Women's March: Women's Convention - Day 3

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Detroit Michigan, Day 3

The final day. A much lighter day with only one workshop and a closing ceremony. Part of me was sad to have the weekend come to a close but mostly I was just excited to get home and start putting all my new skills to use.

 

Session 1: Media Training + Public Speaking Bootcamp

This session was hosted by Upswing Strategies, a nonprofit that helps train people for public speaking and media events. Both presenters were funny and informed—a killer combo. They roped me in immediately by reminding us that having the truth and facts on our side isn’t enough. The messenger matters. Not fair, maybe, but true and if you have a message you’re trying to get across to people you’ve got to come to terms with this. To know how to deliver your message you have to identify your target audience and tailor your message to them. If your target audience is your mom and her friends, do not make snapchat references. If your target audience is high school students, don’t show up in an Armani suit. Most importantly, tell a story. People don’t relate to facts unless they can connect them to a story. When you tell your story make it detailed, provide imagery, and give the moral of the story. They also focused on tone. Anger brought a lot of people to the activism table in the last year. That doesn’t mean anger is the best tone to use when trying to persuade people. A sad story, told in the right tone will elicit compassion. Anger often elicits defensiveness. Anger cannot sustain a movement. Find another emotion to motivate you and those you are messaging to.

The closing ceremony focused on Where Do We Go from Here? A valid question. 4,500 women spent three days developing skills, networking, and reflecting on the most serious issues our society is facing. It was critical that we focused on how to take everything we learned away with us and transform it into action in our communities.

Tamika Mallory moderated the final panel to address this challenge. They reflects on what was done well at the convention—diverse panelists, speakers, and workshop topics and a strong focus on Accessibility Rights—and also what needed more attention in the future—LGBTQIA and Indigenous Women Rights. We were reminded that when we go home and are bombarded with nonsense tweets, sensationalized news, and fear mongering we have to STAY FOCUSED. Don’t get distracted. It’s so easy to do and it is a strategy that our opponents use to derail our efforts.

One of my personal goals for this weekend was to network, particularly around the work that VERVE is doing. I had worn my VERVE cap partly as a fashion statement but mostly so I didn’t have to style my hair. I didn’t realize how helpful it would be in starting the conversation about VERVE. About a third of the conversations I had started with someone pointing to my cap and saying, “so what’s VERVE?” Music to my ears. One of these conversations led to me exchanging information with a young woman who lives in Philadelphia and plans to attend our next Prosecco Think Tank (PTT).

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Bob Bland asked us to think about what we are all going to do in November to continue this work. As I got in my Lyft to leave the Cobo Center, I started making my list. I’m working a phone bank the night before election day. I’m following up with the Philadelphia City Council Woman I connected with and invite her to the next Sanctuary Supper event. I’m going to organize the Prosecco Think Tank for December and invite the young woman I met. I’m going to put together a fundraising plan for KITHS. I’m going to move my money from Wells Fargo (I know, I know, I should have a long time ago) to a Black-owned bank or credit union. And I’m going to continue having Daring Discussions with the people in my life to move towards the future I want to see.

 

Article by Claire Ryder

VERVE Operative USA & Humanitarian Activist