Hello CBID! I am incredibly grateful and humbled to take on the Presidency of the Club. For those who don’t know me, I have worked around local politics and civic engagement for the last 9+ years. I have worked on the governmental side of things, on campaigns, and on civic awareness and participation projects throughout the City. CBID has always been my political home, and I’m excited about what we have in front of us.
What do we have? Well, to be honest, a whole lot of work. Since the Presidential election we have been talking about 2018 as a target and bullseye to gear our work towards. And now we’re here. We have both Congressional races around the country and State Senate races here at home of the utmost importance. We have the ability to flip both the House of Representatives and the New York State Senate. I can’t think of two bigger whales to go after – not that I condone the hunting of whales, you can take up issues with that metaphor with Melville.
In order to make substantive change in this City and this country, I see two main things we all need to do: focus and push ourselves. I will admit that sometimes I get totally overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead. Between interviewing candidates, researching races, then getting into petitioning for both Federal and State races, canvassing, phone banking, text banking…it can seem daunting. I want to stress something I try to tell everyone: you don’t have to do everything. No one will do everything. But if we work together and keep organized (which, in large part, is mine and our Executive Committee’s job), then everyone can stay focused on their work. Do you love petitioning? Do you feel passionate about one candidate in particular? Do you want to focus on phone banking? There are always options and always work to do, but the first step is YOU identifying what you want to do. We will make sure to plug you into the right effort, don’t worry about that. But it begins with you.
Second, I want to mention that all of us need to push ourselves into more uncomfortable territories. Activism should take us our of our comfort zones, and if it’s not, then ask yourself why. Door knocking, attending protests, lobbying legislatures, calling representatives – there are so many ways to DO something, I want to challenge all of us to do something that is more uncomfortable than we normally do. These actions aren’t all we can do, often times the little things end up meaning more. That also extends into conversations we have. If someone makes you uncomfortable in the way they talk about race or gender, but you’ve never been comfortable to bring it up to them – do it. These little actions are just as important as the bigger, more public ones.
Activism is all on us and starts with yourself. It starts with you asking for help. Then we can and will help one another and work together.