Keeping the heat on isn’t easy.

By Owen Wise-Pierek, TOLA Spring 2017

Activating a community takes time and discipline.

Gretchen Laue, former UFW organizer, spoke with us a few weeks ago. Gretchen grew up before people had microwaves or even popcorn air-poppers and remembers cooking popcorn on the stove. If you’ve ever cooked popcorn on the stove, you know that it takes time for the kernels to pop. You have to keep the heat on for a while. But, eventually, one pops. And a second, and a third, and then all of them start popping all at once. Gretchen said this is a lot like organizing, and when people start getting activated, a whole lot more get activated at the same time. “Most organizers quit before the first pop,” she cautioned.

Keeping the heat on isn’t easy. With a busy schedule and a set of “un-popped” people, it’s easy to lose focus, get discouraged, find a new target, or just feel low. Still, I need to keep my discipline turned on to push for what I need to make happen… Ask everyone. Make it important. Make it doable. Follow up immediately. Follow up persistently. Remind, remind, remind.

(Photo courtesy of Helen De Michiel)