Who We Are
Meet the Momentum started in June 2020 with a group of recent college graduates, who, like so many others, were horrified by the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. We wanted to get involved but were frustrated by the lack of comprehensive resources available to learn, engage, and advocate about the desperately-needed policing reforms in the United States. Together, we decided to make one.
The idea for Meet the Momentum sprang into being when a recent college graduate thought critically about how she could help work against racist police brutality. A stunted attempt at contacting her lawmakers opened her eyes to a large gap in the national movement: streets were filled with protesters, social media was full of resources, and people were signing their names to petitions and letters to congresspeople. But practically no one was personally contacting their lawmakers.
The offhandedness with which “contact your lawmakers” is thrown around ignores the fact that the vast majority of American citizens do not consider doing so a real option for them, either because they think they do not know enough, think it will not have any influence, or it simply is not something they see themselves doing. Frustrated by the fact that a presumably viable avenue for participating in the democratic process seemed out of reach, our founder reached out to other civic-minded individuals.
Assembly, Advocacy, Audience
A flurry of phone calls later, a small but mighty team of seven recent graduates set out to develop a resource to make it easier for people to contact their lawmakers about police reform.
But before we could dive into creating the resource, we had to answer a few key questions: First off, where would we focus our advocacy? We decided that Meet the Momentum would concern itself with police reform advocacy at the state level. State governments make key policy decisions about policing. Additionally, state lawmakers often represent smaller numbers of constituents compared to Federal representatives. One person contacting his state representatives can potentially have a significant impact on state legislator’s voting decisions.
Secondly, we had to decide: who was the website for? While the path to find the answer had several twists and turns, the answer was quite simple: Meet the Momentum is for anyone and everyone, no matter where they may fall on the spectrum of political engagement or ideology, so long as they recognize the need for reform in matters of policing.
Choosing Issues and Format
This group acknowledged that there is no universally agreed-upon best route to ending racist violence in policing, and focused on equipping people to advocate for what made sense to them. The issues we selected were all impactful if properly implemented and politically achievable. The team was careful to avoid advocating for anything that was not well established as an effective policy, and in areas where more research or data reporting was necessary, Meet the Momentum simply pushed for increased data reporting to inform future policy decisions. We were also careful to only endorse policy solutions which were sure to contribute positively to the goal of ending racist policing and other negative issues related to law enforcement.
During this process, the group began to realize a tough tradeoff between convenience and freedom in the world of policy advocacy. The easiest possible option is to one-click sign your name to something you haven’t read. The option with the most agency and individuality calls for detailed research, a thorough understanding of an issue, and a decision about which solution to pursue. Basically, it is easy to have someone tell you what to think and difficult to decide for yourself. The difficulty of picking one’s way through the complicated legal landscape of police brutality can make gaining a deep understanding prohibitively difficult.
In an attempt to build a bridge between these two options, the MtM team developed this website with thorough yet accessible explanations of a buffet of issues related to police reform. The email templates allow for a pre-drafted, less time-consuming option, while the page about how to write an email from scratch allows for a more original, more long-form option. Information about where a state already stands on an issue allows website users to focus energy where it is most needed, and not discredit themselves by asking for a change which has already been made or is already in motion. Web page visitors can choose the issue(s) most salient for them and advocate for that issue in the format that best fits their comfort level.
Creating a Unique Resource
Everyone comes to the issue of racist police brutality from their own background and through their own entry point. It should not take a law degree for someone to be confident in advocating for reforms that they think make sense. Meet the Momentum is unique in its ability to serve anyone who sees a need for change in the way their state approaches policing. Political views should not prohibit someone from being able to use this website. Time constraints or desire for more information should not prohibit someone from being able to use this website. Perhaps easiest to overlook, and outside the realm of balance striking, is the consolidation of information about existing policies in every state. Without some degree of comfort navigating state legislature websites and the language in bills and laws, it can be difficult to know which relevant laws might already exist. This website reopens a door which had been effectively closed to most people, with the specific goal of ending racist police violence in America.
Let’s Meet the Momentum.