The USAN is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian political advocacy and voter education organization that is facilitating grassroots efforts by the Azerbaijani-American and other Turkic-American voters, on federal, state and local levels.
2) How does USAN sustain itself financially, who are its sponsors, donors, or contributors?
USAN is created by the grassroots, for the grassroots. Nearly a hundred Azerbaijani-Americans and their friends have made their individual contributions to make USAN a reality. USAN fundraising is on-going at all times, help with your donation by sending a check or money order to (and thanks to all those donors who did this already this year!):
3) Do you promise that my information and contribution will be secure and confidential?
4) Who can register at the USAN Action Alerts database?
5) If there are two or more of us in a family, do we register in the USAN Action Alerts database only one-time, as one person? Or each member of the family should register individually?
Registration is separate for all members of family - i.e., husband, wife, and children (18 or over) each register separately. This is because all of you have a voice – and right to vote - according to the U.S. Constitution and applicable laws, hence you all can and should petition, alert and write to your government official(s), legislator(s) or media. Of course, you should all have separate email addresses as well.
6) If I have a home address and a different business (or second home) address, should I choose one? Or do I have to register both in the USAN Action Alerts database? Why do you need both? Do you really need it?
7) Will you transmit any of my personal information to the government officials along with my letters? Will anyone outside USAN software manager(s) be able to find out that I sent a letter? Will anyone be able to persecute me or my family, including abroad, for my political activism in my country, USA?
The only parts of your information that are transmitted with each letter to the respective addressee (official, legislator, media) are your name, email and postal address. That’s all – no other information is transmitted, such as business name, phone, fax, credit card or check information, bank name and account, etc. All the limited information that USAN software passes along with the letter is required by those addressees (recipients), there is no way around it. An anonymous letter is worthless.
No one outside of USAN Board will know you sent letter(s) – and of course we are guided by privacy guidelines and your wishes about confidentiality. Hence, don't worry.
And no, no one, aside from the addressee him/herself, and USAN software manager(s), will know that you sent letter(s) to anyone. So no one anywhere will be able to persecute you or your family. This especially applies if you or your family originate from totalitarian states and are pressured by these governments to stay quiet even in your new homeland, the United States. Rest assured, in the USA you, your family, and your Constitutional rights and privileges are fully protected. If you, or your family, do get threatened by foreign governments or citizens, you can contact your local law enforcement agencies for further consultations and help, as well as alert USAN.
8) What is the goal for the USAN Action Alerts database size, by when, and why?
Our goal is to grow USAN database to 5,000 people by the end of 2008. We believe that getting as many (or as little) people would represent a breakthrough and critical mass needed to have us heard on all levels. Likewise, we will strive to be properly identified in the US Census. The next census is in 2010, so our goal is to significantly increase the number of Azerbaijani-Americans who correctly identify themselves by then, since our numbers are obviously around 400,000 people, but various semi-official figures are lower. Similar underestimates of the actual size of the community are prevalent among all other diasporas as well, such as Turkish, Iranian, Armenian. Thus, our hope is to have 5,000 by end of 2008, and at least 10,000 by the time Census 2010 takes place. Having about 5% of the community registered with USAN is actually considered a success.
9) What are the "instructions for dummies" for USAN Action Alerts database membership? And do I have to send my Action Letter to all the legislators that the system selects?
1) Go to URL: http://www.usazeris.org
2) Click on "Action Items" on the button of the top menu
3) Click on any of the letters you see and find relevant or interesting to you in the Active Issues category
4) Click on the orange "Take Action" button in the bottom
5) If you are a new user, fill out the form that you see. If you have already registered before, then click on the "Returning users click here".
6) Enter your email address and zip code that you used when you registered. REMEMBER IT!
7) Follow the instructions - you might need to enter additional information and answers.
And no, you can choose whom to send your action letter, and whom to skip. The system selects them based on your zip code.
10) Will I receive a copy of my action letter in my email? How many copies will I get? Can I turn it off, if I don't want to clutter my mailbox?
Yes, you can receive a copy of your action letters - or check it off and not receive anything (the default if checked box). Just pay attention to the following checkbox: "(*) Send a copy of each message to my email address." You will get as many action letters as you have sent. That is, if you sent a letter to the President, Governor, Lt Governor, two Senators, one Congressman, and two State senators and one Assemblyman, then you will get copies of nine (9) emails. Then, you might get automatic responses from these offices, if you sent an email, and after a few weeks, you might get additional email or postal letter from these offices.
11) What are the “Additional Information” fields, just before I send my action letter?
Some of the Congressmen and Senators would like to better categorize your email letters, so that they can respond more effectively. When that happens, you will see the "Additional Information" column, along with: "Some of the recipients you have chosen require additional information to be submitted along with your message." Then, the system will propose that you categorize your action letter in the drop down box. Generally, USAN letters are related to the following categories: "Foreign Affairs" or "Foreign Relations" or "International Relations". But it could also be on "Energy", or "Immigration", or "Commerce", or "Trade", or "Afghanistan", or "Iraq", or "Middle East Conflict", "Military", "Defense", etc. It’s up to you to make a correctlogical choice.
