One of the main reasons I have stayed sane over the past 3 years, is the support of the amazing friends in my Democracy Club. As the incredible Joan Baez said: “Action is the Antidote to Despair.” My friends make it so easy to stay active: we have ideas, we do things together, and we always support each other.
So what exactly is a Democracy Club anyway?
It’s like a book club, but for democracy. Yep, it really is that simple. You get a group of friends together, and instead of all reading the same book and discussing it (just in case you didn’t know what a book club was), you and your friends talk about political engagement, come up with ideas for political actions, and you do them. Sometimes together, sometimes apart, and then you report back.
You decide on a frequency. We found that once a month works for us. We alternate between potluck brunches and evening meetings with snacks and drinks. We still sometimes see each other at different actions around town and we hang out as friends in between our meetings, but the meetings are really special.
We also found that we need at least two hours, because we love each other and need time to catch up before we get down to business. But the beauty of democracy club is that it’s really what you make it. You can decide how often, how long, and what you do! You also decide how many members you want. For us, about 10 works, there’s enough people that we still have productive meetings even if some of us can’t make it, but it’s small enough that we all have a voice.
What kind of things do we do?
All sorts of things! Our actions have included: writing postcards and letters to voters; going to rallies and marches together; registering new voters; talking about messaging; discussing ways of engaging our friends and family; throwing house party fund-raisers. We’ve even canvassed and phone banked together.
A few months ago one friend in my group organized a voter registration party that focused on choosing your party. Because in Oregon, you must be registered for the party you vote for in the primary. Since Oregon has automatic registration, if you don’t make a conscious choice of party, you will be designated “unaffiliated” and you will not be able to vote in the primary.
As a side note, Oregon and several other states have this rule. So if you want to vote in the primary, check your state’s rules and make sure you have a party chosen if it’s necessary! But we all helped out with the party. From picking up food, to setting up, and cleaning up among other things. I provided the playlist. Oh yeah, I have an awesome inspirational Spotify playlist that you are welcome to use!
We also wanted to share our intentions and hopefully inspire others to start their own Democracy Club. So we put together a website with information on how to get started! It includes a really handy PDF download with steps on starting and great resources for actions! Please check it out: startademocracyclub.org
The other reason I love it!
I absolutely love these women and I couldn’t imagine going through this without them. We work hard, but we also have so much fun together. We make doing all these things, a lot of which are outside of my comfort zone and I wouldn’t necessarily choose to do on my own, so much fun! We commiserate and support each other when things are rough, but we also celebrate our victories! I want this for all of you! I hope you find your democracy club. <3
*this post was originally posted on January 5, 2020 on my personal blog brentwooddarlingtonapothecary.com