By Morgan Stahr, Blue Future Co-Founder & Co-Director
This week marks one year of me being full-time at Blue Future. To say this is the best place I have ever worked would be an understatement. Each day I feel so grateful for the work I get to do and the people I get to do it with. A year ago, I was struggling to find opportunities at the height of a raging pandemic that’s when Blue Future had the funding to bring me on full time. Like some say, “Everything happens for a reason” and with how this all worked out I really believe it. As I reflect on this past year, I can’t help but smile at all we’ve been able to accomplish as an organization.
When I joined Blue Future we had to think quickly to change our on-the-ground canvassing program to a virtual one overnight. That’s when we started our Progress and Change programs where we offered paid stipends to organizers who were trained in all areas of organizing and then spent 10 hours a week taking action. During the election, organizers focused on phone banking and recruiting volunteers in key swing states. During the Spring of 2021, we switched our focus to issue advocacy and held trainings on how to mobilize communities around specific issues. Since last May, we have held four Progress and Change programs where we have trained 250 young people on critical organizing practices as well as issues ranging from the climate crisis to racial justice and beyond.
In addition to this work, our organizers are now building Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) with their Members of Congress to make sure young people have a seat at the table in the halls of power. Within these YACs, young people have the opportunity to learn about the issues in their community and discuss with their representatives the best ways to move forward. It is our hope that these YACs will allow more young people access to politics and mobilize a whole new generation of young people to get involved.
In the past year, Blue Future has focused on professional development as well. We now offer free resume, cover letter, interview, salary negotiation, and networking workshops to all of our organizers. From these workshops, we have already seen the immense benefits — our organizers have gone on to intern, work, and run for office, giving them the opportunity to be leaders in the progressive movement.
However, what has been most valuable for me is all that I have had the chance to learn. As a former field organizer, I was familiar with what it took to mobilize voters and manage volunteers, but I never had the opportunity to run organizing programs, fundraise, and manage organizers. In this role, I have learned three key things that have allowed me to be successful thus far.
- Trust yourself, your team, and your organizers. Trust is the most important element of any relationship. To be confident in the work you do, you must trust your instincts. This also means trusting my team, their ideas, and the experiences they bring to the table. It also means trusting the young people we work with. I trust them to take on any project because I know they are smart, inquisitive, and hard workers. We at Blue Future want to make sure every organizer feels they have the agency to make change all on their own. We know they can and we trust them to do it.
- Lead with love. This pandemic has taught me that we can all use a little more love. Fortunately, in my work, I am able to work with love at the core of what I do. To me, that means giving people grace and being understanding of the factors in someone’s life beyond just work. Leading with love means considering equity and inclusion in all of our programming and decisions to make sure everyone knows that Blue Future is a place where you can feel supported and welcomed. By leading with love, I never feel as if I am “working,” I am simply doing what I love each day.
- Stay humble and hungry. In this work, people can quickly let their egos get the best of them and tout their success while hiding their failures. I try to remember that with every success we have, there is still more work to be done. And that work can never be done alone. I want to continue learning from all the people I can and develop new skills to help me become a better leader. Former CNN Host, Larry King, once said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. I never learned anything while I was talking.” This year has given me the chance to do a lot more listening which has led to a lot more learning, but it is only the beginning. I still have so much more to learn about progressive politics, management, and leadership.
As I round out my first year with Blue Future, I am so proud of what we have accomplished and more excited for what’s to come. We, as young people, have survived a narcissistic president, a Capitol insurrection, and a global pandemic, and yet young people have still proved to be the most resilient. I am constantly inspired by the young people I work with and am touched by the care, consideration, and leadership of the Blue Future Team. It is a privilege and honor to wake up every day and be a part of the progressive movement. It is my hope that this next year brings Blue Future more success and more positive change to our most vulnerable communities.
About Morgan: Morgan Stahr (she/her) from Hazleton, Pennsylvania. She moved to D.C. to attend American University and graduated in 2019. Morgan has experience as a field organizer on the Elizabeth Warren campaign and now leads as the Co-founder and Co-Director at Blue Future!