My Facebook feed has been blowing up lately with the latest horrors brought to us this year: the next picks for the Cabinet, how the next Administrations is planning to circumvent National Monument status and drill, mine, and ranch on protected lands. How Women’s rights are being threatened in innumerable ways across the country. How people of color are being profiled and threatened. How LGBTQ people are insidiously being pushed back toward the closet.
All in all, things are looking pretty scary. This year has even seen some symbolic losses. Great people like David Bowie, celebrate singer, and well known for defying gender roles died. Mohamed Ali, boxer, Muslim, and peace protester died. Carrie Fisher, Princess Leah and outspoken activist for mental health and addiction died.
It’s been hard. Sometimes that it feels like even in our calm moments we can’t even find rest. But, when things get rough we need to run. And I don’t mean run away from the fight. I don’t mean run and hide. I mean the opposite. I mean take a deep breath and jump right in for more, run toward it-
I mean run for office. If you are are a young person, someone affected by student loans, someone affected by the medical system in the US, someone who identifies as having a disability, someone who is LGBTQ, a person of color, non-Christian or a non-thiest, you very likely do not see yourself represented in your Representatives. Your voice may not always be heard. But, you can do something about it. You can get out there, you can run for office to make your voice, and the voices of people with lives like yours heard.
This may seem like a daunting task, but it is not. You may feel under-qualified, but when we all work together, we can achieve. There are groups that train people to be able to have the skills to run for office. You can start local, tackling issues like your local school board, Utility Commission, or city council, or you may have a lot of ideas and want to go bigger, like the State. In any case here are a list of places that can help you on your path to becoming a Representative, a Leader, and a fantastic community member:
She Should Run: This is a group set up by Wendy Davis of Texan Women’s Right’s fame. You may remember her badass stand for reproductive rights in her running shoes as she filibustered for 15 hours with the help of other Representatives. Now, she wants to help that be you. This is a class, but also a community, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Emily’s List: This is another group that focuses on training and help for women working to run for office. It has some great resources, and I know a couple women who have run this way, and got some fantastic training. It is definitely worth checking out.
Bridges, and Librotraficante: Both of these help people of color get training and run for office. Bridges is located in Oregon and Librotraficante is in the Southwest (Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona) but both offer training at different times, so keep an eye on them to see if they have anything you might be needing or wanting.
The Victory Fund: This one helps members of the LGBTQ community run for office with workshops, and financial assistance.
The Disability Caucus: This is an interesting joint caucus that includes US and Canadian politicians who are trying to get more people with disabilities actively involved in politics. They encourage people to contact them with questions or for help.
Hopefully this helps you start to work out where to get the tools for your tool boxes, and we can start getting out there, getting educated, and getting to work. Because if we don’t someone else will, and they may not have the voice we need.