A few weeks ago I did something that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I went door knocking with a few others from my church to get out the vote for the upcoming primary elections occurring in our county. Being an introvert, the idea of knocking on stranger's doors made my stomach drop and my heart race. This was not something I really wanted to do at all. We were going as part of a larger community organizing group in my county called Action in Montgomery (AIM). (Montgomery is the name of our county.) After hundreds of house meetings to hear what the issues that most concerned residents in our county, AIM came up with a platform of five issues that we have been asking all the candidates running for county council and county executive to support. These issues include affordable housing, immigration, pedestrian safety, education, and community centers.
As part of the door knocking strategy we were educating our neighbors about these five issues and also listening to our neighbors to hear if these issues were a concern for them (and what else also concerned them). I have to say the experience was amazing. My fiancé and I paired up together (it helped big time to have a buddy with you) and the first 6 doors no one was home. We'd knock, my palms would sweat, my heart would race, the butterflies in my stomach with flutter like crazy and then nothing. Finally, we got our first live person and he was wonderful. He actually knew about the issues already and was planning on voting, but it was nice to have a friendly person get us going. The next two doors were not so good; one informing us she wasn't going to vote and immediately shutting the door and the other just not interested. We spent about an hour and a half knocking on doors and had about three good conversations, which apparently is about the average.
By the end of our time I was exhausted, but now that I've had time to reflect, I feel very empowered. I still got nervous with every door knock, but those three conversations were great and important. I think I helped encourage three more people to vote and to consider important social justice issues when they voted. Knowing my work was not isolated, but as part of a larger movement of people in our county energized and strengthened me.
This fall, I encourage all of you to push yourselves out of your comfort zone whether that means writing a letter to your member of Congress for the first time or organizing a group of people to lobby or something else entirely. Feel free to post your reflections on your experience here, so we can together feel united, empowered, and encouraged by your work.
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