Also, sometimes you have to fill out additional information from the puzzle or graphics screens, just like you do in Yahoo and other Internet websites. This way Congress and media try to cut down on spam they receive.
12) So can I always send a webfax?
It depends on the campaign. Sometimes we turn the webfax option off, to preserve limited financial resources. You will know if it is off or on when you will try to select that option.
13) What is better - postal letter, e-mail or fax? How long does postal mail take to reach recipient?
Fax is currently probably the best, but email is close second. Although postal mail was and sometimes still is the most personal, best way of communication, but ever since after September 11 and anthrax mail attacks, delivery of postal mail to the Congress can take weeks, even months, as it is to be screened and tested due to security concerns. That’s why email and webfax are the best options, and USAN provides both of them.
14) When the system selects my legislators and government officials, based on my zip code, can I choose whom to send an email, whom a fax, and whom a letter? Conversely, if the system decides that email or fax are not possible, would it automatically select printed letter option?
Yes, if we have all the options turned on (sometimes we limit to only email, or only fax, or have both but turn off printed letter option), you can pick and choose, whom you want to send via fax, and whom via email. You might get a confirmation such as this:
CONFIRMATION Thank you for supporting our effort. We appreciate your interest and hope that you will consider helping us again in the future.
Your letter(s) have been successfully prepared. Click on the link(s) below to download them. Please print your letters, then sign and mail them to the address generated for you at the top of each letter.
To download letter click on this link > Letter
Senator Dianne Feinstein Email Senator Barbara Boxer Email Representative Dana Rohrabacher Letter Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Email Lt. Governor John Garamendi Email Senator Alan Lowenthal Email Assemblywoman Betty Karnette Email
This confirmation simply means that all your faxes and emails have been sent, but you also have one letter that needs to be printed out and sent via postal mail (in this example, this is with Rep. Rohrabacher). All others were emailed.
15) Is USAN a (grassroots) lobbying firm, government-relations company, PAC or a public-relations organization?
No, USAN is not a lobbying shop or grassroots lobbying firm. Neither is it a political action committee (PAC), media outlet, or an organization that pays anyone to do "electioneering", lobbying, etc. Simply put, USAN is a registered non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian single-purpose organization, which serves as a conduit and network for Azerbaijani-American voters and activists (grassroots) and their national, state, and local coalitions, associations, organizations, councils, conferences, and other formal, semi-formal and informal groups.
In other words, USAN only provides a streamlined, organized channel for the Azerbaijani-American grassroots and their diaspora organizations to deliver their message. To paraphrase it, USAN is just the power transmission line of this world - meanwhile the poles along with the electricity generation plants and hydrocarbon sources that power them are the Azerbaijani-Americans and other voters and organizations. We are the power line, but you are the power!
16) What does "grassroots lobbying" mean?
The definition from the U.S. Congress ("Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act of 2007", S. 230) is the following: "The term 'grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to … officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same."
17) Is it effective? Does anyone read our letters? Do they act upon them?
Yes, it is effective, yes they read your letters, and yes they act upon them. After you will send your letter, you will start receiving replies from them via email and/or postal mail. Try it for yourself.
18) Is USAN a charitable (federal tax-exempt) 501(c)3 non-profit and are the donations (contributions) to it tax-deductible?
No, USAN is not a 501(c)3 organization, hence, donations (contributions) to USAN are not tax-deductible. However, the amount of a donation that USAN asks for (typically, $100 per person per year) is so small, that tax-deduction is really not an issue for an average donor that could make or break the decision to support USAN. Especially because our supporters do it because USAN is the first and only genuine Azerbaijani-American national grassroots movement dedicated to promote our issues on all levels of political spectrum in the U.S.
19) USAN’s aim is to increase the number of Azerbaijani-American voters. I understand it is important to vote, but who may register to vote in the U.S.?
You can register to vote if you are:
•A U.S. Citizen
•At least 18 years of age on or before the next election
•Not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction
•Not declared mentally incompetent by court action
20) When is it necessary to re-register?
When you move, change your name, or wish to change your political party affiliation. You need to do it in advance of the November 2008 elections if you want to be able to vote, though (state laws are different, but generally you need to register at least a month before the election date).
21) I just moved to another state, when am I able to register?
Depends on the state, check with your Secretary of State or other appropriate state official(s).
22) Do I have to register with a specific political party?
No, the individual may choose to either register with a specific political party, register as non-partisan, or decline to state party affiliation.
23) I am registered to vote, but I did not vote in the last election. Do I need to re-register?
No. Generally speaking, you remain registered for as long as you live at the same address.
24) How can I find out if I am still registered?
You can call the Registrar of Voters Office or the Secretary of State Office to find out if you are still registered.
25) Will USAN continue to grow and expand, and will other exciting new projects be unveiled to make the Azerbaijani-Americans stronger?
You can bet on that! “Ot kökü üstə bitər” (Ot kökün üstünde böyür) – this ancient Azerbaijani-Turkic proverb is the essence of the modern American concept of grass-roots. Likewise, the historic Azerbaijani Turkish saying “Bir kere yükselen bayrak, bir daha inmez!” (A flag once raised will never fall!), has a striking resemblance to the American anthem: “Our flag was still there!”