By Maggie King
Those surrealistic days following the 2016 galvanized me into countless political activities. Suddenly I was part of the resistance movement and often felt like I was everywhere at once, constantly asking myself: Am I doing enough? Am I being effective?
Looking back I’m staggered at all I’ve done:
I’ve marched (The Women’s March in Washington is a memory to cherish) for various causes; attended rallies and a town hall meeting with Rep. Donald McEachin.
I’ve made countless calls to my reps, signed petition after petition, sent e-mails, posted tweets, etc.
I’ve made a number of small donations to candidates and causes.
I spent several hours working on a phone bank for State Senator Jennifer McLellan, resulting in a $50 parking ticket (but she won, so it was worth it!)
I’ve attended any number of meetings, in person and by conference call) for the ACLU, Indivisible, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Liberal Women of Chesterfield County.
I’m probably forgetting something!
I realized early on that I would soon burn out if I didn’t narrow my focus. I’m still working on that and now concentrate on health care and voting rights.
But, to repeat my question: am I doing enough? By myself, I can’t do enough. This is a “it takes a village” concept if ever there was one. It’s especially hard for me because I’ve been a lone wolf since childhood, never a team player. Sure I had to be the team player that employers are so hot on—but teams in business tend to be small and manageable, allowing me to evaluate my individual contributions. The good old USA is a mighty big team.
So I’ll just keep doing something each day, whether it’s an action or making a monetary donation, to contribute to the “village” effort. Consider how Barack Obama’s election victories are attributed to a large number of small donations.
Better to do a little, than nothing at all—that’s my new motto. That’s how Civic engagement works.
I can’t help thinking about when I went to the animal shelter and adopted two cats. I was thrilled to have them, and still am, but sad to leave behind all the other cats who needed homes. But at least my two got a great home, and I’m sure many others did as well.
Daily Action (https://dailyaction.org) is a great way to get started. They aim to make civic engagement easy, with a single action every day. I get a text from them each weekday with a suggested action. I’m sure others can share how they contribute.
An especially meaningful event I attended was a solidarity rally held in March at the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery in Richmond. It was organized by Standing Together RVA, an initiative started to bring diverse groups in Richmond together to speak out and stand with religious and ethnic groups who are marginalized. I unintentionally appear in this photo (on right in purple scarf) of two women placing stones on a Holocaust Memorial.
Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including Murder at the Book Group and Murder at the Moonshine Inn. She has contributed stories to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthologies and to the 50 Shades of Cabernet anthology.
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.
Buy link for Murder at the Moonshine Inn: http://amzn.to/2dtozWa