“Don’t despair! Organize!” That’s John Meiklejohn’s takeaway after responding to a survey for this blog. “The questions gave me a chance to reflect on why we started our small group and why we’ve persisted for the last five years.”
John is part of an Indivisible group, Voices Rising Together, which formed in March 2017. Throughout the Presidential campaign of 2020, the group looked for innovative ways to have an impact on voter registration and turnout.
The roots of success
“We’ve collaborated with numerous organizations but have time and again returned to SBA because of the exceptional level of organization, recurring postcard and letter initiatives, and ability to work with organizations in swing states. SBA has been indispensable to our effectiveness and ability to affect voters. Without that support, our small group would have been far more isolated and less effective.”
For the group’s first writing postcard- and letter-writing project, they convinced six or seven folks to join them. “We learned by the seat of our pants. No one in the group was a seasoned political operative or had been involved in political advocacy.”
The source of motivation
John and his group were motivated. “We saw a range of threats to American democratic process. We were galvanized to action—taking up postcard campaigns to voters across the country.”
John explains. “We worried at first, Would our efforts make a difference? We’ve come to realize that we have to take action. If many people do the same, we will make a difference. Rather than worry, we’ve chosen to persevere.”
As an example, “Our group focuses mostly on voter turnout. We believe collective efforts like our own, around the country, contributed to the extraordinary high turnout of the Presidential election.”
As of today, the group has hosted about 12 SBA letter and postcard campaigns. In the most recent campaign – letters to Pennsylvania voters – 44 volunteers completed 1,250 letters.
The reason to host
John’s recommendation is clear. “Don’t despair! Organize! American democratic institutions are severely strained and democracy itself risks being undermined. In these not-so-ordinary times, let this spirit of activism inspire you to organize. ”
John Meiklejohn is a co-leader and founding member of Voices Rising Together and an avid postcard- and letter-writing organizer.