When I covered the January 15th “Our First Stand Rally” at Westbury supporting the Affordable Care Act, both of my daughters were participants. And when I photographed the January 24th visit to Sen. Schumer’s L.I. office in Melville by the activist group Together We Will Long Island, my older daughter, Sue Moller, was the TWW-LI admin there. These were the first times my daughters happened to be involved with political events I covered.
Protest marches, resistance events were certainly helping raise awareness of protestors’ reactions to the Trump administration’s goals and actions, but advice from Bernie Sanders and some others strongly stuck in my mind: Protesting isn’t enough. “Resistors” need to run for office and to help fellow activists run for office.
Then, after covering two more events – the January 30th Press Conference when Nassau County Democratic Party leaders endorsed LAURA CURRAN for N.C. Executive and JACK SCHNIRMAN for N.C. Comptroller, and the TWW-LI “Politics 101” Event – I heard exciting news: My daughter Sue was running for Hempstead Town Council!
With that candidacy as catalyst, civic engagement and politics ended up being even a bigger part of my 2018 than I could have guessed at the start of the year.
Last Sunday, when I entered Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church in Wyandanch and saw the stage had a huge banner above it with the message “to believe – to belong – to be compassionate,” it struck me as a fitting place for the Together We Will Long Island (TWWLI) group to hold their Politics 101 Activists Training workshop.
Click “i” under SLIDESHOW for info about each image:
And more to the point, this location that Suffolk County Legislator DeWayne Gregory helped secure for the event checked three crucial boxes: it safely accommodated at least 70 people (in fact, it could fit hundreds); it was reasonable for members coming from Nassau and Suffolk Counties; and it was free.
TWW, which began in late 2016 and is run by volunteers, has four Core Values: to have Strategic Impact, Respect, Solidarity, and to Cultivate Action.
TWWLI, which began in January 2017, has been focusing mainly on making its concerns clear about Trump’s Cabinet appointees, Executive Orders, and ACA repeal & replace to Long Island’s federal elected officials: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Lee Zeldin, Rep. Pete King, Rep Tom Suozzi, and Rep. Kathleen Rice. (Their official online contact info is at end of this post.)
The group’s approaches include organizing protests; sending messages; participating in Town Halls of reps who hold them; and visiting the Long Island offices, if access permitted.
After the five presentations, audience members asked questions to the speakers and TWWLI admins. Based partly on the questions, it seemed some audience members had already been involved for months with TWWLI events and facebook discussions, and others were newcomers.
During Q & A, the speakers stressed the importance of focusing not only on national politics, but also having a strong presence in local politics – from school boards and library boards, to town councils, legislators on up.
What’s the Message
When one of the speakers said how important it was to make the network’s message heard, an audience member asked, “What’s our message?”
Here are excerpts from Jay Jacobs’ answer:
Local message: It’s going to be about cleaning up our government, and putting back into place people who will run government for the purpose of delivering efficient services the best way they can, instead of taking care of the chosen few, their family and their friends….
Nation-wide basis: [We have] always fought for average citizens, fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves…. [introducing] social security, unemployment compensation, disability insurance… Medicaid, Medicare… Obamacare.
We have to be about making government more responsive to the needs of people, less responsive to special interests and a lot of money from corporate interests…. It’s going to be about going back to our roots….
Contact Info – L.I.’s National Reps
Contact Info for U.S. Senators and Congress members who serve Long Island, NY, constituents: