By Joanna Setow, Blue Future Summer and Fall for Progress and Change organizer
After graduating from my senior year of high school, I was unsure of what to do next. I knew I wanted to get involved to help elect then-Vice President Biden to the presidency, but I didn’t know how to. I felt like I didn’t have the experience necessary to seek a position on any major national campaign. I had volunteered for local candidates and Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign in my home state of Massachusetts, but I still had much to learn about the world of organizing. Blue Future taught me the value of organizing and what it means to be an organizer.
As a part of the Summer and Fall for Progress and Change cohort, I learned the best practices for organizing and heard from public figures, from congressmen to leaders of non-profit organizations, about the significance of grassroots organizing. With each weekly training, I gained confidence in myself and my ability to create meaningful change in elections. Most importantly, I developed an understanding of why grassroots organizing is so powerful. By speaking to voters on a personal level and truly listening to their concerns, we can amplify their voices and restore their faith in our democratic institutions. Now, I recognize that with every volunteer I recruited, text message I sent, and phone call I made, I became part of a larger movement of people, young and old, who were eager to make their voices heard in our democracy.
However, organizing isn’t sexy. It’s legitimately hard work to continue to find the strength and courage to believe that your small incremental efforts will actually make an impact. When you’re deep in the electoral process and looking at the polls, it’s easy to feel discouraged and want to give up. After we failed to flip the Senate in November, I certainly felt like giving up. Nonetheless, I decided to remain involved when presented with the opportunity to continue organizing in Georgia with Blue Future. I couldn’t sit on the sidelines with so much at stake.
Now, with Jon Ossoff and Reverend Warnock’s victories, it is surreal to know that my work made a difference; volunteers I signed up for phonebanking shifts could have helped get out the vote in key precincts in Georgia. Ultimately, I’ve realized that organizing is not only conveying a personal message to another person about the importance of their participation in our democracy. Organizing is also an act of hope because it means you believe in the electoral process and that electing a certain candidate will yield a better future.
I see Blue Future as a part of a future, in which the Democratic Party wholeheartedly believes in empowering young people, like myself, to organize in their own communities. Blue Future gave me the opportunity to fully grasp my own influence as a young person in politics. I am extremely grateful to continue this lifelong fight to create a better democracy. With organizations, such as Blue Future, at the helm, I have faith that we can build a brighter and bluer future.
About Joanna: Joanna Setow is a current student at American University studying Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government. She is from Massachusetts and is passionate about organizing and electing progressive Democrats into office.