One of the key groups in the AIDemocracy network are our Regional Coordinators – an inspired group of student activists who act as regional “party hosts” for the community. Our new batch is in town this weekend, for our annual ‘get-to-know-eachother’ and skillbuilding retreat.

In addition to learning more about each other and the organization, and hearing from some experts working in the fields of water, nuclear weapons, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and foreign assistance, we’re spending a lot of time brushing up on advocacy and oranizing skills. Some points that stuck in my mind from today:

  • fun and creative organizing is the only thing that will save the world
  • look for issues that are broad (touch many people) and deep (touch them deeply)
  • don’t underestimate the value of having a conversation with an elected official; they often don’t know much about the issues we’re working on, and at the very least we should get them talking/thinking about them
  • find things you are for, as much as things you are against
  • only issues matter. Don’t focus on “sides”; win and keep people on the issues
  • most people vote because of how they feel, not the facts

Big thanks to our speakers: Alex Beauxchamp, Food and Water Watch; David Hart, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Jennifer Redner, International Womens Health Coalition; and Didier Trinh, Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. And big props to our fantabulous organizing trainer Roxanne Lawson!