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An all-nighter of collaborative advocacy


I recently had the pleasure of supporting a coalition fighting major national legislation. It's easy to point fingers at progressive advocates for not doing enough to collaborate. It seems that the dark side of being a liberal thinker is you don't always get along with others. I think we can all agree that our side suffers from a fair amount of shaming others for not being woke enough, or for supporting companies that don't embody our values. And it's hard not to watch with a little bit of envy the near militaristic message loyalty on the other side of the aisle.

But during a recent campaign, I truly enjoyed witnessing an example of progressive collaboration over a 24-hour period.

A national group organized a rally in front of the Capitol Building, while those inside "debated" a truly despicable piece of legislation. The rally promised to last as long as the debate. In November. In the rain. The rally continued into the night and the following day.

Organizers live streamed the full event, which was made possible by a truly collaborative lineup of progressive allies. Groups signed up to take an hour at time, filling their slots with advocates, community members and employees.

The event ended up filling more than 28 hours in the November cold, but the energy was vibrant. Partly because there was so much time to fill, and so many groups needed to pull it off, the content of the event ended up being more raw, more personal and less rehearsed than is usually seen in the proximity of the Capitol Building. Artists sang. Actors performed sketches. Activists tried to act. Researchers read reports. But most powerfully, people told their stories. Hour after hour.

It's a beautiful thing when we can rally together in support, solidarity and story.

Those on our side of the issue inside the Capitol watched the livestream. Many joined in. One said that she wasn't planning to come out, but the energy of the event compelled her to walk outside and express support for the work we were doing. Sadly the vote did not go our way. But the energy and collaboration expressed gave me hope for the future.

 

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