I must admit I was terrified. Being dropped in a smaller conservative area to block paid signature gatherers is a bit daunting. Not to mention the reality of being dropped into a gaggle of organizers that I do not know where the Task Force is not running the show.
The questions that I asked myself were: What did they know? What role was I expected to take on? What was I ready to take on? Would they resent it? These questions swirled through my brain as the plane glided over the Midwest.
Getting a tour of the office did little to quell my fears and I tried not to look horrified. Running with Equality for All organizers I made sure to let them lead the way. Keeping in the theme of team and staying on a level playing field I did not take the initial lead. I wanted to see how they operated and know their habits and tactics. Granted this was tougher than you would think it would be. Taking more patience than I thought I had.
Through working, asking, prodding my fellow organizers to prepare, to be better and it made me realize just how far I have come as an organizer. Working wit Brandi and Demi on volunteer recruitment got me to thinking about the work the Los Angeles team put into developing fellows last summer. This time around I trusted myself more than ver. I knew that I could successfully contribute to the work. Working one-on-one with Brandi showed me that I may not like every moment of it but I could make it worth something. Being able to meet people where they are at and inching them where you want them to be is one of the most important skills an organizer can have. People don’t usually move in leaps especially when its hard work but that should never stop you from getting behind them and pushing this past their real or imagined limitations.
I really struggle with the feeling of needing to train these organizers on how to better do the work. I feel with proper training the Riverside team could have pushed forward and ramped up their numbers of volunteer show-ups. Breaking the organizers into different teams during the week and allowing volunteer recruitment to be more methodical and less scatter shot could have meant the difference in making sure efforts were focused and successful.