My start in organizing came when I started Cub Scouts at age six. In all honesty, I was only in it for the snacks and games, but soon enough I noticed the bricks being laid right up until my graduation as an Eagle Scout. My experiences in scouting gave me the tools needed to organize events such as fundraisers for FIRST Robotics, of which I’m also a proud alumnus.
I’m now an advertising student at Columbia College Chicago. I’ve served as secretary of our Audio Engineering Society chapter, as well as a player, captain, and coach on our basketball team, but it wasn’t until I received a job at Environment New York as a canvasser that I really began to see organizing in a whole new way.
Canvassing is a hard job. There were days when I could feel a real, powerful connection being made with somebody, while others times I couldn't even get anyone to look me in my eyes. Constant rejection and even occasional harassment was part of the job. Still, to this day, it is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
Hours outside in June, while being ignored by countless people passing by may seem to contradict that, but the chance to explore all of New York State inspired me. The importance of protecting the Clean Water Act and the like-minded individuals I worked and bonded with inspired me. Taking photos with our supporters and gathering petition signatures while watching the Rangers play for the Stanley Cup in Bryant Park inspired me. But most importantly, stopping a total stranger to tell them face-to-face why these issues are so important, and then watching as that stranger became a new supporter, an activist, and maybe even an organizer is what truly inspired me. It’s an incredible feeling.
Since Environment New York, I’ve started an internship with Organizing for Action. My role here is different. I’m now using my skills in writing to reach supporters in an entirely new way, but the message remains the same. If there’s something you want to be involved in, something you want to fight for, or even something brand new you want to start, it's up to you to find your inspiration and take action.
Strong organizers are needed to fight back on issues that affect us all