By Eleanor Alfano, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
Angry. Disappointed. Horrified. Somewhat optimistic for change. These words and phrases describe exactly how I felt one week after George Floyd had been murdered at the hands of Minneapolis Police.
George Floyd was murdered about 20 minutes away from where I lived in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My family and I drove through Lake St., a street a few blocks away from 38th & Chicago, the same day that Floyd was killed.
It was a warm, cloudy day in May. The temperature was surprisingly hot considering that it had been relatively cold the past few weeks. At the time, I had never heard the name George Floyd before. It wasn’t until that night when millions of people would hear his name for the very first time and demand justice.
I wanted to get involved. I could not stop thinking about George Floyd’s family and the Minneapolis community, especially Black and Brown members, that week. I helped organize a food drive after the civil unrest, just blocks away from my house. However, I wanted to do more and get involved to see that change, that everyone was demanding on the streets.
That week, I did an online search to find youth organizations that supported Black Lives Matter and committed to fight for racial equality & justice. It was that day that I found Blue Future, an organization that connects young people to progressive campaigns and works to push for progressive change. I had seen some posts on social media regarding Blue Future, but I never looked at their website and learned about their work until this point.
Soon after, I contacted the organization via email to ask if I could get involved, in some shape or form. Morgan, one of the co-founders, replied immediately and graciously invited me to attend the upcoming training. I, then, applied to the Fall for Change Program, which was focused on the November election.
This was the first time that I called voters to make sure that they were registered to vote and that they were voting for Democrats up and down the ballot. Through this program, I learned that we need to have meaningful conversations with voters to enact change. Just one conversation with a voter can impact the state’s and country’s outcome in an election. This fact has been proven multiple times before, like Pennsylvania and Georgia in 2016 when just a few votes per precinct could have changed the result of the election.
Lastly and more importantly, I realized the power of young people. Although we worked remotely, I absolutely loved working alongside young people. Together, we fought for a blue future, and as a result of the November election, our efforts paid off. But, this victory was just one step in the right direction.
Because of the new skills that I had gained through my work with Blue Future, I was ready to continue this work on my own. I volunteered for the Jon Ossoff campaign in January. I made calls every day until the election. If it weren’t for Blue Future, I would have never known about these opportunities.
Next month, I joined Blue Future’s Spring for Change Program. I was excited to work with fellow organizers from the Midwest. I also wanted to put racial equality at the forefront of issues to address and work on for my Youth Advisory Council. While we are still working to reach our representatives and engage more with the Council, I am very appreciative to be working with such a great group of people. As a group, we will push to address inequalities and issues in our local communities and our Midwest region.
In this program, I also gained a new understanding of different organizations that push for change. For example, organizations like Rise, March for our Lives, and Planned Parenthood are all working on progressive action regarding their different causes. Each organization presented a PowerPoint regarding their cause and the numerous ways that we can help to ensure change.
Blue Future is truly an incredible organization that continues to push for change every single day. I am so grateful that I was able to meet such a passionate group of people that continue to inspire me in every way. I will use the skills and lessons that I have gained at Blue Future to further my work as an activist and organizer. The organizers, leaders, and founders of Blue Future will always be a group of people that I will look up to for advice and inspiration. I’m glad that I finally felt like I had a voice and could use that voice to make an impact in my community.
About Eleanor: Eleanor Alfano (she/her) is a junior at Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. She first got involved in community organizing and advocacy this past year. Although, Eleanor was not old enough to vote, she wanted to have some say in this recent election. She participated in Blue Future’s Fall Program and then applied to the Spring for Change Program. Eleanor is determined to fight for racial justice and accountability, climate justice, and women’s rights. She is optimistic for a future that includes everyone regardless of their race, gender, or background. Eleanor looks forward to becoming a better activist, advocate, and organizer in her community and country.