The genuine relationships we make and sustain founded on mutual trust bind us together like nothing else can. Frederick County Progressives Chair and Registered Nurse Beth Landry discusses using deep canvassing to build those connections within our communities.
In the wake of the 2016 election and our current administration, there is much debate on why we are in the situation we are in. Progressives, conservatives, and everyone in between are impacted by the seismic shifts of our current political climate. At the root of it all, people feel disenfranchised. Misunderstood, uncounted, not heard or unimportant. As progressives, we stand for lifting everyone up to be treated fairly and equally. We stand for togetherness and empowerment. Crucially, we need to be the ones on the front lines to build our communities, and there is really only one way that can be done: listening to everyone.
Every single person has both the right to be heard and a reason to feel validated. Our individual experiences matter. As stewards of grassroots organizing, it is up to us to think outside the box and remember the principles of both democratic deliberation and deliberative democracy.
We can, and will honor that with a simple yet very meaningful method: deep canvassing.
Before globalization, before social media and the Internet, we reached out to one another on a personal level. Discussions with our neighbors were pivotal to both our sense of community and sharing opinions on the issues that impact us in our everyday lives. These conversations are monumentally important in bringing us together to find common ground and establish trust between ourselves. The concept of deep canvassing existed before it was identified as a core strategy. It has existed for as long as humans left nomadic cultures to settle and permanently occupy lands.
Disconnect from electronic devices, and engage with everyone you feasibly can. Ask questions, and listen. Prepare yourself to hear answers you do not agree with. Embark on a journey to understanding laden with challenges, differing opinions and life experiences you have never before encountered...and listen with an open heart.
Having these discussions and making ourselves vulnerable turns the key to the door of bipartisan collaboration. We do not need to have an arsenal of statistics prepared to bring ourselves together for positive social change. We need humility and empathy regarding the basic concept of human existence.
Members of Progressive Maryland are actively seeking to expand relationships between ourselves and those we share the ultimate common denominator: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We will build power by reaching out and asking important questions: how are you? what do you need? how can your life be better?
Let us as progressives take an oath of benevolence to humanity. No judgment, no scorn, no bias.
We all work hard, and desire to come home to our families and have respite in our safe spaces. We all need food, shelter and the promise of a sustainable future. We all have our opinions of how to make these ideals a reality.
There is no doubt about it: Opening these discussions up are sometimes difficult and awkward. Sometimes these discussions are considered taboo, or not for public consumption. However, developing relationships and building trust amongst ourselves is absolutely a prerequisite to any further discussion.
Let us embark on a journey to understanding, and check our egos at the door.
We can, we must and we will.
Read Angus Chen’s article in NPR for more information on the concept of deep canvassing.
The Frederick County Progressives are kicking off deep canvassing on Sunday, May 28th from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Staley Park Pavilions. Prompt attendance at the start of the canvass will ensure participants clarify team goals, get canvass tools and break into teams, if desired. Join us at our event, or organize one with your local Progressive Maryland chapter!
More details about this event or to RSVP can be accessed on the event page. Reach out to Beth Landry of the Frederick County Progressives for questions regarding the event in Frederick at [email protected], or Alexiss Kurtz at [email protected] to RSVP for the deep canvassing training call next Friday, May 26th!
Join us in our fight for a better future for everyone. Sign up to deep canvass, and sign on to build relationships, trust one another and cement the inherent value each and every one of us brings to the table.