By Leah Spitzer, Coffee Party Volunteer Coordinator
As both the Work Group Chair for Board Development and the Volunteer Coordinator, I have the pleasure of meeting our volunteers as they join, and then watching them develop into strong volunteers and eventually, in some cases, leadership positions.
November brought us an inpouring of volunteer sign ups. People are ready to get engaged and involved. I scheduled more Orientation Calls, with bigger turnouts than ever before. I’ve been keeping busy and I love it. The enthusiasm and commitment is contagious. While much of it can be connected to the election, this is also due in part to the amazing new #StayInvolved campaign led by our Campaigns and Actions Work Group. Many of our supporters received an eblast announcing this campaign earlier this month. It was then that the volunteers started pouring in. We have many that are ready to lend a hand either at the national or local level. Our local communities are just getting started and now that we have a volunteer that has stepped up to support the local groups, we are only going to get stronger.
This is perfect timing in more ways than one. The deadline for eligibility to run for our Board of Directors in 2017 is fast approaching. In order to submit an application, you must be a dues paying member by January 1, 2017 and be actively participating in a work group as a volunteer.
In April of 2017, we will be accepting the applications for our Board of Directors. There are 4 positions up for election this year: President, Membership Development, Public and Supporter Relations, and Technology. Our Board of Directors is all volunteer. They commit to at least 5 hours a week and they actively participate in the work. Each board member is responsible for leading or supporting one of our many work groups.
To see what else is required to become a board member, click here.
If you do not want to be a board member, but would like to be eligible to vote in our Coffee Party elections, you must be a dues paying member by March 1, 2017. To become a member, click here.
If you just want to volunteer, there’s still room and there is still a need. Volunteers are vital to our organization. Volunteers produce our Facebook page, help with strategic planning, white papers, partnerships with other organizations, create and implement campaigns and events, and so much more. Bring your ideas - we want to hear them.
To volunteer on the national level, click here.
To volunteer to start your own local Coffee Party Community, click here.
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle, Coffee Party Board of Director & Secretary
Since the recent elections, Coffee Party USA has been flooded with requests from people who love our country and want to make a difference in our nation. We have welcomed new volunteers in almost every one of our active work groups. What energy we are feeling! If you too are feeling some renewed passion to get more involved, consider joining us in our grassroots movement to build, nurture and connect communities in order to reclaim our government for the people.
Besides our goal of activating more volunteers, Coffee Party USA is also looking for more Directors on our Board. If you are interested in working for a cause that matters, working together with an eclectic mix of invigorating, passionate people, I hope you will consider running for a position on the Board.
In order to even be considered, all applicants must be official members of Coffee Party USA by January 1, 2017. Then members must become involved as volunteers in one of many of our work groups. Getting started as a member and as a volunteer will introduce you more deeply to Coffee Party’s philosophy and practice. These stepping stones may well motivate you to take the next step in 2017 and put your hat in the ring for a place on the Board of Directors. It’s a win-win situation. Coffee Party benefits from your talents and experience and you benefit from being an active participant and partner in this impressive movement.
Follow these links to learn more about Coffee Party USA, our values, goals, and issues.
Follow this link to learn how to become a member.
Follow this link to learn more about how to volunteer.
Follow this link to learn more about the Coffee Party Board of Directors.
If you care about this nation as I do, then actively participating with Coffee Party USA may be an excellent, practical way for you to work together with us for the good of America.
Tim Danahey, Coffee Party USA Director of Public and Member Relations
Two weeks ago, my neighbor told me about a “Not My President” protest rally scheduled in my hometown. The theme of the protest is not one I wholeheartedly support but I understood the underlying concerns for civil liberties, racism, and opportunity for all. I decided to go.
This was my first protest except for a rally against Citizens United in Denver years ago. I didn't know what to expect. What I found was fascinating, frightening, and encouraging. Let me tell you what happened.
First of all, I discovered this protest was officially canceled because people called the police and threatened gun violence against the “Not My President” protesters. However, the protesters came anyway.
