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Warm Open

March 7, 2020

It’s late on a Saturday night and I just watched Elizabeth Warren — whose campaign for president came to an end this week (profoundly disappointing, which I hope I’ve written about… sometimes it’s hard to remember which social media platform I’ve expressed myself on) — do the cold open on SNL. What a great sport she is. And pretty funny, too.

Damn.

Anyway, that’s what was in my mind as I titled this blog.

Not incredibly un-related to Elizabeth Warren’s cold open on SNL was the Grand Opening of the Election 2020 Volunteer Center this morning over on Olive Drive. What a rousing good time that was!

Somebody had the inspiring idea to kick off the celebration with a couple of old time political folk songs, so there we were singing If I Had A Hammer and This Land is Your Land, lead by a just-formed-for-this-occasion group called the Peace and Justice Singers. Moving and hilarious at the same time. And lucky for me, I stood next to Darlene whose voice rose above all others in perfect harmony (to drown out my own off-key singing .. at 64, I’m still in search of my comfort-octave). We had a good ol’ time.

The singers (there are actually 3 more off to the left, out of camera shot)..

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There were speeches … of course Kelly and Rachel, plus this guy…

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…who is a muckety muck with the national Indivisible organization, though he’s just a regional rep. I took this picture for the shirt, which, I’ve learned is the mantra of all political action: register voters, phone bank, canvass, GOTV (and text bank, too, even if it’s not on the shirt).

(In fact, in a letter to her campaign manager a few days ago, EW credited her campaign workers with the following mind blowing stats: “…knocked on 22 million doors, made 20 million phone calls and sent 42 million texts…” So yeah, I completely conclude that’s the way it’s done.)

And we heard from this guy, Andrew Kim, who’s kinda big in Flip the West, and who’s been generous about setting us up with office space. Mostly I like the picture for the weird projector-light-in-eyes effect.

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And, we heard remotely from two leaders of the Sister District organization who delivered perfect comments about the importance of the work, of course, but also about the by-product of doing that work in such a place — the community created by shared values, shared goals, shared effort in a shared space. They said it better, but that was their point.

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After the speeches there was a ribbon cutting — honors bestowed upon our youngest volunteer who’s reportedly decorated thousands of post cards (his mom is post card team leader Audrey):

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I estimate about 100 people were there for the celebration.  Here is the tail end of the crowd entering our new space..

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People hung out for about an hour looking around downstairs and up…  here’s a shot of  the upstair conference room …

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People wrote their “what inspires you to political action” on pieces of blue paper in the shape of water droplets, which will comprise, ultimately, a huge blue wave that will grown on our huge empty wall downstairs. Symbolism matters.

People also made their permanent name tags, which will live between wears here on our new blue wall…

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There were doughnuts, muffins, coffee…  and just lots of great energy.  And the place, truly, looked fantastic. Amazing what came together over the course of just a couple of weeks. This was the last pic I took last night before going home.. and.. folks stayed late into the night to put the final touches on.

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After the doughnuts were gone, the work began. The rest of the afternoon was spent with large teams of phone and text bankers.

Anyway, whatta week, whatta launch, whatta celebration, whatta lot of work to do in the next eight months.

But today went off without a hitch.

It was very much a warm open.