Late yesterday afternoon eight of us took our brand-new and really nifty ward representation signs and stood at the intersection of Main and Locust Sts for two hours. It was chilly but hardly unbearable. Today another group of us stood at the Boston Rd. and Parker St. intersection. Early this morning Liz dropped off signs at a meeting of the Ward Four Democratic Committee and about an hour later Arise's VP Don James reported seeing Ward Four folks standing out at Mason Sq. Tonight Liz is meeting up with Ward One folks to pass on more signs and fliers. So we've begun.
We're not taking anything for granted in this campaign. Just because ward rep won 58% in the 1997 election doesn't automatically mean a win this year is automatic. In 1997 we'd spent a whole summer doing outreach as we collected signatures for the ballot question; this year, ten years later, most people will have only heard about ward representation through the media: our federal lawsuit earlier this year, and then our battle to get Home Rule legislation for ward rep through the Legislature in time to be on this year's ballot. We know we have to mobilize all the resources we can to make personal connections with as many voters as possible.
When I think back to the beginning of Arise for Social Justice, four welfare mothers meeting together to figure out how to make our voices heard, I never could have predicted all the directions our movement for social justice would go in. Most of the time I feel like our work has barely begun.
Many of our struggles will outlive us. Ward representation is that rare example of significant institutional change that is actually winnable. I remind myself: keep breathing, keep working, keep believing.