Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’

Activism in action

After working on a couple of campaigns where I was deep in the trenches — knocking on doors, making phone calls and spending time in the field — much of my activism lately has been focused on educating and engaging people through the words I write. So it’s been a pleasure to jump back into hands-on activism, volunteering with Lady Parts Justice Michigan to help put together V to Shining V Detroit 2015 on September 26. Being part of a community of activists inspires and energizes me, taking the work I do in new and dynamic directions.

AmyHandPicThis marks the second year that Lady Parts Justice has encouraged activists across the country to get involved in this national celebration of women, an event geared toward making sure the public is aware of the most vital issues facing women in their state before the next election in November.

Lady Parts Justice is, first and foremost, about pushing back against the regressive laws that are eroding reproductive access in the U.S. But it’s about so much more.

It’s about making sure women can get every healthcare service they need. It’s about elevating the voices of women — all women — in the ongoing pursuit of full equality. It’s about staying united in the vital mission of protecting women’s rights. It’s about having some fun while we make some noise and make some change for the good of women everywhere.

KelseyHandPic Equally important, it’s about community. It’s about building communities of women and their allies, communities that not only put together one heck of a good event once a year, but who continue collaborating as activists all year long — raising awareness of the laws in our state that are deeply harmful to women.

It’s hard to believe that in 2015, women still don’t have equal pay or unquestioned bodily autonomy. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Sexism and discrimination and gender inequality are everywhere, no matter whether you’re gay or straight, cis or trans, white or black. It’s everywhere and it can be disheartening.

NataleeHandPicBut what Lady Parts Justice and our united efforts remind us of is the fact that we still have a voice. We, as women and men and citizens, still have the power to drive change. There’s no one “right” way to do activism. For some, it’s writing a letter to the editor or sending a donation. For others, it’s about tweeting and posting on social media. For many, it’s about volunteering their time and energy, whether it’s performing at an event or baking cookies to raise some extra funds.

As a writer, one of the ways I think I can best drive change is by creating content that informs people and motivates them to take action. Along with a team of volunteers, I did that as the lead media volunteer for our event this year. But that’s not all. I joined my fellow volunteers at all-team meetings to brainstorm and plan for the event over the last few months.

LaceyHandPicIn Michigan, more than 25 volunteers raised their hands to help in some way to make V to Shining V Detroit 2015 possible. Every time I gathered with my sisters and brothers, I felt inspired and heartened by their energy and determination to make a difference.

I’m so very proud to be part of the Lady Parts Justice Michigan community — an incredible group of women and men who are willing to share their time and talent to stand up for the most important issues facing women in our state and across the country. Even after V to Shining V 2015 is over, this community will continue to support each other and make good things happen.

I can’t wait to see what we do next.

Relationships built to last

There’s more than one kind of relationship. And there’s more than one way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

This year, I spent a couple hours of my Valentine’s Day at the Obama for America Oakland County, Mich., HQ in Pontiac, where I got to know a great group of OFA team members, volunteers and supporters.

It was an all-day open house, where anyone could stop in for a one-on-one conversation with an OFA organizer to learn more about getting involved. Dozens of people came by to get to know OFA — and every one of them left feeling fired up and ready to go.

Relationships built to last

It seemed like a lot of the folks there were already eager to get involved because they jumped right in. People signed up to host house parties. They made phone calls to other supporters right then and there. They signed up to join neighborhood teams or volunteer for various tasks. There’s truly a volunteer opportunity for everyone.

I love being at events like these, because there’s a buzz of energy that is unmistakable. It’s the power of positive thinking, of believing in the reason you’re there and what you’re there to do. Everyone who was there today is committed to President Obama’s re-election campaign, because they see he’s already leading our country in the right direction and want to give him four more years to keep working for the good of every American.

Relationships built to lastWhat’s even cooler? The fact that long after the one-on-one sessions were done, assignments were made and people were signed up to help, they stuck around. Because they just wanted to chat. They wanted to talk about President Obama’s accomplishments and their reasons for getting involved. They wanted to share their pride in our President and their faith in his leadership.

With energy and enthusiasm like that, there’s nothing this team can’t do.

We’re fired up and ready to go. And ready to win.

 

 

We can’t wait to take action

“Are you fired up?!”

“Yes!”

“Are you ready to win?!”

“Yes!”

“Are you ready for the Democrats to win?!”

“YES!”

That was the battle cry that began the Day of Action at our local Organizing for America (OFA) meeting. The 2012 Presidential election is one year from today, November 6, and President Obama’s campaign held a national Day of Action to recruit, inform and mobilize volunteers.

Leading the spirited chant was Melissa Bernardi, regional field director for OFA in Oakland County, Mich. She was joined by Frank Houston, chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party, in rallying the many volunteers who were there. Some of the volunteers worked on the first campaign, while others were brand-new today, wanting to know what they could do to help.

And it’s not a moment too soon. As Houston pointed out, the President has to go on the road campaigning for a jobs bill that should have passed with little fuss. Nothing in the 2012 election is going to be easy, which is why we can’t wait, he said. We have to get to work now.

Each of us was asked to decide what we would to do to help get President Obama and more Democrats elected in 2012 — and to start doing it now. We were told everything we can do is important, and the more we stretch ourselves the better. No one seemed daunted.

We can't wait to take action

After brief introductions, we split into our neighborhood groups to discuss plans we have in place and what we want to do next. Then true to the spirit of the day, we took action: making phone calls, writing letters to local newspaper editors, making signs to carry outside the GOP debate in Michigan later this week. The tasks today were, as usual, about making sure citizens understand the key issues, what the Democrats stand for and what the President wants to do to improve our country.

Everyone was eager to do their part, from the high school student who came to educate herself on the issues to the retiree who now has the time to give that he didn’t before. It was a diverse group of all ages and backgrounds, including a family that brought their kids. Seeing parents teaching their children about the importance of getting involved may have been my favorite part of the day.

Oakland County is going to be one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the 2012 election, and I don’t think a single person there today has any doubt that we can do whatever it takes to win. The volunteers were cheered on by visitors including Congressman Gary Peters and Phillip Reid, chair of the North Oakland Democratic Club, who came by to say thank you to everyone who was there.

Being appreciated is an excellent thing. But I suspect we’d all be there anyway. We believe in the people and principles we support.

How do I know? Because when Bernardi asked us to affirm our commitment one more time, I’m pretty sure they could hear us all the way to the White House.

“ARE. YOU. FIRED. UP?!”

“YESSSSSSS!”

Yes. Yes, we can. Again.

 

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