[cross-posted at The SAALT Spot]
When I started off as a Field Fellow for SAALT, I expected the work to be pretty tough. We have ambitious deliverables to meet, and I thought I’d be running up against a lot of apathy. But as it turns out, I’ve been pleasantly surprised!
We held a hearing in Jersey City a few weeks ago (you can read about it here), and the day before, I was out flyering by the train station. I went in thinking that most people would refuse flyers, but whenever I said “South Asian hearing tomorrow!” or something along those lines, people looked up, interested, and took the flyer. If I wasn’t fast enough to catch people as they walked by, they often came back and asked for more information. We ran out of lit in under an hour.
At the hearing itself, we heard from passionate community members during the Q&A session. These people came out early on a summer Saturday morning, and stayed the entire time – over four hours. It was great to see the community so engaged, sharing their experiences and making new connections.
I’ve tried to cover as much ground as possible in terms of attending events where I expect many civic-minded people to be in attendance. By and large, I’ve gotten positive responses to SAALT’s America For All of Us campaign. Of course, it’s fairly easy to sign a sheet of paper – the difficult part is following through with comprehensive action. But every individual pledge to An America For All of Us represents one person whose awareness has been raised, and even if they never do anything else, the information is now out there. The next time that person comes across someone complaining about xenophobia or discriminatory policy, s/he can say “Hey, there’s a resource for that.” And having that knowledge is half the battle.