I sleep better knowing that I am part of the Resistance movement—a movement that will not tolerate the corruption and collusion of the Trump Administration; a movement that will expose the Republican establishment as bereft of patriotism or concern for the Republic; a movement to demand representation by our Representatives and remove them from office if they do not comply. The stakes are high, and they get higher, every day.
The Resistance has clearly demonstrated its potential for success. And, as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) recently said, Resistance, alone, is futile. Saying “No!” loudly and often is critical, but we are lost if we do not organize a sustainable, committed, locally-focused movement.
That’s why I am so proud of the work This Land Rising is doing.
After Election Day 2016, I found hope by doing something I had never really done before. I shared a few hours with my neighbors to talk about our community and how we could make it better. It was not revolutionary or the stuff of legend. It was an honest conversation shared over El Salvadoran pastries and vodka mixed with a light amount of OJ.
After that meeting, we agreed to get together again, so we started a small Facebook group to stay in touch. We met again in the months that followed, and our numbers steadily grew. At our fourth meeting had 125 people! The enthusiasm was palpable, and the energy truly needed. But the size of the meetings and effort to organize them was no longer sustainable or scalable, and we were quickly “burning out”. So we did an inventory on what was working.
We liked small group meetings, in person and offline, because we felt heard. We wanted to be neighbors talking to neighbors, not voices shouting in a crowd or worse, a “comments section”.
Even if we were only able to get together once a month, for a couple hours, that would be enough. So we founded This Land Rising– a loosely-coordinated group of local teams, with each empowered to focus locally and share the burden (and rewards) of civic engagement.
We are thirteen volunteers with no budget and a wide range of political experience (some none, some too much) but it is our hope that the model of This Land Rising will spread nationwide. In fact, it is our mission: to expand our participatory democracy by encouraging, educating and empowering thousands of small neighborhood-based teams to resist, organize, and rise, together.