This is a vulnerable and desperate state where we’ll gladly do the grunt work of an organization or even participate in a group whose theory of change we disagree with (or don’t know).
I remember that my initial attitude was that I wanted to be a warm body. You know, I'll go, I'll hold the signs, I'll do the chants, I’ll do the marches. It seemed like it required the least amount of effort and capability, because I wasn't sure what I was capable of, and I was a little bit nervous. And I was attending those monthly ARCPDX meetings regularly. And during the meetings, they announced that there was a need for organizing.
“It was so profound that I was like, I can't not do this. I need to keep doing this… And I was like, ‘You know, I'm retired, so I'm a body- use me… It just kind of snowballed. The community and the connections were just amazing.”
“From then on, when things came up, I was always trying to get involved with it- different protests or actions or demonstrations. It just felt like the right thing to do, being a voice for the animals.”
“After that, it became so simple and obvious to me, because I was so naive… ‘All I have to do is tell people, and everybody will change.’”
“I innocently innocuously thought well, … once you all see what I've learned then you'll go vegan too- you'll be a voice for animals too… obviously, that couldn't have been further from the case. And that was heartbreaking.”
“I'm like, ‘I have to tell the world about this. I need everyone to know.’ So I searched around in Phoenix to find activism. I couldn't find anything at the time. And then I just got a group of friends together and we protested a Dolphinarium that was in Scottsdale before. And then a few months later, I discovered Phoenix Animal Save and DxE Phoenix had just started. So as soon as I joined them, I was stuck with them.”
“None of those groups that popped up- nobody emailed me back. So I'm just like, ‘Nobody's doing activism here. Oh my God, I should just start doing it!’ I don't know why- I think I was just angry. And I felt helpless and wanted to do something about it.”
“My first impression was like, ‘Wow, these guys are really cool. Like, they know what they're doing. Like, I'm just showing up. I hope they don't think I'm a weirdo or a rando, because I don't know any of them.’ But it's like, ‘hey, I want to do this, too… Whatever they say, I'm gonna do.’ I just wanted to learn as much as I could from them. And I was just really impressed with the depth of their knowledge of activism”
“Looking back at the beginning, I don't know how the hell I was doing all the stuff I was doing. Like I had unlimited energy… It caused a lot of strain on my prior relationships. But to me, it was worth it. I just wish I would have approached it a little bit differently back then.”
“I definitely practiced my activism unsustainably at the beginning, I was just totally into doing anything. It was all awesome.”
“I was always trying to find more- anything else to achieve or something else to try. … I want to learn about the thing. It's exciting to navigate this organization.”
“[The organizer is] very friendly, super warm. She would identify people, and she would know what you were really good at, and she would encourage you to do that. She would be like, ‘Oh, you like drawing! You should make all of our signs next time!’ or ‘You should lead our sign making workshop…’ She was very good at seeing people with their talents and guiding them into work with the organization in some way.”
“I would do a speak out or I'd lead chants and then I'd say, ‘Who hasn't done it before that just thinks you can't do it?’ like right in the middle sometimes- you gotta catch them right then because if you say to sign up to do a thing they're not going to.”
“There was a time where I was probably putting a little bit too much work into it, a little bit too much time spent every single day… I was starting to feel really burnt out. I also felt like there was kind of a sense within the little organizer cluster of us that we weren't doing enough. And in reality, we had ramped up our efforts quite a bit. We were doing protests at least once a week, if not twice a week, which is a lot for a spread out city to do.”
“One vigil…there was a lot of a low feeling, down feeling because we didn't see any trucks at all. At the end of the vigil, during the debrief, Connie [Pearson]’s like “See, look!” She turned it into a positive. She told the people attending, “that means that we're having an effect.” I forgot exactly what she said but she made it feel good. She had that kind of a quality, just good with words and making people feel good about anything.”
“I think a lot of activism stuff has one of those secret silver linings, where even if something fails, sometimes it can inspire other people to do it right or do it better.”
“It feels like it's all worth it, all of the stress, everything is all worth it. So I take the little achievements, the little bright spots, and I try to maximize them, and I remember them.”
“I think she saw that I wanted to lead things. I've always had very strong ideas of what we should be doing. And I was very quick to see if something wasn't working. So I think she appreciated that. She had the mind of someone who wanted people to be able to pick apart what we were doing and make it better.”
“That was my entry, and I just started ramping up more and more events. I think I was just like, ‘I want to see animal liberation.’ So I'm just gonna do as many different campaigns as I can until we achieve it.” ,
“We were like, ‘We'd love to help out, whatever you guys need.’ And then I learned that they were wanting to retire and step back. And that was a great opportunity. I was like, ‘I can help out with that.’”
Sometimes I was sort of the person who stepped up when a previous organizer stepped down… and then there would be a vacuum. And I'd be like, ‘Well, I don't want this to just stop. So I guess I'll do this, even though I don't really want to.'
I think I was coming in during a time that some people were getting burned out. So I offered to take over as an organizer for AV at that time, and then also for the Save Movement.
Dani Rukin… needed someone to bring the signs. I just helped bring materials. So I wasn't the main organizer, but I loved it. I was like, ‘Yeah, anything I can do.’ It felt good to be included in any way that I could.
There are just so many ways to get people involved. Even if it's printing out the chant sheets and bringing the signs.