It began just five weeks ago with a handful of concerned Hawaii residents showing up unannounced at the Honolulu offices of the state’s congressional delegation.

Since then, it has become a regular Tuesday event, a midday flash mob of sorts that has grown in size and fortified its purpose.

Some group members wear the “pink pussy hats” that were made famous by the Women’s March on Washington (as well one as in Honolulu) the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz meets with members of Indivisible Hawaii on Tuesday in his Honolulu office.

Indivisible Hawaii

Many carry cameras and smart phones, taking pictures and recording video. Some hold notepads with questions they wish to ask senators and representatives.

The movement, called Indivisible Hawaii, has now grown to more than 1,000 people, and it includes a 10-week-old baby and several senior citizens.

Inspired by a national movement called Indivisible that includes more than 4,500 groups around the country, its purpose is to flood congressional district offices and events, and to keep the phones ringing.

Why?

So that the lawmakers understand just how upset people are about the nascent Trump administration.

“I am deeply concerned about the direction of our country,” said Indivisible Hawaii member Huiwen Leo, a Kailua resident. “I am worried about Trump’s potential ties to Russia and am angry that his business conflicts of interest mean he may be using the presidency to profit his own family.”

She continued: “I am deeply concerned that a political operative like Steve Bannon on the National Security Council may make decisions for political reasons rather than for our national security.”

It Worked For The Tea Party

Indivisible Hawaii member Lisa Gibson say the activity is a way to act on her concerns about the country.

“It got me excited, because the only way to fight, to preserve our democracy, is to get citizens involved,” said Gibson, president of Rising Tide Economics, an innovation and technology planning group. “It’s why the tea party was so successful, and it’s absolutely critical with this administration that the citizens of this country take it back. If they don’t, they should not complain about what is happening.”

At least two members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation are listening to what Indivisible Hawaii has to say.

On Tuesday, some members of the hui once again showed up at Federal Building downtown, where they spoke with the staff of U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono. The ad-hoc meeting was also filmed.

“We have not yet met with Senator Hirono, but her staff have been extremely gracious and from her interview on TV this morning, it seems like she really got our message,” said Leo.

She was referring to an interview of Hirono by Howard Dicus of Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was not around when Indivisible Hawaii showed up at her Honolulu office Tuesday.

Indivisible Hawaii

“The activists come to my office every week, some 15 or so of them, saying, ‘What is Mazie doing?’” Hirono told Dicus. “And we give them information, and pretty much we’re on the (same) page. And I encourage everyone to come to my office and to continue to be engaged with what’s going on in our country.”

Hirono said this is the most citizen outreach to her office she’s seen.

Like Hirono, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz was a vocal critic of Trump during the presidential election and a firm supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton. Like many in his party, Schatz is trying to find his way as Washington has turned upside-down.

“The first thing I want to say is, ‘Thank you,’” Schatz said when he met with Indivisible Hawaii members Tuesday. “This is a really difficult time for the country. It’s a really difficult time for citizens. People are scared. Vulnerable populations are really imperiled.”

He added, “Your willingness to stand up for each other, for yourselves, for our shared values, is really empowering to me.”

Indivisible Hawaii is not alone in its local activism. Hawaii J20+ is also committed to “Resisting Trump and his Cabinet’s Agenda!”

A Guide To Resisting The President

Nationally, Indivisible bills itself as “a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda.”

Its website explains that the guide was written with the help of former congressional staffers to “reveal best practices for making Congress listen.”

The rapid growth of Indivisible has caught organizers by surprise.

“We are absolutely floored,” Indivisible Board President Ezra Levin and four others say in a joint statement on the group’s website. “It may have started as a tweeted Google Doc, but now (and sorry if this sounds corny) we feel an extraordinary sense of responsibility to help this movement as best we can.”

Indivisible has two main goals: to demystify congressional advocacy, and to support local groups putting the Indivisible Guide into action.

