“One Person at a Time” by Ginny Balser

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When I joined the Race and Social Coalition after retiring from teaching two years ago, I had no idea how important that group would become in my life, particularly in the last six months and particularly in the days of Covid. It has been sustaining to meet with the Coalition every Wednesday to discuss the current book, as well as to exchange opinions about politics, the news and our lives. When, in the spring, the Coalition decided to engage in social action outside of the weekly meetings, I was all in. One of the members proposed joining with the Center for Common Ground’s Reclaim Our Vote Campaign. (From material sent out for the Campaign: “Center for Common Ground’s nonpartisan mission is to empower underrepresented voters in voter suppression states. Registration is vital, and so is circumventing voter suppression tactics such as misinformation and lack of information.”) What this meant was that many of us in the group and later in the St. Paul’s congregation wrote and sent out  personalized postcards (1,400 in all) to individuals in Florida and Texas who may have been purged from their voter rolls. While it took more time than I had anticipated to write out the addresses and the message (set by the organization) on each of fifty cards, it was satisfying to add personal and colorful touches and to know that a person in a distant state would receive and read the postcard and hopefully take the steps necessary to add their vote to the fragile election process in their area. While we could not give identifying information, it felt personal – and good.

The Coalition has also been active in trying to ensure that the upcoming elections are free and fair, and reflect tremendous participation by all Americans. I joined the League of Women Voters to provide a connection to that very active and established group and got involved in setting up voter registration drives at farmers’ markets in the area. Working with League members and volunteers from the Coalition, I worked the lines either of people waiting to get in or people waiting to pay for their fresh vegetables. Overcoming my reticence to approach strangers, I put on my mask and, taking turns with the other volunteers, spoke to every person who bought vegetables each of those days about registering and voting. The good news was that the vast majority of the people I talked to were already registered to vote. With many, I shared a moment of common resolve and inspiration about how important the vote is especially this year. In addition, identifying young people who needed to sign up, some new citizens who needed help with the registration and voting process and some people who had recently moved and needed to change their voter registration address was gratifying. Though I often find myself upset about what I see on the news, I felt through these actions that in some small way, a few people at a time, I might be helping to make a difference.

(Note: If you still need to register to vote in CT, change the address where you are registered or ask any question about the voting process and timeline in CT, myvotect gets you to a site with a great deal of helpful information.)

The church will be open on Election Day from 8:30-6pm for prayer and meditation, with Election Day prayer services offered at 9am, noon, and 5pm.

Categories: Weekly Reflections