As the dust settles on what was a long and happy night for so many of us, I can't help but think of what happened just two short years ago.
I want so much to stay in the present and appreciate the enormous wins for equality and justice, but I keep getting the tiniest gut clench when I think of 2010.
Historically, people work as hard as they can every four years to see their choice for president win that spot in the Oval Office. After that, they mostly go back to their lives, watch the news, go to work, spend time with their loved ones and after four years of that, they go back to the struggle to undue the damage of the previous four years.
What if it weren't that way? What if there was a way of keeping people energized and excited about how our country works outside of the electoral cycle? What if people were engaged in what's happening to their rights and their freedoms 12 months out of every year? Is something like this possible? Is there an alternate reality where it's not just every four years we start thinking about what's next?
In order to maintain our wins from November 6th, it's essential for us to stay involved. When we stop paying attention, it all gets taken away and the air in the room is inevitably taken up by extremists and those whose values are the exact opposite of our own. How do we fix that?
Every year, the New Organizing Institute hosts RootsCamp. RootsCamp is an "un-conference" where the attendees design the agenda when they arrive. For two days in Washington, D.C., organizers of every stripe present sessions on the lessons they've learned from the previous year of work. Whether you win or lose, there's always something you can teach and something you can learn. The attendees of RootsCamp range in age, experience level, background and job status.
The event this year is scheduled for November 30th and December 1st and is being held at the Washington Convention Center. As of now, representatives from Planned Parenthood, Freedom to Marry, Family Equality Council, Promise Arizona, Organizing for America, Adios Arpaio, Human Rights Campaign, NGP/VAN, Upworthy, ActBlue, United Steelworkers, SEIU, Courage Campaign, Innermost Labs and dozens of other organizations, campaigns, technology companies, start-ups, media groups and more will all be in attendance. And they will all be sharing their best practices from this extraordinary year of organizing.
The first step in what's known as engagement organizing is to allow ample space and time to debrief your work. The conversation we're having didn't end yesterday, it began. There are so many extraordinary opportunities ahead of us, but we must keep our momentum or we stand to take major steps backwards. I'll be there and I hope you will be too.
You can find out more at RootsCamp.org.