I met with Patty on Wednesday at her DC office for her weekly “Coffee with Constituents.” When I introduced myself and as a member of Oly Indivisible, then said we had registered 1200 new voters in a year and a half, I got a round of applause from the other attendees and staffers. I reminded everyone that Tuesday, September 24th is National Voter Registration Day and that we have scheduled 8+ venues for that day.
Patty was very gracious and approachable. A nice and normal woman! Thank you, Patty for all that you’re doing to maintain our Democracy.
Local rally calls for Congress to cut funding to ICE, border patrol
A small crowd of passionate local activists rallied and marched in Olympia Friday evening to bring attention to federal immigration policies.
Specifically, the “Defund Hate” event aimed to carry a message that Congress should cut funding to immigration enforcement agencies.
Among the roughly 20 rally attendees was State Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia, who offered opening remarks before the group marched up Fifth Avenue Southwest from Heritage Park to wave signs at a busy roundabout.
“I think it’s really important for people to continue shining a bright light on the Trump Administration’s policies,” Doglio told The Olympian. “He’s making terrible decisions with very significant consequences.”
One person wore a sign with the words “Melt ICE” around her neck; another activist hoisted a sign reading “Brown Is Not A Crime!” while passing cars honked in support.
The event was organized and attended by members of Olympia Indivisible, the local chapter of a national progressive activism and lobbying organization. As of Friday, there were 21 events planned across the state this week as part of a “Defund Hate Week of Action,” according to an Indivisible spokesperson.
Carolyn Barclift is on the steering committee for Olympia Indivisible and led the organization of Friday’s event. She said the group held a similar rally and march earlier this year with an “Impeach Trump” theme.
Barclift said she originally got involved in Olympia Indivisible for the same reason she was an officer with the Olympia Police Department for 30 years.
“To stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves,” Barclift said, and to educate and help people.
She said the local organization now has more than 700 members.
For march attendees Jon and Lisa Ceazan, the issue of immigration is personal. The couple said they used to live in Los Angeles, where Jon owned a business.
Jon Ceazan said ICE agents raided his business about six years ago and arrested one of his employees. He said that employee, who had a wife and child, contacted him from the border just a day later.
“I don’t like how they operate,” he said.
Lisa Ceazan said she used to work with Salvadoran refugees when they lived in California.
“I just think it’s ugly what the Trump Administration is doing, and that’s why we’re here to protest it,” she said.
Olympia Indivisible member Joni Brill gave a simple answer as to why she showed up Friday evening:
“I have a heart,” she said. “I care about human beings,” before pointing out that most of the march attendees were of a certain age bracket.
“We’re in a crisis situation,” Brill said. “Old people — we remember when there was democracy in America.”
This past Saturday, I canvassed for Helen Wheatley in northwest Olympia. I visited 43 households, conversed with half a dozen voters, and left fliers at every home. It was a pleasure.
Now, to be perfectly honest, “pleasure” is NOT a word I would have paired up with “canvassing” when I first started walking neighborhoods on behalf of local candidates a couple of years ago. When I first canvassed, I was really, really intimidated (petrified, actually) by the prospect of ringing the doorbells of folks I did not know. All I could envision was Disaster:
I now know that I was suffering from Canvassing Anxiety Syndrome. Fortunately, I decided to give canvassing one try.
Miraculously, none of my doomsday scenarios materialized. I figured I had beat the odds, but I nonetheless decided to give it a second try, because I had to admit that it hadn’t been a disaster. Well, second canvass, still no catastrophe. In fact, in spite of all my expectations of epic failure, what I actually experienced was this:
First of all, I was always offered the chance to pair up with another volunteer (who invariably turned out to be a pretty nice person) to do canvassing. And between the two of us, we could manage to get across our talking points and get the data entered. And that the app didn’t blow up, no matter what we did wrong.
Secondly, I discovered that my nightmare fantasies about nobody ever coming to the door were simply unrealistic. What I learned was:
Thirdly, my fears about how folks who actually did answer the door would respond were largely unfounded:
So long story short, I keep on showing up to canvass.
Today I realize that overcoming Canvassing Anxiety has been transformative in ways I could not have imagined when I first gave it a try. Volunteering to canvass is an important practical means of supporting and getting out word about an issue or candidate. it promotes participative democracy, good citizenship, and community. At the end of the day, my most important job as a canvasser is not to convert folks whose minds are clearly firmly made up, but to respectfully exchange information with my fellow citizens. I know when I canvass I am, in my own very small way, helping nurture the change I want to see in my nation, right here at home.
Canvassing also has taught me that cultivating and sustaining a genuinely positive and respectful approach is not only useful as a practical canvassing tactic, it is empowering and pleasurable. I feel more resilient than I did two years ago and I owe some of it to canvassing.
For all these reasons, I encourage you to give canvassing a try.
- Lisa Ornstein