Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Home on the Range

Last night I visited Cookeville and spoke at St. Thomas Aquinas church, and it was a great trip - great audience, fun talk, interesting questions. I visited a friends farm in the area while I was out there, and in fact a lot of the people in the audience were farmers. Charlotte Burks, who represents the area, is a farmer.

Matter of fact, if you look at a map of Tennessee, you've got Memphis way to the West, Nashville in the middle, and Chattanooga and Knoxville over in the East, but there is a lot of in between room with not a lot in it - at least not a lot of people. Notice any people in the picture above?

This can be a challenge for an organizer. How do we get people together in areas where they are spread out? Because there are a lot of those areas in Tennessee and we won't win this thing if we don't address the whole state. So how do we do it (I'm really asking here)?

Well, I don't claim to have it all figured out, but one secret is the same as with any organizing: Go where the people are. Especially in rural areas we need to find where people congregate already. Number 1 place - probably churches, so go to churches. Another is colleges. Even rural areas have 'em and you can find collections of young people with a lot of energy and, if they're way out there, maybe not a lot to do. ( for instance, here's a typical conversation: "What do you want to do Friday night?" "I don't know, dude, this town is lame and everyone IDs." "Hey! We could abolish the death penalty!" ) And there are probably other organizations as well. So we just have to keep working at finding them. Where are the people in your area? Tell us and we'll go talk to them. Or better yet, go talk to them yourself!

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