Reflections on Organize for Democracy: Marquita Young
Blue Future teamed up with Grassroots Democrats HQ to create a compensated program to train young people in virtual organizing, which we called Organize for Democracy. At the conclusion of the program, we asked 3 of our wonderful participants to write a reflection on their time in the program.
If I had to choose one word to describe my freshman year of college in the year of 2020, it would be unforgettable to say the least. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the highly anticipated presidential election compounded with the many protests during that time there were a lot of changes happening rapidly that highlighted the many inequities that were present within our society. I knew that I wanted to help address the issues that had been festering within my community for years that were only exacerbated by the pandemic and during this time I was elected as a committee member back home in Philadelphia.
Through this opportunity, I was able to become directly involved with the community by canvassing, getting voters registered, providing applications for mail-in ballots and serving as the judge of elections within my district. This experience taught me the importance of becoming politically active within your community and made me yearn for more experiences where I could become a part of something bigger. Therefore when I received the email about Blue Future recruiting for volunteers, I knew this would be something where I could be a part of making sustainable changes within communities near and far.
My time with Blue Future has taught me so much more about activism and how to engage with those from communities aside from my own. I learned various problem solving strategies, about professional development, and the best way to organize. My time with the organization has given me the confidence to begin organizing on my own instead of waiting for other opportunities to do the work that I am the most passionate about. It has provided me with a networking circle of other young people like myself who have similar interests. Hearing about their experiences has also given me hope and has urged me to continue to do the work that I am doing because it is easy to lose sight of the objective when I am not surrounded by those with similar interests. However, Blue Future provided a community of organizers who feel similar to the way that I do.
At times it was easy to become discouraged by the lack of those who answered the phone, but the Blue Future training always helped to remind me that it is about aggregate impact and that those few voters that we connected with are still very important. The structure of the program made me realize that making sustainable changes within a given community is heavily dependent upon having a group of people who are dedicated to working toward a particular goal regardless of the size. Having a schedule that you adhere to and having someone for volunteers to check in with all contributes to a successful organization. I felt like Blue Future was great in that it was flexible and did not feel like a huge commitment or inconvenience but like I was still a part of something that had a major impact. Overall, I really enjoyed working with the program and hope to be a part of making more change with Blue Future in the future.
Originally from Philadelphia, Marquita Young is a junior studying political science and criminal justice at American University in Washington, D.C.