Among the tips for people who want to influence their members of Congress are to find contact information for the members, to sign up for email updates from them and to review their voting history at VoteSmart.org and research their biggest campaign contributors at OpenSecrets.org.

There is even a sample script to use when calling Congress. Excerpt:

Staffer: Congresswoman Sara’s office, how can I help you?

Caller: Hi there, I’m a constituent of Congresswoman Sara’s. Can I please speak with the staffer who handles presidential appointments issues?

Staffer: I’m happy to take down any comments you may have. Can I ask for your name and address to verify you’re in the Congresswoman’s district?

Caller: Sure thing. [Gives name/address]. Can I ask who I’m speaking with?

Staffer: Yes, this is Jeremy Smith.

Caller: Thanks, Jeremy! I’m calling to ask what the Congresswoman is doing about the appointment of Steve Bannon to serve in the White House. Bannon is reported as saying he didn’t want his children to go to a school with Jews. And he ran a website that promoted white nationalist views. I’m honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office. Can you tell me what Congresswoman Sara is going to do about it?

Staffer: Well I really appreciate you calling and sharing your thoughts! I of course can’t speak for the Congresswoman because I’m just a staff assistant, but I can tell you that I’ll pass your concerns on to her.

Caller: I appreciate that Jeremy, but I don’t want you to just pass my concerns on. I would like to know what the Congresswoman is doing to stop this. (If they stick with the “I’m just a staffer” line, ask them when a more senior staffer will get back to you with an answer to your question.)

“I got a copy of the first draft of the guide and read it, and thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is unbelievable,” said Gibson.

The website says Indivisible is pursuing 501(c)(4) status as a nonprofit organization.

Powell Berger, a local writer, consultant and strategist, is helping to lead Indivisible Hawaii. And there are other groups involved, too, including Hawaii J20+ (“Resisting Trump and his Cabinet’s Agenda!”), a group of women called Windward ReSisters, people from the Women’s March and ResistTrumpTuesdays.

“That’s what makes it as effective as it is — the coming together of multiple groups,” said Berger.

She said the offices of Hirono and Schatz have been “terrific” in meeting with the group members, but they have had a far different experience visiting Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Honolulu office.

“We had a positive conversation when we first met with her staff, but the door has been closed on us ever since,” said Berger.

Gabbard spokeswoman Erika Tsuji said that every time Indivisible Hawaii members have visited the Honolulu office, she has been in session in Washington.

“This past Tuesday, Gabbard was on National Guard duty all day,” Tsuji said.

Tsuji said that Gabbard’s staff “has spent several hours on multiple occasions with Indivisible Hawaii to hear their concerns, and have passed them on to the congresswoman.”

Gabbard will have another opportunity to meet with Indivisible Hawaii when its members descend on Kailua Public Library on Friday at noon, though it’s not clear whether the congresswoman herself will be there.

Her website lists a notice for “Staff Office Hours in Kailua with Vandeth Sek,” Gabbard’s Oahu community outreach liaison.

“Our plan is to raise the questions we’ve been trying to raise,” Berger said of the Kailua plan. “What is she doing to keep Bannon off the NSC? What relationship does she have with him? And her trip to Syria, that really concerns us. What are her motives?”

The congresswoman made a surprise visit to Syria in January, a move that was welcomed by some as a brave effort to seek peace in the war-torn region and lambasted by others as supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Indivisible Hawaii has not yet showed up at the Honolulu office of U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. But that’s because she has moved to a location near the Fort Street Mall.

Berger said Indivisible Hawaii does plan to pay a Tuesday visit to Hanabusa’s office soon.

“It’s logistical,” she said. “We try to do this during people’s lunch hours, so we can either hit three offices or see one.”

Expect much more activity from Indivisible Hawaii.

“The silver lining to Donald Trump is that he is reviving participatory democracy,” said Gibson.

A Twitter hashtag has been generated in response to Rep. Gabbard’s missed meetings with local activists:

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