m determined to be a good steward of my emotional and spiritual energy during this season of hate. For me, that means staying informed in a concise, not emotional manner and using my energy wisely in determining effective responses and — more importantly — effective leadership in the direction we want as a community or country to go.

Number one item is prayer and rooting ourselves in the biblical narrative and rituals. These will remind us that we’ve been in seasons like this before. This will encourage us that God sees, hears, remembers, and knows.

Torah scholar Avivah Zornberg writes: “The basic requirement for freedom (‘redemption’) is the awareness of ‘exile,’ the groan of conscious alienation. To be in exile and not to feel it—this needs a ‘great salvation.’” (The Particulars of Rapture).

Many American Christians are just waking up to their exile. (Others have known the experience for a long time.)

Here are some helpful tools I’ve found for responsibly keeping track of Trump administration actions while protecting my soul and spiritual life from the corrosion of the political theater:

Best podcast/radio show for understanding media, coverage of Trump administration, and tracking the story beneath the story is WNYC’s On the Media with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield.

Best site for keeping up on policy movement. Track Trump – This site was established by 4 computer geek and history guys who “believe it is important that citizens have the ability to understand and follow in real-time policy changes that will impact their lives.”

Over the first 100 days of the Trump administration they “will track and document the policies put into place by the Trump administration,” concentrating on tracking the specific policy pledges from the Trump campaign’s “Contract with the American Voter.” These include policies on: immigration, trade, economics, energy and climate, federal government, education, healthcare, and safety. Track Trump’s goal is to “isolate actual policy changes from rhetoric and political theater.”

At Track Trump you’ll find links to primary sources (memos of executive actions, transcripts, etc). What you will not find is analysis or implications or consequences from actions taken by the Trump administration. Also Track Trump does not track policy actions that are not part of the core themes in Mr. Trump’s Contract with the American Voter.

I signed up for Trump Tracker immediately. It helps me cut through the public chaos.

**

FacingHistoryDemocracyToolbox760x570Another good place to look is the New York Times’ Tracking Trump’s Agenda, Step by Step. This site is updated regularly to track President Trump’s action “on several of his major priorities, but most of his proposals require moves by Congress or pose other significant obstacles. Possible paths are described below, though other options exist.” You do not have to be a NYT subscriber to get email updates from this site.

This site tracks policies but also tells you what has to happen next. For example, Mr. Trump has signed an executive memorandum to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline and the next step is that it must be approved by the State Department. I wish this site sent you to primary source material on the topics it covers. It sends you to NYT articles covering the topics instead. But combined the Trump Tracker, this covers a lot of information in a clear way.

(There is also a page tracking Mr. Trump’s Cabinet that lists the members, their positions, and whether they are appointees or must go through a confirmation process and dates and times of confirmation hearings.)

**

Here’s a good article on tracking Trump and national security and international affairs. Tracking Trump’s National-Security Conflicts of Interest by Caroline Houck at Defense One, which is run by Atlantic Media (The Atlantic, National Journal, Quartz). Defense One “delivers news, breaking analysis and ideas on the topics and trends that will define the future of U.S. defense and national security.” Houck’s article is “as complete an accounting of Trump’s overseas financial interests as could be gleaned from open-source reporting, including the financial disclosure form he filed as a presidential candidate.” Houck will update the article as information comes to light about Mr. Trump’s financial interests, including projects that are cancelled or moving ahead. This site also provides fairly decent analysis of national security issues, but I appreciate it for the links to primary sources. (The Sunlight Foundation is another excellent source of information on this, especially Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest, but the information is not as well organized.)

A few sites or articles  worth checking are: Politifacts’ Trump-O-Meter that tracks Mr. Trump’s campaign promises and Vice’s All the Laws and Executive Orders Trump Has Signed So Far.

I have not found a good aggregator of lawsuits initiated in response to Trump administration policies. If you find one, let me know. And if you’ve found other helpful tools for responsible engagement, please add them in the comments below.