By Michelle Hoselton
We greeted people to our October 27 All Members Meeting with fun-size candy bars, Swedish Fish gummies, and of course, Indivisible East Bay t-shirts (get ’em while they last at IEB events). Perfect fuel for the resistance!
Check-in featured a whiteboard survey asking people to show how they plan to help elect Democrats in 2020:
We want to hear from you too – let us know all the ways you’re able to join us in 2020 electoral work, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The meeting began with a real treat: special guest Charlie Varon, a playwright, performer and teacher, presented his monologue “Cul de Sac” from his current production, Great American Sh*t Show, about his experiences canvassing and speaking with possibly unpersuadable voters in definitely unfamiliar neighborhoods.
If you were there, you likely found yourself identifying with his tales of the fear, frustration and revelation that these interactions can bring – and with the urgent feeling of need to make a difference. Afterwards, Charlie talked to us in a Q&A about outreach, determination, and the burnout that can happen when we start to feel our efforts are fruitless – and he encouraged everyone in the room to keep fighting as we ramp up towards 2020. He also told us of some of the strategies Swing Left San Francisco, with which he works, is working on for CA-10 and CA-21, including hiring local young people in the area to canvass and GOTV.
Some of Charlie’s thoughts about phone banking:
- Phone banking is difficult but becomes easier the more you do it.
- Phone banking efforts are not in vain! Even if you don’t reach someone, you’re getting info that can be useful and make things easier for canvassers.
- For each person you reach via phone banking you can multiply your efforts by encouraging them to share with friends, family and co-workers.
- When you reach someone by phone, the best approach is to speak from the heart.
There are more opportunities to hear the monologue, as well as the rest of Charlie’s show with Brian Copeland. Find a way to get to one – or more – of these shows! You can find upcoming dates and buy tickets here.
Next, Governance Committee member Ion shared some moving words about the loss of beloved friend and fellow GC member Mel Bryson. Read more about the contributions of this irreplaceable member of our community here.
Before we broke into work groups, GC member and volunteer coordinator Andrea reminded us about IEB’s upcoming events:
- Nov. 5, 6:30-9:30 PM: Join Indivisible Berkeley, IEB, East Bay Activist Alliance & SwingLeft EB at an Election Night Watch Party for Virginia elections. At Spats, Berkeley. No RSVP needed.
- Nov. 8, 2 PM: IEB meeting with Sen. Harris’s staff, sign up here.
Next up, our action breakouts:
- GC member and CA-11 team co-lead Ted led a group that wrote 60 letters with Vote Forward for the November 5 Virginia state house elections. Ted motivated the letter-writers by letting us know we’re only 3-4 seats away from flipping the entire state government to Democratic, and reminded us about the huge consequences of the election, such as redistricting for the next 10 years!
- GC member Fiona led another group that wrote 20 postcards for Reclaim Our Vote, an organization targeting voters of color in areas with high voter suppression, reminding them that their registration might have lapsed. Several people took more cards home to write as well. In addition, Oakland residents wrote cards to the Oakland city council supporting an ordinance requiring an approval process for police acquisitions of military equipment.
- GC member Larry led a breakout about the model impeachment hearing he’s working on with members of Indivisible San Francisco and others. The impeachment inquiry continues to grow exponentially by the hour, keeping news pundits and Larry on their toes! With new testimony from Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman revealing even more misconduct by Trump and his administration, details for the Articles of Impeachment continue to pile up. Good thing we have Larry to help make sense of it all. He presented the history of impeachment in this country, some analysis of the process and his hopes for a broad and detailed scope. He also shared an Article of Impeachment model script, which he’s using to develop content for a video to help the public engage and understand this complex topic! The group took on roles and performed the script, providing feedback and leading to a lively discussion.
IEB’s All Members Meetings take place on the fourth Sunday of every month, unless a holiday interferes. Next up: join us on Sunday, November 24, at Sports Basement, Berkeley. In the meantime, couldn’t make it to the AMM or allergic to meetings? Join us online where we do our planning and organizing— ask email@example.com for an invite.
Photographs by Heidi Rand