Sometimes advocacy is about getting together. And so, we gathered over tea and coffee at our local café-bookstore to dedicate our postcard writing to an issue that tugs at all our hearts, the cruel separation of families and treatment of asylum seekers. Piles of colorful postcards provided by MomsRising were spread out on the tables - and not a cup of coffee was spilled!
We are part of what has become a powerful grassroots organization in Concord, New Hampshire - Kent Street Coalition. We began soon after the 2016 election, and in just a short time, we have become a powerful force for change in our state. Kent Street’s success is related to the realization that “each of us brings varying degrees of time, availability, experience, knowledge, and skills”. We have created a safe and welcoming space where the contributions of all are appreciated. Some advocate at the legislature, some attend vigils and visibilities, still others write letters to the editor. Our newest endeavor is writing personal postcards to powerful people in our government.
During the 2018 midterms, we gathered at “True Brew”, a local coffee shop, to write postcards to voters. The first postcard effort was funded by Commonsense for New Hampshire. Our writers provided information about local candidates, and emphasized the importance of voting.
Soon our postcard cafes became a popular event. We began with about fifteen people, but the numbers quickly soared to 30 or more. They were a perfect opportunity for those with limited time to get involved in our efforts. It quickly became clear what a big impact our efforts were having! Kent Street canvassers reported back that they were hearing about the postcards as they knocked on doors. People were really impressed that someone had taken the time to share their views with a handwritten note. Candidates were also getting great feedback from constituents.
When the election was over, no one wanted the postcard gatherings to end. So we kept going – and the crowds continue to grow.
At today’s café, our volunteers were busy writing postcards to Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen, as well as our U.S. Senators, and members of the Conference Committee. We also wrote notes in Spanish to asylum seeking mothers detained at the border. MomsRising provided impeccable organization with names and addresses, suggested messaging, postcards, and special notecards and words of support and care translated into Spanish for detained mothers.
But there is nothing grim about the gathering; instead there are introductions, lots of chatter, and the growth of a community. This experience leads to deep appreciation of the presence of all of the participants. Frequently, our postcard writers acknowledge “how good it feels to be with other like minded folks.”
Every two weeks our postcard brigade gathers. Now that we have learned how powerful our voices can be, we will never be silenced.