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Family and Community: Sioux City's Juneteenth Celebration

I admit I was nervous. This was the first time I had ever gone ‘clip-boarding,” and yet there I was, responsible for leading a group of volunteers I had just met at an event I had never been to before.

But I knew I was not alone. I had made calls to local volunteers, and several people whom I'd never met RSVP’d for the event through to join us at the summer’s first National Day of Action. I was thrilled when the first of several friends from our local Organizing for America office arrived.

I had conversations with each of my new volunteer team members. I learned what I could about their stories: one has picked up another job in order to afford going back to school, another has had to fight for health insurance, and one man is homeless.

I then told each of them about myself, which was easy, because at my side was my daughter wearing her “Community Organizer” T-shirt and carrying a clipboard loaded with “I’m In” cards. My daughter is my daily inspiration, and my motivation for supporting the President, so I took a deep breath and we all joined the crowd to make sure everyone at Sioux City’s Third Annual Juneteenth celebration has a voice in our country’s future.

The volunteers were awe-inspiring. I watched them reaching out to people, having them sign “I’m In” cards and making sure everyone was registered. We struck up a conversation with a young father about his baby who was obviously teething. During the visit we connected the dad with one of vendors we had met, who is the only dentist in town who sees infants. If that’s not community organizing, I don’t know what is!

I think we spoke to just about everyone there, many of them more than once. We talked about building a feeling of community and about how public policies affect us locally. People were invited to meet up for 1-on-1 chats, phone banks, and a community coffee. After a while some of the volunteers had to leave, but asked if they could take blank “I’m In” cards to canvass on their own. By the time the celebration was over we had local community leaders asking us for 1-on-1’s.

But most of all we had fun. Thanks to the great teamwork and community building we did this weekend, I know I will not be nervous for the events coming this week. Instead I am excited to keep this energy going. Thank you everyone for your work, I look forward to re-connecting with each of you in the coming weeks!

Join our staff and volunteers like Sally and celebrate our country's freedom at an upcoming July 4th Day of Action event near you!

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