“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
She was right when she said it and she’s still right today. I think we forget this sometimes, but, last night, I had the pleasure of being reminded by the first official organizing meeting of the newly founded Jackson Chapter of TCASK! We even got coverage in the Jackson Sun.
We’ve been working in Jackson for about a year now, and we’ve developed a strong group of contacts, done several presentations, and held a successful write-a-thon, but always by the dedicated efforts of a few people functioning as individuals. Now we’ve finally set up a chapter, to take the load off individuals and actually organize a group.
Last night, after a number of phone calls on my part, we had our first organizing meeting with a core group of people. We had representatives of the NAACP, Union University, Lambuth University, and the Catholic Church present and it was a wonderful and connected group. In just over an hour (I was on a tight time line, because folks are busy) we planned:
- Coordinated opposition to the execution of E. J. Harbison
- A write-a-thon to bring Jackson folks together for fun and activism
- A lobby training as the first official group chapter meeting to prepare for
- Lobby day in Nashville.
All of this will sync nicely with several presentations that I have already scheduled in the city, and, through the church outreach involved, will lead to more such presentations to continue to expand our lists in Jackson.
Now here’s the important part – everyone left with a job to do! I’ll be preparing materials, typing notes, and following up on several comments. One member will be securing locations for our write-a-thon and prayer service, another will contact several churches and set up a venue for lobby training, a third will be the point person for the write-a-thon, a fourth is going to represent the Jackson Chapter on the TCASK board.
Why is this important? Two reasons. The first is buy-in. Each of the attendees left with something to do, bringing them into the work. Second, I’m not doing it! I mean, I’m only one person, our staff is only two. We cannot do all the work around the state to end the death penalty, so we need to empower activists all across the state to take action for themselves.
That’s exactly what the new Jackson Chapter is ready to do!
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