YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=mp4h-3vQafk
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Duration:03:30
Uploaded:2016-06-17
Last sync:2018-11-08 18:50
Hannah's video (which I mention): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maIqBhtTxrQ

In this episode of Vlogbrothers, whether you're 5 or 95, HANK GIVES YOU HOMEWORK! Because I know that's what you're here for. Boom.

In America, every person has two senators that represent them in the Senate, they are the senators for your state. You also have a representative, you can find out who your congress people are here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/

Then you can google those people and find their addresses. You can also google them along with any issue and find a fair amount about how they vote on stuff.

You also have people who represent you at the state level...you should feel free to write one of them a letter as well.

If you live somewhere else, use your fingers and push on the letters on your physical or software based keyboard until Google / wikipedia tells you how your country works. I do not know.

You wanna look at my letters? Oh, how intimate!

I basically sent the same letter to both Steve Daines (Senate) and Ryan Zinke (House) who have very similar positions. It's this one:

To the Honorable Steve Daines,
My name is Hank Green, I own a business in Missoula creating education media. I’m proud to employ over 20 Montanans. We just moved into a nice new office downtown if you would ever like to come visit.

I am writing this in the wake of the attacks in Orlando. Not only were 49 people killed in that night club but, the night before, a colleague of mine, Christina Grimmie, was killed by a man with a violent history who had purchased two guns the week before.

I know that we are Montanans and that guns are a part of our history and our culture. I have no interest in ending my neighbors access to firearms. However, we have a problem, and we need to take steps to address it. I believe it is time for you to consider a change in your position. I would like that you consider working to:

1. Ban the sale or transfer of assault rifles such as the ones used in the Orlando, Aurora, and San Bernardino murders.
2. Allow the CDC to study gun violence as a public health issue.

I know this is a lot to ask, and that it is unlikely that you will change your heart on any of these issues. But after losing my friend, and knowing so many others did this weekend as well, I could not, in good conscience, move forward without asking this of you.

Thank you for your public service,

Hank Green
Montanan, business owner, and educator.

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This one is to Jon Tester...we agree more often:

To the Honorable Jon Tester
My name is Hank Green, I own a business in Missoula creating education media. I’m proud to employ over 20 Montanans. We just moved into a nice new office downtown if you would ever like to come visit.

I am writing this in the wake of the attacks in Orlando. Not only were 49 people killed in that night club but, the night before, a colleague of mine, Christina Grimmie, was killed by a man with a violent history who had purchased two guns the week before.

I would like to thank you for your support of common sense gun regulations. You provide the exact kind of leadership on this issue that I would ask of you. I know this is not an easy position to have in Montana, and that your moderate views hurt you. Don't think that goes unnoticed.

After the recent shootings, I'd like to ask you to work in Congress for the following:

1. A ban on high-capacity magazines for rifles
2. Re-instating funding for the CDC to study and fund the study of gun violence as a public health issue.

I am very pleased to be able to support you and look forward to doing so in 2018. Thank you for your public service,

Hank Green
Montanan, business owner, and educator.


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Good morning, John.  What are you doing tonight?  In fact, everybody watching, what are you all doing tonight?  Watching some movies, maybe?  Gotta see some TV?  Scroll through the infinite scroll on Tumblr, maybe, or on Facebook?  Maybe you're gonna catch up a little on work, read a book, do some errands.  No.  I'm not gonna let you do any of those things.  Instead, we, all of us, we're gonna do a thing together, and no exceptions.  We are all going to write a letter to someone who represents us in government.  It's an assignment.  You're watching a video, and in return, you're getting homework, basically.  If you don't want to write a letter, put a stamp on it, and put it in the mail, stop watching this video right now, 'cause I'm gonna make you feel really guilty if you don't do it, unless you live in a country that doesn't have democracy, in which case, it is your responsibility to make all of us who do live in democracies feel real guilty for not sending letters.  

So I'm going to talk about how to send a good letter to your government representative or someone who works in your government.  I'm actually writing one of my letters by hand.  Now, of course, this is not necessary, but I'm doing this because I know that this is all about time capital, it's about value, and sending an email is easy, while writing a letter by hand, then hand-delivering it to the person's office, that's hard.  That's more likely to get noticed, and the nutty thing is, these letters actually matter.  

I actually had a hard time believing this, but I've talked to a lot of staffers from congressional offices and they agree, letters matter and phone calls matter, and they matter more than Twitter and email, because they show that the constituent cares more.  A letter to a government representative should be respectful, no curse words, no anger.  It should outline who you are and that you are a part of the community that that person represents.  You can outline how you are a part of that community if you wish.  You should also get to the point really fast.  If there's a way that this particular issue is affecting you in particular or you have a personal story, you should share that, but do it quickly, and without griping.  Outline, ideally, somehow separated a little bit from the rest of the letter, what exactly you are requesting.  

I'm asking for a ban on assault rifles in America, and for Congress to allow the CDC to study and fund the study of the public health effects on guns after a 20 year ban.  It's important to understand this particular representative's perspectives on the issue that you care about, so you know whether to thank them for their positions or not.  I've put some info in the description for how to find government representatives and how to look up their voting records.  Remember to include your address on the envelope in case they want to write you back, which, remarkably, they often do.  

I actually wrote three letters, one to each of my senators and one to my representative, the text of which can be found in the description, feel free to pull from those or to be inspired by them, but of course, make them different.  Form letters are noticed immediately by staffers and not given the same weight.  Of course, your issue can be whatever you want your issue to be, but I want us, as a community, to reach out to our governments, whatever country you're in, and let them know that we care about our countries.  

After watching Hannah's video this week, I simply could not not do this.  Right now, or tonight, but in the next 24 hours, do this thing.  Do it for me, do it for you, do it for your country, do it for whatever you want to do it for.  When we confine our shouting to the Internet, to Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and talking to other people who agree with us, it might make ourselves feel better and feel righteous, but we are not on the path that creates the most change.  So one day, for one hour, instead of doing whatever you were gonna do tonight, do this thing.  

If you've written your letter, if you want to share it, you can send it to me on Snapchat or Twitter or Facebook or Tumblr.  You can use the hashtag or tag, if you're on a place that supports those things, so you can see other peoples' letters, and if you see them, thank them for sending their letter.  

Thank you for doing this.  I found it empowering and a little scary, but if you're not doing something that scares you every once in a while, you're doing it wrong.  John, I'll see you on Tuesday.