We the People Summit
The We the People Summit was created to bring together people from around the state at all levels of political involvement. Organizers of the event collected panels of experts to educate the public on several topics from creating sustainable organizations to history of movements that came before. The goal was to increase and improve civic engagement.
Walking into the convention center, past the line forming at the door, I could see tables covered with name tags for the over one thousand people expected to attend. I grabbed my lanyard and name tag and headed inside. I had credentials. I felt official.
It was early and the sponsor groups with tables were still setting up and laying out their lit. Save Our Schools Arizona was there seeking volunteers and preparing to collect and notarize petitions. AZ Blue 2020 was ready to educate and recruit PC’s and the AZ Resist group was there promoting the inclusive community calendar they have created. The members of AZCD5 were there to learn.
When the first session began the corridor emptied. I attended a session with OFA and got some tips for strategies groups can use to sustain their members and create consistent messaging. Other founding members of our group attended the civil dialogue forum. In the next session members of our executive board and steering committee learned about 501(c)¾ organizations and the tax rules associated with each designation. Fun stuff. After learning about how not to go to jail by breaking tax rules we attended the Leaders Lunch. The founding members of many groups were in attendance, the creator of ResistBot spoke along with AZ Resist and SOSAZ members.
I skipped the afternoon sessions for networking while other members continued on to the educational forums. I ran into Ken Clark, LD24 Rep and member of the WTP steering committee, CD 8 candidate Brianna Westbrook, members of Indivisible groups from rural areas of the state and had conversations with people excited to be a part of this influx of civic involvement.
I met Zod and Drea of the Zod and Drea podcast who recently interviewed two of the ladies leading the SOSAZ referendum campaign and sat in with Scott and Cara of Progressive Voices of Arizona podcast. Every niche seemed to be covered from media to education, event planning and promotion, women’s rights, elections and so much more.
AZCD5 is working hard to fill our own niche in the east valley for the long term. We are creating an organization that will support bi-partisan efforts in local and statewide policy. Educating ourselves is the first step in making our group a viable institution that will help combat the extremism that is attempting to usurp local and statewide policy.