Reflecting on five years of community activism.
Summit Marches On was "born"just over five years ago, a week or two after the Women’s March on Washington. Our first meeting consisted of a grand total of four of us, and though we were probably still a little in shock that Donald Trump had actually ascended to the presidency, we were also motivated, like so many others around the country, to do everything we could to ensure he wouldn’t be able to enact most of his agenda and that he would NEVER get re-elected. And we knew that if we were this motivated, there must be other people in town who felt like we did.
So we held our first postcarding party and hoped we’d get some people to come write to our legislators on the issues we cared about. Well, Summit showed up, to say the least. Over three days of parties, we had several dozen people writing thousands of postcards. We didn’t even think to keep track at the time, but it was somewhere around 4,000 postcards over three days. Many of those who showed up were not “political” and activism was a pretty new concept to a lot of us, but everyone realized that this was a time that called for all of us to step up in ways we never had before.
We’ll never forget standing in the doorway at one of the parties and watching people just keep filing in one after another when an ambulance arrived and we thought, “There must be a emergency nearby,” but it turns out they were coming to write postcards and the emergency was Donald Trump. It was truly an all hands on deck moment and a great feeling of community.
And then that moment turned into five years of working together and fighting back to ensure our values weren’t trampled in all the corruption and grift and racism and xenophobia and all the other -isms and -obias spewed from the White House and Trump's GOP.
Now there are 900 of us. Together, we’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars and in-kind donations for local organizations like GRACE and national organizations like the NAACP. We’ve held rallies and vigils. We’ve mailed 59,000 postcards and letters to help register and engage voters and ensure the election of people who will protect our democracy. We’ve poured nearly $30,000 into the USPS. We helped our community by launching SHIELD (grocery shopping for seniors), Adopt A Family (matching volunteers and families in need of weekly basic groceries beyond what’s available from GRACE) and the Summit Volunteer Hub (matching volunteers and donors with charitable opportunities) on Facebook. Together, we helped flip Common Council to Democratic control, knocked Leonard Lance out of office, flipped the House and Senate, re-elected our stellar Congressman Malinowski, and thankfully—we were able to witness Trump’s defeat.
But as we all know, this fight is nowhere near over. So we’re asking everyone to redouble your efforts and commit to doing everything you can to help Democrats win up and down the ticket in the midterms, as our democracy may very well depend on it.
Thank you. For stepping up, which is not always comfortable, and for showing up. For doing what you can to make our community and our country a better place to be. For trusting us with your money and your time. These past five years have been tough, but they’ve also been motivating and downright amazing because by being a part of this community we found out we weren’t alone in our outrage or in the values we hold dear. We are truly stronger together.