By William Kimani, Blue Future Fall and Winter Progress and Change organizer
I began hitting my stride during early 2020, the year couldn’t have looked more optimistic. I was working on climate first initiatives with multiple organizations and traveling all over the Metro Boston region meeting with different people and communities to hear their concerns and their hopes for a brighter, greener tomorrow. This all came to a grinding halt when COVID-19 lockdowns were initiated and we all became shuttered from physical interaction and kept in the confines of our homes. Fear engulfed our lives and we all felt seemingly helpless and out of some sort of control. The common methods of reaching out to people were simply too dangerous to undertake, and the sense of community once fostered at events was lost. However, seems like this was the end of building a community by organizing, this was the beginning of something new and something more inclusive.
The transition to online learning and online activities was difficult, having all of my family online at once leading to slow wi-fi, lacking the motivation to roll from one side of the bed to the other to hop onto a 7:30 am Zoom call, or inconveniently losing power before a presentation. The movement online met us with many barriers, but as we began to overcome those barriers an oasis in the middle of a barren desert began to form. This oasis was the creation of an online community that grew evermore stronger. This online community met in many different ways, for some it meant playing Fortnite with their friends, for others, it meant planning 6 pm thank you claps and community sing-alongs from our doorsteps or apartment windows using social media. The organizing community also adapted in a way that allowed for more inclusive participation in campaigning. Online phone banks, fundraisers, benefit concerts, and rallies allowed for people unconventionally involved in politics to finally get their shot at fighting for what they believed in. This allowed for a new diversity of voices on the political organizing scene that has enriched the Democratic party’s approach to community organizing.
Blue Future’s refreshed model fit right into this new oasis. Blue Future’s model went above and beyond in ensuring that new voices are welcomed and appreciated in the organizing community. I heard a lot about Blue Future from my friends and I decided to join. The Blue Future Leadership took us under their wing and paid us to learn the essentials to organizing in our communities and on campaigns. I for one used those skills in helping to get some candidates in my community elected. Blue Future’s approach to paying organizers to learn opens many doors for people who previously had financial and time barriers to organizing, and because the program is based online it opens the doors to traditionally politically underserved communities. It is my earnest hope that once the pandemic ends that the historical gatekeeping in organizing is truly broken down and a new wealth of politically-minded youth from across the socioeconomic spectrum will truly have their voices heard in the Democratic process.
About William: William Kimani is a junior from Taunton Massachusetts. William has been interested in politics since watching the Obama campaign win in 2008 due to the power of community organizing, but first got involved working at the New England Aquarium where he was exposed to climate injustices minority communities faced and the importance of passing a form of the Green New Deal. Since then, he has established a chapter of MAHSD in Taunton, volunteered on different campaigns, ballot initiatives, legislative agendas, and is currently interning for a City Councilor. William is also a Regional Director with Blue Future during the Spring for Progress & Change program.