2017 marks a year of record civic engagement. More people than ever before are paying attention to politics; millions have already started marching, rallying, and contacting their elected officials. In the midst of all this energy there have been a lot of questions about whether "activism fatigue" will eventually set in or whether we can capture this energy and turn it into something meaningful and lasting? How do we, in the parlance of our times, Stay Woke?
This was definitely a topic of conversation among HeadCount Team Leaders and staff. We asked ourselves what role we – as a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting civic participation – should be playing in these times. The answer came quickly and was put into action in less than a week – "Stay Woke" action parties for our local volunteer teams, where we'd all write individual letters to and call elected officials.
The topics? Anything anyone wanted. Representing any and all political viewpoints.
In the few short weeks since then we've had 15 Stay Woke parties all over the U.S.. Anywhere from about 5 to 25 people have shown up at each.
The parties have happened at bars, homes and restaurants. Each one has been different than the one before, and had a few creative touches. In Asheville, NC, our Team Leader Kris' pop-up pizza shop Punk Rock Pies created the 'Stay Yolk' pizza (pictured on the right) just for us.
When HeadCount volunteers register a voter, we start the process of civic engagement. But that's just the beginning of the journey. Having a dialogue with an elected official – to tell your story, express your values, or position on an issue – is the important next step.
Stay Woke action parties are meant to break down the barriers between voters the people we put in office. The parties are also a good time, where we have a great hang while speaking out together.
Will you join us and Stay Woke?