Dear Fellow Organizers,
In the fight for voting rights over the past six months, I was running at full speed, doing all I could to raise my voice and the voices of the amazing and dedicated people in my Swing Blue Alliance group here in Western Mass. We knew that the work we were doing, in partnership with the hundreds of thousands across the country, was the work of citizenship…work that would move the heavy wheels of government to enact legislation that would change the lives of countless people for generations.
And then…a giant stop!
Was I out of steam, feeling that our work was without results? I know, like me, you were staying up to date on all of the political maneuvering in DC, waiting for the tide to turn; for Senator Manchin to step up; for the Senate to vote on the two connected Infrastructure Bills.
And what happened to voting rights? I found myself focusing on issues more local, areas where my efforts might make a difference right now, with results I could immediately see.
Then I started to read more carefully the postings coming from Swing Blue Alliance and Susan Labandibar. People have been working continuously, focusing on the races for Governor and House of Delegates in Virginia. Perhaps you have been, too. These seats, in a state that was the seat of the Confederacy, have been moving steadily blue. The Democratic Legislature voted, with community support, to finally take down the Confederate statues glorifying the south. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and others came crashing down…
The people who made that happen are our allies in Richmond. Day after day they kept at it, educated the public, moved their representatives…Sound familiar?
That is us!
So, time to get up and get back to work, friends…
Do you need some energy? This Sunday, October 10, at 11AM, join Swing Blue Alliance for a virtual brunch to learn more about the Freedom to Vote Rally on October 23 in Washington, DC. For me, sitting in my kitchen watching the hundreds of faces signing onto a Zoom event moves me, and reassures me that I am part of something essential, and that though I might struggle to maintain hope, voting rights are still on the agenda…and need our work more than ever.
Autumn is here. Midterms are on the horizon. Keeping the House and the Senate depends on all of us to get the infrastructure bills passed in tandem, and the Freedom to Vote Bill into law.
Let’s lean in together. If you are a volunteer, step up to be an organizer. If you are an organizer, draw strength from others here, working alongside you.
Do not stand idly by…
(and The Team)
— Janet Nelson is a retired clinical psychologist based in western Mass. She has worked on progressive campaigns since 1988, including serving as co-chair of the NJ Coalition to Save Darfur, 2005-2012.