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The Importance of Our Personal Stories

Our Summer Organizer training came and went last weekend—but we are still left thinking about the inspirational stories we heard from Dolores Huerta and Jeanne Blaker. As a giant in the field of community organizing, Dolores helped to teach us the tricks of the trade, how to effectively organize. Jeanne, all-star community organizer, taught us how to connect emotionally to our organizing--with our personal stories.

Jeanne’s story began with tragedy—her memories as a child and waking up to the screams of men in white hoods, and a burning cross in her front yard. The KKK wanted to lynch her father. Unfortunately, her pain did not end at a young age; Jeanne’s daughter was often denied health insurance due to “pre-existing conditions,” and was tragically taken by cancer. But her story ended with hope—with Barack Obama and his historic presidency. By advocating for health care reform, the President ensured that tragedies like the one Jeanne experienced won’t happen in the future. He also inspired Jeanne to get involved in the Obama campaign—and Jeanne hasn’t stopped organizing since.

After hearing Jeanne’s touching story, we all began to craft our own story of self. We learned how important our stories are to our organizing. We need to use our personal story to have successful one-on-ones and continue to grow our organization we need to keep President Obama in office.

“The training over the weekend of June 4-5th was inspiring and fulfilling. It was the best use of my time in weeks, meeting so many interesting and passionate people who like me, are ready to do whatever it takes to win,” Amie said.

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