I didn’t truly recognize and appreciate how volunteering at the local and state election levels would give me a better chance of impacting my family’s daily life until this year. Call me myopic. Like millions of other Americans, I admit that before the 2020 Election I voted but never proactively volunteered. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just didn’t dedicate time beyond studying the issues and voting. This year, I devoted time to volunteering for the November election for three reasons:
2) Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death
3) The gift of empowerment from my employer
Let me explain. As a mother of twin 11-year-olds, I believe I have a duty to educate my children on what’s right and wrong. Like most parents, I teach my children that it’s wrong to lie. We also believe in the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How Trump has continuously spewed blatant lies throughout his administration and incited violence is reprehensible. It’s not what I want my children to see in a President of the United States.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, I cried. I cried as a woman, I cried as a mother, I cried for my daughter. Every woman has the right to control her body, just like every man has the right to control his body. You don’t see men wanting to step in and take our place, do you? I fear for young women in the United States. I fear that we are going backwards on women’s rights. And, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen without a fight. I immediately called my senator, Tammy Duckworth’s office to volunteer.
I feel very fortunate that during this unprecedented year I’m employed by an organization, Effect Partners, that not only believes in social impact but empowers it. We were encouraged to help in our community and to focus efforts on positively impacting the elections at our local and state levels. Effect Partners did just that; we affected the outcome. We flipped our website to be a voter resource hub, we made Election Day a holiday, and we volunteered.
Our collective volunteer time among six employees ranked hundreds of hours.
My colleagues did extraordinary things: they helped get the daughter of Nigerian immigrants elected as a state representative in Minneapolis, our home base, beating a veteran DFL candidate. One launched a website, HealtheVote.com, to help people have conversations about the election. Another documented the entire election day experience via photography for the ACLU. Me, I phone banked for candidates who were pro women’s rights. I was hung up on and sworn at but continued at it because I needed to explain to my children that one person can make a difference with their vote, with their conversations, and with their time.
To improve your life, look around you at the local efforts. See what resonates with you and where you want to see change. You can let life happen to you or you can create the life you want. Which is it going to be?
Written by Susan Peters, SVP Food & Wellness at Effect