Built & Powered by the People

More and more often, our effort gets portrayed in the media for what it is: an effort that is truly statewide and grassroots. But this week, I saw one piece of media coverage that portrayed Fair Wisconsin as a Madison organization and our opponents as grassroots organizers working in communities across the state. As a field organizer who has been working on this campaign for almost two years, nothing could be further from the truth.

Every day our team of organizers are talking with voters from small rural areas to suburban homes and city limits and never have we seen more than literature drops from our opponents. Dropping off pamphlets on porches about homosexuality being sinful does not involve meaningful conversations that work to build community. On the other hand, Fair Wisconsin's Action Networks represents organizing that involves people in thhe communities they are in.

Action Networks are a fundamental part of our strategy to win in November. They are local clusters of volunteers organized by dedicated volunteer leaders. They educate community members about the real consequences of the ban by attending events (like summer festivals, farmers markets, etc), organizing canvasses, and dispatching speakers to civic organizations. The Action Networks are one of our best methods for helping fair-minded voters in Wisconsin understand the ban and its effects. Our Action Network leaders are the heart and soul of the work that we do.

In the past eight months, I have had the privilege of working with volunteers to build Networks in Rock County and numerous small Networks around Dane County. Each Network has its trials and tribulations, but what good organizing doesn’t? Every Network continues to grow, think, act and problem solve when encountering road blocks or apathy.

In Sun Prairie, our volunteers have been working to recruit volunteers for door-to-door canvasses, the farmers market, and the annual Corn Festival.

The Middleton Area Action Network members have already talked to voters at their doors in Waunakee and are planning more canvasses in the Middleton area.

Oregon, as a part of the South Suburban Action Network, started the race running. This weekend they will attend the Oregon Summerfest, tabling nine-hour days, and then they are planning a large Action Network house party as well as a week where they canvass as many wards as possible to educate members of their community about the ban.

In Rock County, we have already been to the doors three times, attended numerous events like the Dairy Breakfast and Farmers Market, and are planning on increasing our work with both Janesville and Beloit.

All of these Networks not only work on house parties, canvasses, media outreach and the typical Network plans, but they are also constantly generating wonderful ideas on how to improve our campaign. For example, as a result of a canvass in Janesville, we recently translated our materials into brail and will offer an Action Network training that is interpreted for the deaf (thank you Tim Mumm and Rebecca Thompson for your free services), and will develop more materials in Spanish.

Our organizing is well beyond the typical campaign. Our staff and volunteers have diligently put our energy and strength into building local capacity to defeat the ban and to ensure that we continue our work for fairness after November. Unlike our opposition, our campaign is built by, about, and for the people. Spread the word and help us organize in your community. Join an Action Network where you live or support us through contributions that will go directly back into the community.


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