From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
April 2, 2017
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: SLIDESHOW of Politics 101
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.
Since TWWLI began in January, it had 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. 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) of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Chuck Schumer (D) and Congress members Lee Zeldin (R), Pete King (R), Tom Suozzi (D), and Kathleen Rice (D).
All Politics is Local
The March 26th Politics 101 event was the first in a series of Together We Will Long Island workshops to help members be the most informed, effective activists possible.
TWWLI administrator Beth Mehrtens McManus introduced the program, and admin Sue Moller – who’s my daughter – introduced each of the speakers, who spoke in this order:
- Rich Schaffer – Chairman of Suffolk County Democratic Committee
- DuWayne Gregory – Suffolk County Legislator & Presiding Officer (Dem – District 15)
- Jay Jacobs – Chairman of Nassau County Democratic Committee
- Laura Curran – Nassau County Legislator (Dem – District 5)
- Lauren Corcoran-Doolin – Democratic Leader, Town of Hempstead
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 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, was stressed.
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 Jacob’s 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: This party is a party that has 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….
TWWLI site: twwli.org
TWW site: twwusa.org