With so much going on, we as a congregation have not been as active in POWER as we were earlier.
Beth W. and Barbara G. are very involved in the Live Free work of POWER, working on issues of policing and mass incarceration. And Michael is still Co-chair of the Board of Directors which is mostly about the structural and institutional changes needed as POWER grows from a local Philly organizing effort into a statewide faith-based community organization.
But otherwise, most Old Firsters have not been so involved lately. There are two possibilities currently that might interest people:
POWER is making a huge civic engagement effort this year, intending to make contact with over a million voters across PA. Our state always plays an important swing role in national politics. But there are also some very important local races, and we are seeing how local politics is more important than ever in our time of political polarization and questions of voter eligibility.
POWER has a whole paid staff team that engages in voter work in election years. But all the member congregations are also invited to get involved. Because POWER focuses on relational organizing, mostly we are being asked to do work with the people we already know – to use our networks to help make sure people are registers and to turn out the vote.
Who would like to help organize a voter registration event? In the past, we have just taken a table and 3 or 4 volunteers down to the corner of 3rd and Market. On a beautiful Saturday morning or afternoon, or Sunday afternoon after church (once we are back in the Sanctuary!), it can be a fun and important bit of service. Let me know if you would be interested.
The other effort is phone and text banking. As I explained, it’s mostly about networking with people you already know. Although there will also be some reaching out to voters in important districts in state elections. If you let me know that you are interested in this, there are trainings on how to do this. I learned last year. It’s sort of tricky to grasp at first, but once you get the technology down about using your phone this way, it’s a cinch. I think by myself I was in touch with a couple of hundred people I know, and I only “worked” two sittings.
If you are worried about these upcoming elections, this is something you can do to make a difference (and not feel so powerless!)
CLIMATE JUSTICE AND JOBS
One of POWER’s most effective campaigns these days has been work on Climate Justice and Jobs. Rabbi Julie Greenberg is the head organizer of this effort, and they have had some real successes. They are inviting people to a Climate Summit, and if some people would like to go, I would too. Here below is their announcement:
Have you or someone you love experienced an increase in your energy bills? Have you ever felt like your energy bills have been unaffordable? Come learn more about our energy systems, how they affect our daily life, and what we can do about it!
Join POWER Interfaith at the People’s statewide Energy Summit, May 20-22. Friday and Saturday will be in person, then Sunday will be virtual programing on zoom.
It will be a fun and enriching weekend to strengthen POWER relationships across the state, deepen our own community organizing skills, and build collective power to win an energy future that centers our communities and climate, economic, and racial justice. Register here and be part of co-creating an energy future for Pennsylvania that prioritizes clean energy, community control, and a just transition.
If you want to know more or want to attend, please speak to me (because I want to go too!)