Dear Fellow Organizers,
At the July 9th Swing Blue Alliance meeting, coordinator Susan Labandibar declared that “activism should be a happy and sustainable part of your life.”
This is always our goal.
But perhaps you were like me over the past few weeks — struggling with the news headlines and trying to keep up our activist energy.
This is not an easy time.
But then, in Philadelphia last Tuesday, President Biden gave a long-awaited speech on voting rights. As his voice rose in indignation, laying out the efforts that continue to attack free elections, he said:
“I say these things not to alarm you, you should be alarmed.”
And I remembered being at a conference in New Jersey decades ago, sitting in the front row I heard Romanian-American author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, then in his final years, say to us:
“Do not stand idly by.”
So, let’s keep going! It is not an exaggeration to say the voting rights bills are the seminal pieces of legislation of our lifetimes. The fight is not over — we push through!
What Has Our Activism Produced So Far?
- Stacey Abrams has endorsed Senator Joe Manchin’s voting rights proposal (which may have a stronger chance of getting passed);
With Common Cause, Swing Blue Alliance has sent 117,600 postcards to Arizona, West Virginia, and New York; 58,000 to New Hampshire, and 55,000 to Maine. Our phone calls have yielded over 1,000 calls to Senators in key states.
- When we started working on S1 in April 2021, we were behind in Senate support, 23 in favor and 77 against. In June, two months later and with your work, we were at 50 for and 50 against.
Let’s keep it up! This is how meaningful progress gets made. It’s not fast, it’s not splashy. It’s the incremental gains, the continued pressure, the endurance.
We can do that, right?
I’m ready to keep going: With others here in western Mass, I just ordered 2,000 postcards to Senator Chris Coons in Delaware and at least 5,000 more through Indivisible, our Alliance partner. Senator Coons is a close friend of Biden’s, and we’re ready to encourage his constituents to put on the pressure.
After Delaware, we have plans to reach out to Alaska and other high-impact states. Our latest data show this campaign may run into September.
So, gather your groups, identify those who want to start their own groups and tell them how to get started. Let’s grow exponentially, let’s keep the pressure on.
Tell your friends that this is not the time to stand idly by…
Thank you and your networks for all your work on our S1 efforts so far. Let’s keep going.
— 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.