In the People's Interest

Julia Shaida: Reflecting on our 2022 Election Organizing Efforts

To my co-workers, my friends:

I got home from the watch party at Colombo’s Pizza last night not knowing the national  results, and I have not checked them this morning. The local count was put on hold at 2:29am, as the election officials needed to stop for some rest (most had worked since the previous morning at 6am) and will start up again this morning at 8am.

In this moment of pause, I feel quiet and a profound gratitude.

No matter the results of this election, Gallatin Democrats showed up. This election season, you and I–candidates, precinct representatives, executive committee members, neighbors–knocked tens of thousands of doors. We made connections. We had genuine conversations. We registered students at MSU. We wrote postcards to protect reproductive rights. We gave house parties. We texted and phonebanked.  Over one hundred and fifty of us worked at the polls–as election judges and as observers–to protect fairness and nonpartisanship in our electoral process.

We have been practicing citizen engagement and care, and I am deeply moved by this.

As we have all been saying, it was a critical election. My teacher in political work, adrienne marie brown, posted yesterday on Instagram that we vote “as a species that want to survive on this planet.” The stakes are high.

The more we build a culture in which we bring our whole selves to this work of making connection, the more we show up from the heart and with our own conviction of what is at stake for us, the more we will bring transformation in our troubled society. The more we will begin imagining a future we can live in to.

Chris Smalls, the extraordinary organizer who was part of the team that formed the first union at Amazon, has said that there is no loss in a fight to make a union. To vote itself is already a victory: “There is no loss for the workers. You only lose when you give up.”

To hold a dream. To show up for that dream. There is no loss when you do that.

Much appreciation,

Julia Shaida

Gallatin Democrats Chair

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