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Last week I wrote about not losing hope in these troubled political times. Good change can come if good people get active. In the past there were many people who did organize and advocate for change. All that is good about our current society is the result of these people’s activism. Some of these people were the great men and women we read about in the history books. But many were unsung, unknown people who did the small things needed to build progress.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. Democracy must have citizens that do their part. They don’t have to be political junkies, but they do need to pay attention and be willing to participate. You may think politics is dirty and you don’t want to get involved. But politics is the way we organize and run our society. And politics will happen to you whether you are involved or not. As the saying goes, “If you don’t have a seat at the table...you may be on the menu.”
The election of the current, ignorant, arrogant, incompetent “leadership” has accomplished one positive result. Many people are starting to wake up and get involved. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number and size of protests in 2017. The Women’s March last January 21-22 had an estimated 5 million people protesting in Washington D.C. and 409 cities across America. The March for Science in April had over 1 million attend in over 600 cities worldwide. Massive citizen opposition killed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Punitive actions on immigration have been stalled by citizen activism. Trump, for all his destructiveness and divisiveness, has been a great organizer of resistance against him and his policies.
We see this happening in Duluth which has always been blessed with many active citizens. But there has been a increase in participation especially from younger people. One result is a number of new organizations created because of the current administration. Here are four that I am ware of.
Indivisible Duluth (http://www.indivisibleduluth.com) is a progressive, issue oriented group dedicated to promoting “defensive” resistance to the Trump agenda. The all volunteer group is linked to the national Indivisible movement. They have a great guide to influencing legislators at www.indivisibleguide.com.
Our Revolution (https://ourrevolutionmn.com) is an all volunteer group that works to bring people together to stay connected and motivated to enact progressive policy, get authentic representation in our local government, and create a better future here in Minnesota.
Northland Progressive Network (http://northlandprogressivenetwork.weebly.com) was organized to connect progressive activists and groups in the greater Northern Minnesota/Northern Wisconsin region. The goal is to make it easier to find and contact groups and individuals working on the same issues in order to maximize resources and effectiveness, strengthen our efforts, and minimize competition.
Feminist Action Collective (https://www.feministactioncollective.org) supports feminist goals; demanding equality for all members of our community and working to dismantle the systems that discount our community’s shared and diverse humanity. They have a calendar of events on their web site available to other groups.
Of course there are many other organizations in the Duluth area advocating for social justice, peace, equal rights, environmental protection and workers rights. All of them are doing good things and need support. I can not list them all in this article.
A good place to meet some of these groups is the upcoming CITIZEN’S IN ACTION WORKSHOP (Saturday, January 27 from 9:00 am to 3:00 PM). Organized by the Duluth League of Women Voters, this day long workshop educates citizens about the political process and how they can get involved. The League of Women Voters and many cooperating organizations sponsor this FREE event that is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. It is an opportunity to meet elected officials, network, pick up handouts with contact information for area organizations and elected officials. Get details and register at https://www.lwvduluth.org/january-27-2018---citizens-in-action-workshop.html.
Many of these organizations are sponsoring other opportunities for citizens to get informed and involved. Here is a list of some happening in the next few weeks. These are opportunities to combat both cabin fever and Mad Trump Disease.
Women’s March, Saturday, January 20th, 11-12:30. Join together once again to resist, persist, and INSIST that we are still here, fighting for peace, justice, and equality against systems of oppression. The march starts at the Building for Women Plaza, 32 E. 1st Street, and goes to the Duluth City Hall. Details at https://www.feministactioncollective.org/twin-ports-womens-march-2018.
The Secrets of Being Black Duluth Edition: A Documentary. Friday, January 19th, 7:00PM. This is a locally produced film that examines the views, experiences and perspectives of Blacks living in Duluth. The showing is at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 835 W. College Street. Google Twin Ports Democratic Socialists of America’s FaceBook page for more information.
Leading the Conversation: Learning to Speak with Confidence About Gun Violence and Legislation, Tuesday, January 23, 11:00am-1:00pm. This lunch and talk is sponsored by the Brady Campaign and Protect Minnesota. Location is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1710 E. Superior Street, Duluth. Details and registration at https://protectmn.org/event/leading-the-conversation-duluth.
What We Have to Lose, Amnesty International Visits Duluth, February 12 and 13. A delegation from Amnesty International Canada will be visiting Duluth to share their experience with the Mt. Polley copper mining catastrophe in British Columbia. There are several events sponsored by Duluth Clean Water and other local groups. For details and registration go to https://www.duluthforcleanwater.org.
It has been said that “in a democracy people get the government they deserve.” President Obama has said, “...if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy....then it results in bad government and politics.” We all need to pay more attention to what affects our lives and communities. We all need to do our part.