The Jiffy Lube Chronicles, part something

Yep, I’m back at Jiffy Lube. Super late actually. I now know that the scary red light in the shape of a triangle with an exclamation mark inside means LOW OIL. Which… I knew. But I had to choose between food and oil. So now here I am. At a Jiffy Lube in Richmond, Virginia hoping to get my car fixed in time for me to make it to a new chapter training in a few hours.

I’m back in Virginia from New York, where I spent a great week meeting up with some STV teammates that I had met before and some who I was finally meeting for the first time.

I also finally got to meet Ezra and Leah from Indivisible. At this point I’m basically just poaching Indivisible chapters (don’t worry, they know) and have been talking to the Indivisible team for ages, but I hadn’t met Ezra and Leah yet so that was fun.

I also got to hang out with the amazing Kelly Hoey. If you haven’t read her book yet, you definitely should. It’s called Build Your Dream Network and it is a really great book about networking. I know that sounds insane but it’s not. Kelly’s the best. We’ve known each other since my tech diversity startup and she has always been so incredibly kind and supportive. Plus she knows really swanky bars in Manhattan where French waiters pour you rosé out of giant bottles.

Oh, and I also got to see some friends I haven’t seen in a while and I finally went to the Doctor Who bar with the TARDIS!!! That and seeing the new collection of one of my favorite artists (Kara Walker) and a really amazing piece by Sanford Biggins AND a play about Hufflepuffs that one of my STV teammates is in were definitely the highlights of my week.

I got back to Virginia on Friday because on Saturday I had a really exciting field trip with some of the STV VA volunteers. If you haven’t read the article The Invisibles by now, you should. The article features a church in DC, Foundry UMC, that has had an ID ministry for over 15 years. I was dying to go and one of our Alexandria chapter members called them up and they agreed to let us come watch their clinic! It was awesome. They let us shadow their volunteers as they worked with people who need ID, they answered all of our questions, and we learned about a great service that will help us get birth certificates much faster.

They’re also looking to digitize so we’re going to replicate the amazing CRM that Ragtag built for us and give it to the church!

One of the back-end of things that we are spending a lot of time on is creating manuals, training videos, webinars, and more for our volunteers. This is really hard, complicated work and for the most part they’re doing it independently. We don’t have an office or regional staff yet so a lot of this is volunteers just out on their own with email and a mission. The more trainings we can create, the better. I’ve started a webinar series to train our volunteers on some different parts of the process: how to build partnerships, how to use our tech, a deep dive into the legal issues they might encounter, etc. We also have some AMAZING volunteers in Charlottesville who have created a very in-depth manual all about the entire process to get someone an ID and register them to vote. It’s so good that it gave me an idea to create a whole library of manuals (so that they’re all less than 10 pages) about every part of the process. Geek me is very excited.

Speaking of Charlottesville, this week we are launching two chapters there. One will be run by UVA Law students, who are super passionate about getting out into the community and doing some voting rights work, and the other will be a new Campus Ambassador chapter. We’ve hired two Piedmont Virginia Community College chapters to work on IDs for the school community. Community colleges are one of my favorite things in the world and they have unique challenges when it comes to IDs, access, friends and family, and more. I am really excited about testing out our campus program at a cc and starting to figure out how best to serve those communities.

Lots is happening this week. We’re tabling at two new food banks in two different parts of Virginia (on the same day so I’ll be driving like a maniac). We’re launching three new chapters. I have tons of meetings with potential partners (people are answering their emails now that summer is over!) and I’ll be training our volunteers on how to use our amazing CRM. Plus tons of outreach by our chapter members who are working hard to build partnerships in their communities. Lots to do!

OH. Ps. We have an awesome new video! Medium is terrible about embedding videos (or I’m terrible at doing it with Medium) so check it out at spreadthevote.org/virginia!