We Need Leaders for the Long Haul. Here’s How to Join Us.

Retake Our Democracy is seeking leaders prepared to commit 5-10 hours a week. We can’t succeed without you, and you will receive extraordinary training and form a community of leaders, advocates, and friends for life. Make a difference.

earthcare-cdLet’s be frank. They hold ALL the cards except one:  the moral high ground. We are right. And we know it. So if we are effective in sharing our message with others in moral terms — justice, equity, honesty and fair play — we will eventually prevail. But not without you.

This struggle is not going to be sexy; there will be very few moments where we exult and claim “We won!” Indeed, we will lose far more often than not, and those losses will be especially painful for the communities and people who have been the focus of Trump’s vitriol. But we will build a movement; we will form relationships; we will create a strong infrastructure that can sustain us; and eventually we will prevail.

But for us to prevail, there are a few things we must do.

We must recruit and train strong leaders who coordinate and manage the details of this movement. Without this, nothing will happen. Please take a moment and consider what it would be like to be part of a strongly committed team, one that is trained in communication skills, cultural competence, community organizing, and advocacy, and that bonds together as a unit, not just as advocates but also as friends. We are planning some truly transformative training that will change you as you change our community.

I can also assure you from my experience in the Bernie campaign, if you commit to a leadership role, you will make meaningful friendships that will endure. And you will be able to look back on these times and say: I made a difference. I stepped up. I could have done any number of other things, but I chose to do this. I helped build a movement.

We must build relationships and a strong coalition with interfaith, advocacy, community organizing, political, and cultural organizations. We need to understand each other’s constituencies, operating principles, and practices, and develop a community of alliances that collaborates respectfully, with humility and with purpose. This will take time and leadership to develop..

We must expand and diversify our base through a sustained outreach effort that includes meet-ups, house parties, book clubs, and sustained outreach to those valiant progressives in communities beyond Albuquerque and Santa Fe. There are people ready to organize, but they need leadership, support, and resources.

We must grow a team of what Rev. William Barber (Moral Mondays) calls Activist Scholars who work to develop what I call Activist Toolkits — an assembly of compact, concise information on ever larger number of issues, to be used by canvassers, house party hosts, meet-up facilitators, in press releases, and on social media, and by people like you when you are talking with your neighbor. Our leaders will help ensure a consistency in this work, with kits of high-quality reliable resources, using language couched in moral terms that seeks common understanding among people from whom we have historically been divided — divided by misinformation, distrust, and hate.

We must support development of activism in other communities. The truth is that Santa Feans don’t really have to lobby with our Roundhouse or Washington delegations. The recent change in the Roundhouse means that we could pass a few veto-proof bills in healthcare, early childhood, or election and ethics reform. But to achieve this goal, we need people in Belen, Alamogordo, Roswell, Socorro, Deming, Truth or Consequences, Raton, Farmington and more conservative parts NM to get organized and advocate. Legislators from these parts of NM do not care a bit about Santa Fe input, but they care deeply about their own constituents, and they noticed what happened in a good many NM races in 2016. They want to keep their jobs. Let’s make them earn it. Retake Our Democracy will provide resources and support to leadership in any community seeking to develop a hub of activism, but we need leaders to coordinate this work.

We must advocate at the Federal level. Lujan, Lujan-Grisham, Udall, and Heinrich are poised to resist Trump initiatives. So, we have one clear objective: pressure the one Representative who has not indicate a firm stance: Steve Pearce. Fortunately, a critical side benefit derived from building strong activist hubs in conservative strongholds to lobby in the Roundhouse, is that many of these same hubs can apply pressure on Pearce at a Federal level.  As Trump rolls out plans to slash social security by 17% there will be many seniors who have moments of: “What?  I didn’t vote for this.” And many more will have doubts when the GOP tries to dismantle ObamaCare and Medicare. Many who voted for Trump will have family members relying on Medicare to control their diabetes or pay for their chemotherapy. We need to seize these moments and, as the Reverend William Barber has said, use moral language that unifies across the divide. As he put it: “A moral movement must put human faces on injustice.” And so, when Trump and his Congressional allies begin to shred the the safety net, we must be there and put a human face on the issue, revealing those who suffer. And since people will suffer in Socorro, Deming, Belen, and other more conservative communities, we need to be ready to galvanize and activate those communities. They will be critical in the effort to influence Pearce.  And in 2018, those same activists — trained in communication, with trusted relationships throughout their communities, and experienced in community conversations, canvassing, the use of moral language, and in participating in the civic process — will be prepared to support candidates at the state and national level who advance the priorities of the majority.

