slake your thirst where the water is


we were talking with a parish council president the other about moving our office into their parish center … he was, i believe, trying to figure out whether or not the space was suitable for our work when he asked, “do you do most of your work in the office,” or maybe it was, “do a lot of people come to your office?”

either way the answer is no — most of our work, now, is done “out there” or at least the important work of organizing is done “in the trenches” all across the state…

why??? … two things — people will rarely come to you unless you’re giving away cash and you have to “meet” people where they’re at … figuratively and literally …

to, as the lil’ jesuit dude might say, git ‘er done, you have to find people who have at least a nominal interest in the issue, and sell them on the idea that you have a plan on how to impact that issue, and that they can play an important part in making change happen on the issue…

and we have to do that on their turf not on ours … we have to meet in their faith communities, their shoney’s restaurants, their libraries, even their living rooms but it has to be theirs … they need to feel comfortable getting to know us as people, learning where the issue is at in the public arena and why, and seeing tcask as the vehicle that we can drive to victory …

so that’s why we set goals for numbers of presentations, numbers of addresses (e-mail and snail mail) added, numbers of calls made, and numbers of new members — so that we consistently remind ourselves that it’s about gettin’ out there in carroll, giles, bradley, overton, jefferson, and all the counties of the state to do the hard but fascinating work of meeting new people, learning what their lives and communities are like, and empowering them to teach their neighbors, friends, family members, co-workers, and sometimes their clergy about how wasteful, random, and futile the use of the death penalty is…

water won’t find you when you’re thirsty and the people who will eventually flex their collective political muscle and bring down the archaic tool of capital punishment won’t come to us if we’re always hanging out in the office…

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