A time to express thanks to very special people
It’s been a nail-biting and now celebratory week for democracy. Thanks have been pouring in for our Checklist’s role in the election outcome and our steadfastness over the years. While this gratitude touches me deeply, in this week’s inspiring message, I want to hold up to the light and credit the beautiful women, men, and nonbinary people of the AoCC team — past and present — who’ve made it possible.
Because my face is often in the spotlight, you might not know about the 50 current volunteers and the dozens more who’ve served over the last four years. So allow me to introduce you to this amazing, diverse group of people. They hail from nearly every corner of our nation including DC and several living abroad. Their ages range from 17 to 79. They hold differing views from Green, Democrat, Independent, and a few Republicans who’ve left their party. Several of us are bi, lesbian, gay, or pansexual. Some are Jewish, others Christians with a strong social justice bent, many are deeply spiritual.
No matter how different our experiences and perspectives, all have committed to manifesting our vision of a kind and thriving nation.
The gritty work of producing the AoCC
Each and every one plays a vital role. Some are doing the hidden work of researching our nation’s shameful actions, managing to find signs of hope and actions we can all take to be part of the solution. Others strive to incorporate non-violent, anti-racist messaging in our scripts and social media posts, uplifting our shared humanity over labels.
All our volunteers bring ideas and perspective to our meetings that make the work richer and stronger, even when we disagree.
To say that I am humbled by their efforts, heart, and commitment is an understatement.
Our volunteers saved the Checklist
It’s because of each person’s contributions that this work continued at all. Sometime back in 2017, I realized I could no longer do the Checklist research and writing alone and nearly shut down because the work was so taxing and demoralizing. One blessed volunteer, also named Jennifer, was my sole companion, diligently editing into the wee hours before publishing each week.
Some divine spark guided me to ask for more help, and I was astonished when dozens of people showed up to assist in posting our checklist on social media. This first experiment was such a success that a few months later, I put out a call for researchers and then action writers.
Today, the Checklist is researched, produced, and distributed not by one person alone, but by four dozen incredible volunteers including a few compensated roles of amazing professionals.
Proof that our volunteers are amazing
It’s important to stress that our volunteers show up while working a full time job or sometimes two — or searching for a job in this unstable economy. They volunteer elsewhere, engaging in activism and other service on a local level. One of our volunteers is a medic for in-person protests. Some are raising small children or special needs kiddos while serving as a de facto teacher during the pandemic. Several are teachers, and they are so, so tired.
Some of our volunteers manage mental and physical disabilities. Even with anxiety, depression, and PTSD, they jump into the fray to assist our nation. Others have lost loved ones in the last four years and show up to assist, even in their grief. Like first responders, this team is like a firefighting crew, going toward what’s burning to assist, rather than away, amidst personal challenges.
Knowing them as I do, I’m certain most will say, “Well of course I showed up. I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines and watch.” But now you know, dear reader, just what a gift their time and talent and heart are to this work.
While I am the “face” of AoCC, our work isn’t me, it’s we.
What the AoCC team has accomplished in 4 years
When we show up together, our efforts lead to big results.
- We’ve raised nearly $20,000 to fund IDs so people can vote.
- We’ve helped purchase hundreds of books for people in prison.
- We’ve supported asylum-seeking families get bail, get reunited, and get on the path to citizenship.
- We’ve advocated for the rights of our rainbow of neighbors from every religion, race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, and ability.
- We’ve worked our tails off to ensure that all Americans can cast a ballot in every election.
- Every month, we reach well over a million people each month through email and social media.
That’s not because of me, it’s because of we. Us together.
Announcing a gift and a request
In order to honor these incredible, dedicated people, I’m digging deep to make a $1,000 donation to Spread the Vote — one of our team’s favorite organizations — so that people in Georgia have IDs to vote in the upcoming January’s runoff. (See receipt below.)
If you’re moved by the work of our volunteers, I invite you to join me in making a donation in their honor to Spread the Vote.
Please, dear AoCC volunteers — past and present — comment below so we can give you a proper shout out. And know how grateful I am to you for your commitment, smarts, humor, ideas, and the nitty-gritty effort through this challenging chapter in our nation’s story. You absolutely and unequivocally rock!
With deepest love and gratitude,