So that is our charge. If you want to become a part of Retake Our Democracy’s leadership and make this happen, reply to this email and tell me that you want to lead. Together we will figure out the rest.

In solidarity,

Paul Gibson




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28 replies

  1. I am ready to step up as I cannot morally do anything else. I’ve been a teacher my whole adult life and more recently have committed to leadership Roles. I did the Leadership SF program last year and have been attending a variety of events here for Bernie and more recently, our democracy in general. Keep me posted! Jen Warren 660-9021

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. So powerful! I can’t wait to get back to Santa Fe to take part but that won’t be until late spring. See you then.

  3. Paul,

    Your post said to respond to “this email” so I am responding to the email announcing your latest post rather than posting a comment.

    Your key words of “Engage, Educate and Activate” are strong attractors to me. I might have the most problem with activating and at this point reaching out to those who either see Trump as their leader or are not concerned about his presidency (although I have had training in communication skills including Crucial Conversations and I have signed up with Debra Oliver to take her training through Common Ground) .

    One of the most fulfilling times of my career was being the manager of a team of dedicated professionals. Other than many staff remain among my closest friends (and I hope to bring their considerable skills to deal with this clear and present danger), I am not sure about my leadership skills certainly in a political volunteer arena. What I do know is that there are times it takes more hours than reasonably available in the day to serve in such rolls.

    My background in the nuclear industry (commercial and government), radiation safety, and safety assessments, were supported by my natural tendency towards pessimism rather than optimism which can bum people out. So you may need leader having more positive energy. But I am retired and am willing to dedicate 5 to 10 hours to protect and retake our democracy. So at the very least I would wish to interact with your leadership team more than through the occasional post to your blog. So let me know about any constructive role you could see from me. One of those management skills included the recognition of individual strengths and weaknesses of my people and trying to maximize the use of their individual strengths by shaping their roles. Although we all want to improve our areas of weakness and we can help each other in that regard, it is best not to stress such or force them in positions that would emphasize those areas of weakness.

    One of the areas that I would see in educating and messaging would be to better understand (educate) what it means to be a PATRIOT and take that title back from those who believe it only means guns and flags, and “my country right or wrong”.

    Yours sincerely,

    John >

  4. I’m very interested. I had rotator cuff surgery yesterday. My kids will be here over the holidays. Will be available in the new year

  5. Hi Paul,
    I am in Santa Fe, not any of the other NM towns you mentioned who need activists. What can we do in Santa Fe?

    • We are organizing to expand our base in Santa Fe, to lobby the roundhouse and city council and at a federal level. But one of the groups forming will be Santa Fe volunteers focused on helping people organize in other communities in NM. Love to have you involved.

  6. OK Paul. I’m interested Alexanna

  7. Paul –

    I’m in.

    I live between Tijeras and Edgewood in Bernalillo County, if that is helpful.

    Best regards,

    Christina Allday-Bondy


  8. Count me in!

  9. Count me in,too. Paula

  10. Paul, I am interested. I responded to the original e-mail which I know see is incorrect. I hope to have the right spot now.

  11. I am interested in the training as well. Lots of experience canvassing and phone banking with clerical/driving employment background.

  12. I have 5-10 hours a week to give and am very interested in participating in any way. Not much experience in this arena, but motivated to learn. I met you at the Reistance training at Earthcares. Please let me know of next steps. Many thanks for the work you are doing!

  13. Sign me up, Paul. I’ve got 5-10 hrs/wk I can commit Happy to take on a leadership role and coordinate any of the various activities. Would love to also participate in the training.

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