Just Getting Started

I feel like I haven’t done enough recently. Which is silly because I’ve been doing a lot in comparison to what I was doing six months ago. But it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. That is a good thing though. If I’m doing more now in my community than I was six months ago, imagine what it will be like six months from now, and then 2 years from now, and so on. I’m just getting started.

Marching for science yesterday with 1,000 members of my community means that this movement isn’t losing momentum. The organizer of yesterday’s march told the crowd this was his first rally. He is a newcomer to activism, and I would bet, he’ll be an activist for life now. He’s just getting started.

We are all just getting started, in fact.

This is why I am so hopeful. If we are all just getting started, imagine what we will do in 2018. Imagine what we can achieve by 2020. We can keep building and growing and learning and by doing so, we are going to make a difference. We are going to stand up and protect our planet. We are going to stand up and protect human rights. We are going to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

We are just getting started.

Building Your Community

One of the earliest outcomes in getting involved at the local level is building a greater connection to my community. Every week, I’m meeting new people and making connections I never thought I would have. I didn’t realize how much I would love it.

Every time I go to an event or volunteer, I meet at least one more person who is actively engaging like I am. I’m not alone in my efforts, and it is so inspiring and comforting to have that realization. I am not alone. We are not alone.

Yes, putting yourself out there, sharing your voice, is intimidating. I’ve already had some experiences that left me uncomfortable and hesitant to continue, but putting those experiences aside, I’ve been empowered to keep moving forward. I have a greater sense of purpose after meeting others with similar mindsets, and I have more confidence in the actions I’m taking.

I challenge you to go to an event, a rally, a meeting and if nothing else, feel the energy of the people there. Let it inspire you. Let it empower you. Let it increase your connection to your community. You’ll be surprised at how rewarding it can be. I am.


Over the weekend, I organized volunteers to canvas in my neighborhood, and it was a huge success. One of my main goals I had for the day was to make sure that whoever showed up would feel welcomed and appreciated. I didn’t want anyone showing up at my house to feel like I wasn’t grateful. Knocking on doors is perhaps the hardest thing so far that I’ve done, and it’s not an easy step for most people to take. Recognizing that and honoring those that do show up is critical.

I wasn’t sure how many, if any, would show up to volunteer, but I was thrilled when six people did. My partner and I greeted each one, shook their hand, and got to know them a little bit before they went out into the neighborhood. We answered questions about the candidate and about the questions we’d ask out canvassing (as best we could). While no one took us up on the offer, we had snacks and bottled water for everyone. It was a collegial atmosphere and everyone was excited. They left to canvas with smiles on their faces and a positive attitude. It was everything I could have hoped for.

I feel so good about how the day went, if for no other reason than I know that no one felt the way I had felt the first time I went canvassing. Having that negative experience has made me a better volunteer and organizer. It’s a reminder that every experience we have can teach us something, provided we are receptive to the lesson.

Expressing gratitude is so important, but in the chaos of our world, it’s something that is easily overlooked. This weekend was a reminder of how important is it, and I am going to make it my goal to express gratitude as often as I can.

In that spirit, thank you to everyone who is reading this and following this journey. Thank you if you have taken your first step by calling your representatives or showing up to volunteer for a mission you believe in. Thank you for all your efforts in making your voices heard. The more voices there are, the stronger our democracy will be.

Roller Coaster Democracy

A few weeks ago, I shared my experience in going to the state capitol to support a bill that would allow counties to have a mail ballot for the upcoming special election. I wanted to share with you a quick update.

After the committee hearing that I attended, the Judiciary Committee, on a party line vote, decided to table it. This meant that the only way it could be moved forward to the full House for consideration was if it was “blasted” out of committee. A vote was put before the House to take this action, and the action failed to pass, meaning the bill died. It was incredibly disappointing to see our state legislators fail to support saving money and increasing voter participation. It was heartbreaking.

Today, that heartbreak has turned into hope. In an outstanding act of leadership and real democracy in action, our amazing governor added an amendment to an approved bill waiting for his signature. This amendment will allow for counties to have a mail ballot for the special election. In the words of Governor Bullock, “what is better for democracy than to put a ballot in the hands of every registered voter?”

Within minutes of this announcement, dozens of people started calling House representatives urging them to support this amended bill, which will now have to pass both chambers, but only with a simple majority. My sense is that the revised bill will pass and we’ll get our ballots by mail.

To be a part of the process, to witness it from start to finish, has been incredibly inspiring. It has been a roller coaster, and it has not been boring. This is what democracy looks like.

I’m hooked.  Are you?

Finding Focus

Starting down this new path of political activism, I’ve been going full speed ahead for the last month, but this past weekend, I took a step back from all of it to celebrate big events in my life. In doing so, I got a much-needed mental break. It’s what we all should do from time to time.

There is so much going on, and so many things to care about, that it’s hard to always wrap my head around what I should or should not focus on. It’s easy to get bogged down in the negative, and we are all susceptible to it. Reading article after article about what he tweeted now, growing ties to Russia, attacks against the environment, women, immigrants…it’s overwhelming.

I’ve come to realize that I will never be able to truly keep up with everything. With this resolve, I’ve started focusing and following the things that matter most to me. I also know that I’ve got little control over the bigger ticket items, for lack of a better term, that are out there. I’ll keep calling my representatives, and I know that does have an impact, but I personally can’t change the outcome of a vote or convince a Senator about the need to filibuster or call for an independent inquiry. Together we can, yes, but individually I have little power. At least at the national level.

That’s why I’m diving into local politics so forcefully. I actually have a voice now and could potentially have influence over decisions being made in my state. When the special election was announced, and the Democrats held their nominating convention, I knew I wanted to be at the next one. I have contributions and perspectives to offer my state and I’m ready to share. In this way, I’m finding focus and something to strive for.

I’m learning to take this one day at a time, one atrocity at a time, one outrage at a time, one election at a time. By doing so, I hope to maintain my drive and passion, and effectively contribute to my community. Each one of us has the power to make an impact, to make a difference. By focusing, I hope to make as big of an impact as I possibly can.

In thinking about the impact of one person, what will you focus on?