08/10/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Unmasking Your Power

The efforts of New Organizing Institute's BootCamp participants - 60 young organizers chosen for a crash course in utilizing new media for progressive campaigning - will be tested today in an interactive online mock campaign.

We've spent all week receiving technological training and getting drilled by expert instructors in effective organizing. BootCamp would not be complete without sleep deprivation, and we've all stayed up late each night working on electing various superheroes into office. Not quite as intense as Marine Corps basic, but I must admit that I'm exhausted.

A fundamental element of our campaigns has been developing a compelling narrative: of our candidates, our campaigns, and of each person involved. Whatever drives a person to seek change in the world, either through political office or through community empowerment, it is our histories that communicate to others the values the decision were based upon.

As a veteran and activist with Iraq Veterans Against the War I can attest to the strong bonds that are formed when people are united through intense and unique experiences. My organization definitely relies on our members to relay these experiences to increase support and it is important for our members to relate their stories with civilians. This empowers veterans to choose solidarity over isolation and allows our community a better understanding of war so that we can all heal.

Perhaps NOI planned all along to create such an intense and unique experience so that each participant could leave here armed with a story to tell.

You can participate in the online election today, Friday, July 10th, from 7am-6pm EST at and in case you were wondering I'm on Team Spider-Man (visit -