OFA volunteers are gearing Up in October!

By Beki San Martin, OFA Campaigns Associate

For months, OFA volunteers have been taking action to get ready for the midterm elections. Working tirelessly, and with just 15 days to go until Election Day, they’re showing no signs of slowing down. From helping folks get themselves registered to vote in grocery store parking lots to hosting remote phone-banks in Hawaii, OFA volunteers continue to engage and talk with voters however they can make an impact as Election Day quickly approaches.

Check out some of the incredible organizing happening around the country this month:

In Tucson and Douglas, Arizona; Minnetonka, Minnesota; and in the Tri-Valley area of California, OFA volunteers hosted Organizing Bootcamps, where participants learned the core skills for community organizing for issues, causes, and candidates. After the trainings, volunteers felt fired up and ready to apply their skills to local organizing efforts like the Dean Phillips campaign in Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district. Other volunteers expressed interest in long-term community building and civic engagement.

Earlier this month, in Texas’ 7th congressional district, OFA volunteers joined the national Women’s Health Care Weekend of Action. Community leader Debra J. and her team in Houston knocked doors and made calls for Lizzie Pannill Fletcher — the Democrat looking to flip the TX-07 seat — who dropped by the event to say hi and thank volunteers.

Women’s Health Care Weekend of Action volunteers with Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

In Arizona’s 2nd congressional district, OFA volunteers helped get out the vote for Ann Kirkpatrick, while volunteer teams in California’s 45th and 48th congressional districts joined hundreds of volunteers from Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Swing Left to knock on doors and talk to voters for the Katie Porter and Harley Rouda campaigns. OFA Team ’18 volunteer leader Michael S. even helped to prepare and train canvassers at Katie Porter’s office.

Women’s Health Care Weekend of Action with Ann Kirkpatrick, AZ-02.

In California’s 21st congressional district, superstar volunteers Kyoko and Kook channeled the energy from their Bootcamp trainings to activate their volunteer networks to get out the vote for TJ Cox. And their impact extends far beyond their local California district — Kyoko is even helping to mobilize volunteers in CA-04 for Jessica Morse and in CA-10 for Josh Harder!

With less than three weeks left before the election Florida Volunteer Lead Malanda S. hosted a large group at her house in Pinellas, Florida for a Get Out The Vote Activation Meeting to talk through some of the best ways they can mobilize voters for Andrew Gillum for Governor and Bill Nelson for Senate.

Florida Volunteer Lead and Team’18 Leader, Malanda S.’ GOTV Activation Meeting.

This kind of community-focused, values-based organizing is happening in every corner of the country. And OFA volunteers are making a difference not just in their own communities, but also calling voters in other critical states and districts to make sure they know what’s at stake in their community as well. From all the way in Maui, Hawaii, OFA volunteers phone-banked into California’s 10th congressional district to help elect Josh Harder, while other OFA-Hawaii volunteers helped phone-bank to recruit support for one of Arizona’s clean energy ballot initiatives, Proposition 127.

In Georgia, Shelia and her Team ’18 volunteer group have been knocking doors week after week, making sure to get plenty of quality face-to-face conversations in with constituents in a contagious effort to get out the vote for Stacey Abrams for Governor.

Shelia S. and her Atlanta area team knocking doors for Stacey Abrams.

Judy, OFA’s Chapter Leader in Albuquerque, NM has been volunteering to support campaigns in throughout the state, including races such as the Xochitl Torres Small campaign in New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district. Because of the quality, diligence, and consistency of her volunteer work, she will now be a GOTV Canvass Captain in Albuquerque, helping to train canvassers in this pivotal moment for voter contact. To prepare for her new role, she turned to OFA’s online Campaign Organizing Bootcamp materials for a refresher!

And OFA volunteers in North Carolina, Nevada, California, and Ohio continued to help their neighbors get themselves registered to vote.

Getting ready to vote in a parking lot in Reno, Nevada.
OFA volunteers helping people register themselves to vote in San Diego, CA.
Helping students registering themselves to vote at Western Carolina University, NC.

These community engagement events don’t just produce results for local organizing efforts around the country, they also yield some profound stories from volunteers. Whether they’ve been engaged with OFA’s grassroots mission from the beginning or have recently found OFA, these personal anecdotes illustrate why people get involved and stay involved with this movement:

In Minnesota, Sian had been on OFA’s mailing list for about a year and finally decided to come to an OFA meeting to see what we were up to in her state. During the first meeting, Sian said she instantly felt and appreciated how OFA put respect for others at the core of everything their volunteers do, and that motivated her to get even more involved. Now Sian is helping make calls to get out the vote in Minnesota’s 3rd congressional district.

In Colorado, OFA volunteer Howard has played an essential role in connecting new volunteers to the wider activist community in the area. Howard is a first generation Chinese immigrant who strongly believes in democracy and fights day after day for a better future for his two small children. He is the glue that keeps a lot of Colorado’s Southern Metro Area together and is currently volunteering for Jason Crow in Colorado’s 6th congressional district.

Tama in Arizona attended the Campaign Organizing Bootcamp in Tucson and decided she felt confident enough after the training to put the skills she learned to work. She chose to knock doors during the Women’s Health Care Weekend of Action to help support Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s second congressional district. Though she was initially nervous, Tama had some really positive conversations with the people she met canvassing, and came away from the experience with “a new respect for the American people.”

Even on social media, OFA volunteers are active and excited about the work they’re doing. They’re constantly sharing highlights from their events hoping to inspire others through their persistent organizing work.

Follow #OFAction and #OrganizingFor18 to see what they’ve been up to:

Volunteers on the Westside of LA Organizing for ’18 by volunteering for the Katie Hill campaign in California’s 25th congressional district
An alumnus of the OFA Fellowship program, Hassan F. gathered volunteers to knock doors and get out the vote in Pennsylvania
Volunteers in NC-09 making calls to help elect Dan McCready to Congress!

In these often tense and anxious weeks, OFA volunteers have not been deterred or deflated. Instead, they’ve stuck to the fundamentals of organizing and continue to knock on doors, call neighbors, and text friends — day after day — to get out the vote for candidates whose values reflect their own and who will stand up to fight for all of their constituents, not just some.

15 days out from the election can often be chaotic and stressful, but it’s a comfort to know that OFA volunteers can always lean on each other and the communities they’ve formed to keep their spirits high and their hearts full. This is Organizing for Action.

OFA New Mexico — Nob Hill Volunteer Team gathers for dinner and to share organizing stories from the week.