A little after 8:00 PM I sat at my desk, headphones on, still breathing heavily from having rushed through chores post dinner. The glass doors to the study were locked and the children peered from the outside. I waved and turned my attention to the screen. A video conference with over 220 people from all over the country stared back at me.
Yesterday was one of the initial introductory sessions by the MoveOn organization’s Summer of Resistance. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me the link over WhatsApp saying I should apply since I seemed to be so upset with what is happening with current day politics. I hopped over, looked at the requirements and figured I would never get in. Then on impulse, I applied. A couple of days later, I got an email asking me to watch a video and answer a few more questions which I did, more convinced than ever that I would not be picked. Then this week, another email with the subject “Yayy!” arrived and I was in.
So between June and September of this year, I will be working with 25 other local mobilizers on organizing community cookouts, listening to what the grassroots have to say and working on one actionable item (i..e., town hall with my representative). In September I will graduate hopefully having a rudimentary knowledge of what it is like to be politically active. There will be weekly video training sessions and local community outreach. Mostly, it will all be stuff that scares the living hell out of me.
So, when I signed in to the video conference, I was happy to see a very diverse crowd. The speakers were inspirational but the people randomly picked to state what drew them to become a mobilizer was what hit home. These were all people like me. Mothers, Grandmothers, Uncles, Dads all wanting a better future than what we are on track for. They spoke from the heart, the passion radiating through the monitor, sweeping me up in its wake.
For years, I have been an armchair activist, passing judgement, sharing opinion pieces and debating things I felt strongly about. Yet, I did not step up to campaign for either Obama or Clinton. I watched from the sidelines as my brother and many others went door to door speaking up for something that they believed in. For the first time, I feel like I am doing something. Even if there is no tangible change that my participation brings, I know I will sleep better at night, the angst having found a productive way to expend itself.
Wish me luck and tenacity on this journey. If you are local to me, reach out if you feel similarly. Let’s do this.