An Update: What We're Scheming & What We've Been Up to
This Is What Starting a Brand-New Thing Looks Like
Bits & Pieces
It’s Friday. My plan for the week has not shaken out how I’d like. I’ve been dealing with medical visits this week in follow-up to a personal medical crisis in January. Eeeesh. It’s helpful, but, um, unexpectedly adventurous. Okay I had to have a probe-y camera stuck up my nose and down my throat, and I did not know that was coming. I’m okay though — we did get good info from it. Still. Yikes. But sometimes it’s better not to know that someone’s going to probe you with a camera on a wire.
We held our required annual board meeting for this nascent nonprofit virtually this week , and that was great. We have a cool team, and we’re ready to grow this shift. With that — we’re ready to get new volunteers, too. We’ll be reaching out any day now to those who have already signed up.
We lost a paid subscriber here this morning. I always take that a bit personally… even though I know that as we grow this work, we’ll attract more people for whom it resonates.
In theory, I/we should be putting out more frequent Substack posts and announcements to help get shares, traction, and action. That doesn’t always work when we’re still not to thriving and flourishing here as a new organization. Still getting our sea legs as we get this ship going.
On the money front, we’ve not yet brought in enough money this year to fund this work full time, but I have faith that we’ll get there.
You can’t run an organization on $680 a month, and you certainly can’t grow it with that — you need money to run ads to recruit folks and get out the word. And for better/more technology, and to do things like produce a podcast or to do videos. And to pay for staff. So far this is essentially a volunteer effort by the founder (me). Since we’re just at the beginning of official fundraising, I spend a certain amount of time each week in triage mode keeping our tech and our lights on.
Fingers crossed! We’re in a place to start getting traction now, and to have actual activities. Now we just need to get to the next steps, and we are.
Next Steps: A Summer Vision
Our next steps are to roll out online Zoom events this spring to help us collectively build alliances and coalitions, to raise more of a ruckus with the media, to activate social networks in the places where we live, to pressure businesses, and to fight fights in new ways with moral courage, vision, and values. That stuff is essentially the 5 Things — the key focus areas of how we’re fixing to help make shift happen.
Here’s what’s on the radar:
Putting out, talking about, and evolving a big vision for this summer. What will it take for us to have events, to do cool stuff outside (or wherever), and to raise a ruckus in the place we live this summer? To pressure businesses? To get more media attention?
To answer that question, we’ve put together a schedule of workshops and volunteer activity together to help get this shift going. It’s got strategy behind it to help us do the 5 Things.
We’ll announce those workshops here, and on Eventbrite. I’m building the tech for them now.
Volunteers are essential!
Whether we grow this shift or not will depend on our volunteers, and on people spreading the word for what the volunteers come up with for activities, action, possibilities, and pressure. The nonprofit is here to facilitate, foster, enable, empower, channel, and catalyze. We all create space… for amazing stuff.
Volunteer engagement will determine the future of this work, and will shape it into what it becomes. There are a zillion possibilities.
Here’s what we’ll be asking volunteers to help with this spring/summer:
Coalition-building, under Thing 2: Working on ways to get more groups and people doing more stuff together in more coordinated ways, which is a key to countering authoritarianism.
Pressuring and/or partnering with businesses (Thing 3): Explore and build ways to pressure businesses at scale to support this democracy, inclusion, democratic institutions, and democratic ideals.
Community Spaces: We’ll have volunteers helping with moderating and facilitating our own community spaces (like Discord, or a Facebook group which we haven’t started yet).
Media Expertise: Volunteers with experience in print, radio, or TV and journalism to help us all learn how to work well with media or to get their attention.
Tech / Production Support / Ideas: Volunteers who can help with tech like video editing or podcast development, which technologies to use, how to do stuff, and the art of the possible.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
When you’re doing new stuff, you have to be willing to iterate, and even to fail in public.
Yep: we’ve gotten a good start on some of that. We’ve gone through several rounds of announcing webinars and workshops… to a few sign-ups but mostly crickets. But — we learn stuff every time. We’ll see if this iteration works. This moment in time is not for those who would give up at the slightest pushback or disappointment.
This moment in time is for the intrepid. The forces of selfishness, bigotry, and big power are out in full force… and it’s time to fight differently. So let’s go.
We Need Big Brains & Big Flexibility To Create This New Stuff
We’ve set out to create new ways to do influence and pressure in politics.
We want to reach further into people’s real-life social networks and communities. We want to build bigger on what’s already been created, and bring people and efforts together. We want to pressure businesses in huge big ways. We want to fight differently with vision, values, and moral courage. We want to do more with pressuring media and driving the narrative. « Yo — those are the 5 Things. It’s that simple.
This work is not how we’ve been doing politics up ‘til now. This takes relational and distributed organizing further. This takes politics into new and uncomfortable places. This is more than voter registration and protests — although we can do those things too.
This is about reaching and energizing voters everywhere… and especially in rural states that are going off the deep end fascism-wise.
Are women going to get to have rights in the future? Will LGBTQ+ people be able to survive, thrive, and flourish in these states? Will children have to work because child labor laws are being removed? Will we be able to compete in a global market when we’ve gutted our educational system and moved all of our public school funding to raise little Christian nationalists?
That question list is extreme… but that is the direction the current Republican party is headed in in state after state after state. How many families are already moving to a new state because of this? Why isn’t the media covering it but instead drooling over Governor DeSantis’s every move?
We can do better, and we have to or this country’s going to the super far right.
Time to make some shift happen. Share our info, subscribe here to keep up on new announcements, ask others to subscribe, tell people about the possibilities, talk to your groups about the possibilities, sign up to volunteer, donate if you’re in a position to, and keep the faith.
We’ve got good people and we’ve got big ideas — all over this entire country.
Let’s do more to leverage those big brains and big ideas. Join us. Let’s make this shift happen.