What Do We Do?
Neal Morgan, 2008 Obama For America Youth Vote Field Organizer
Many of us are feeling grief, anxiety, and frustration following the Trump victory and the early actions of his administration. Emotions like these can sit inside and weigh us down if they're not channeled and expressed. In the midst of a lot of clutter - - so many petitions, so many new organizations/projects sprouting up, so many options for where to put one's time, energy, or money - - we'll endeavor in this talk to take a look at the four or five best options for engagement right now and in the near-term. We'll walk through those options and identify one or two that feel good and right to you; that best match your skills, resources, and intentions.
I'll also be suggesting a way to think about the next two years that may help you pace yourself for the work ahead and perhaps bring a little peace of mind. We'll plot out something of a schedule and punch reminders into our calendars. (Hint: it has to do with the midterm elections in 2018. Stick with me - we'll do good work together.)
I will be available to all participants following the talk for the entirety of the Trump administration to support you in any way.
Bring a phone and something to write with. We'll be doing one, perhaps two short exercises to get us all focused on what I believe to be the very most important action to take right now. I'll have a handout, but there will be no powerpoint, I won't be doing a "presentation". We're going to really talk with one another.
The goal is that all in attendance will:
1) better understand their most immediate and best options for engagement given time, energy and resource constraints
2) know that one need be nothing more than what and who they are to make a real impact on/in our political process
3) understand further the REAL value(s) of becoming engaged in our political process
4) know that volunteering and getting engaged in electing and pressuring representatives, at least for Neal and everyone he's known, has been fulfilling and fun, opened doors to new opportunities, and, importantly, created new and lasting friendships
5) leave with an immediate and near-term plan of action + a 2-year plan
6) share their personal stories with one another for greater fellowship and connectio
7) leave feeling supported now and in the months ahead in whatever engagement feels right
Obama For America 2008 Youth Vote Field Organizer Neal Morgan returned from 16 days as a volunteer on the Hillary Clinton / Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Nevada in 2016 with fresh evidence of the impact one volunteer can have on turnout in a battleground state and yet another affirmation of the importance - for winning close elections, for the self, for neighbors and communities near and far - of knocking on doors. See his talk on the importance of volunteering for field programs and his letters from the Hillary campaign. He is currently working on organizing projects with other former Obama staffers and is an Organizing For Action Campus Coach.
In addition to organizing, Neal is a musician and writer; a former museum educator and art docent; taught a college course in 2001 and has given series of talks and lectures since 2012. He enjoys working with young people and speaking with groups. From his first day on a life-changing trip to volunteer for Obama in Iowa in late 2007, while running over ice with frozen snot between houses to secure caucus support for Barack, Neal Morgan developed a special reverence and love for canvassing. Since that time, over the course of thousands of doors knocked, voters registered, phone calls made and scores of volunteers recruited and trained as a battleground state Youth Vote Field Organizer for the "game-changing" '08 OFA campaign, Neal's understanding and conviction of the micro (net votes gained), macro (positive effects on society from civic engagement) and meta-level (fellowship) importance of the work has only deepened, as has his respect and appreciation for a good field program and for the staff and fellow volunteers that join together to do what it takes to win. He currently lives in Berkeley, CA.
Full resume here