Saturday, June 30, 2018

Building the Blue Wave 6/30

The People's Agenda hosted a Building the Blue Wave presentation and educational community event at the Champaign Public Library on Saturday. The focus was helping those unfamiliar with the nitty gritty of political campaigns and the serious amount of work and energy that goes into getting out more of the vote than the other guys who are working to do the same. For many of us this battle raging with every election, even the elections we missed or didn't even know about, goes on without us noticing. Folks of varying political interest and awareness of the issues can easily miss or ignore a lot of the party apparatus it seems.

The theme of the overall event was the need to put in the work. Like building a lot of things in life, there's not much of a secret to building support for candidates and causes: it takes people putting in the time and doing the work. The presentation talked about what that means, what's effective and how to avoid the pitfalls.

State Representative Carol Ammons started off the event emphasizing the need to put in the work and affirming that complaining alone does not get it done. She put it simply that "we will not win if we don't work." She discussed tips and concepts to be effective in that work. The closing "important point" was probably the most critical: person to person interactions is what gets people to the polls. This can't be done from the couch.

Aaron Ammons, the Democratic Party candidate for County Clerk, spoke about his values and concerns for the County Clerk's role in ensuring the fullest possible access and opportunity to vote for everyone in Champaign County. He made a solid case for progressives concerned about their voting rights in the current political environment to want someone who not only believes that certain Republican tactics can suppress the vote of marginalized communities, but will fight passionately to make sure that their voice is protected and heard too.

Michelle Jett of the People's Agenda then did a brief overview of the local races on the ballot and took some questions that eventually led into the next big topic of the event: actions that people can volunteer for and get connected with people to do the work.

Ann Quackenbush was the next speaker and assured people there that it just takes showing up and doing the work to get started. She explained how she went to a People's Agenda meeting after the 2016 election wanting to learn what she could do. Today's she's an elected committeewoman working to help get other candidates elected. She also explained the valuable roll that poll watching plays in the election process and how people can get more information and involved in that.

There was then a lot of questions and answers on various topics raised, opportunities, and election information from voting to being an election judge. There was also a quick rundown of logistics for people who were planning on attending another event directly after this one.

Carol Ammons ended the presentation on the historic nature of the times in which we live and the critical need for people to stand together and stand up for the vulnerable when they're under attack as it is an attack on us all.

For more information the People's Agenda has a contact form on their website. If you're interested in volunteering and getting involved in the work of winning elections, they have a form for volunteers to sign up here.

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