When I arrived, there were about a hundred “Not My President” protesters gathered on the corner of town square. They were cheering the car horns honking to support them, chanting various slogans, and remaining totally positive. Most of the protestors were just standing around chatting. A couple people were gathering email addresses for future activities. It was a nice crowd.
Across the street, there were about twenty-five pro-Trump supporters. They were waving American flags and shouting that I needed to get a job, get off welfare, and stop being a communist. For the record, I am a profitable entrepreneur, I have never received a dime from a government program even though I once qualified, and I know ideological extremes like communism are doomed to fail. Nonetheless, the pro-Trump supporters were angry and shouting. One guy wore a “Make America Great Again” cap, dark sunglasses, and a red bandana to cover his face like a wild west bank robber. He was the angriest.
One pro-Trump supporter carried a sign, “Trump Won. Get Over It. It's Called Democracy”. I wanted to cross the street, shake his hand, say I understand and let him know why I was on the opposite corner. However, a police presence on the periphery discouraged physical interaction. Several times a pro-Trump supporter would cross the street, approach us, and yell menacingly at our side. This is when it was cool. When the guy was furious and baiting us, our side spontaneously began to chant, “When they go low, we go high”. The pro-Trump street crossers were totally shut down by a lack of direct engagement and the inability to provoke a verbal or physical response. They would storm back to their corner.
Most of the protest was just a matter of showing up. We talked with some people, admired their passion for civic engagement, and eventually left to continue our day. The victory wasn't a matter of making a sign, shouting slogans, or standing in the front lines. I didn't do any of that. The victory was simply being part of the official count.
I learned to overcome the inertia of sitting at home and being supportive of others' efforts. I learned that most of the protesting is milling about the back lines. I learned that I must do this many more times.
While we are facing uncertain times ahead of us, it will be increasingly important that you and I overcome the inertia of comfort and become peacefully involved – no matter what the issue and our points of view. We do need to learn the realities of peaceful protesting and be ready for them.
First of all, no matter what, the protest must be one hundred percent peaceful and respectful. No anger, no disrespect, no bad language, and no blocking of public rights of way. If anyone violates those rules, stay away from them, isolate them, and treat them like a bad virus. Someone will take a picture of them, post it, and misrepresent the whole protest movement. Peaceful protests can grow organically if people are unafraid to join and support the causes. Violence will even turn away the supporters.
That being said, understand the forces opposing populist movements are sophisticated and will do anything to undermine sympathy for protesters and their causes. The most common tactic is to seed the protesters with hooligans to provoke police, create violent visuals to discourage participation and allow the media to portray the protesters as outliers. This is why any untoward behavior must be isolated.
Peacefully protesting is surprisingly easy and actually fun. I like people who are engaged with issues and government. They are a new community in which I feel very comfortable and want to develop more activities with them. I hope it leads to coffee shop conversations, finding people to run for local elections, and raising public awareness. Good stuff. I'll be back.
The Coffee Party recently kicked off two activities where you can easily get involved in bringing more civility and reason to our political dialogue -- "Coffee Party Talks" and our "Hashtag" campaign.
Coffee Party Talks
Coffee Party Talks offers you an opportunity to host one or more small group discussions on various political topics. You choose where and when to meet and who to invite. If you want to open it to the public (which is up to you!), you can list it on the Coffee Party's website.
We give you all the material to get you going! You can download guides on facilitating conversations and discussion topics on a number of timely political subjects. We have partnered with the folks at Living Room Conversations to offer questions designed to generate lively but respectful conversation on a number of topics --- from "Media and Polarization", "The American We Want to Be" and more.
For more information and a full list of the topics, go to this page:
Be sure to sign up on the page so we can keep you informed on new information and provide you instructions on how to participate in our free brief Coffee Party Talks training conference call on July 25.
We Appreciate Your Civility Hashtag Campaign
We all know that what we give attention to is what we grow in our lives. Our Hashtag Campaign offers you an easy process to expand our experience of civil dialogue online. The idea is simple!
All you need to do is to pay attention to when others online are being respectful in their political interactions ---- then comment on their sharing by thanking them and using our special hashtags of #incitecivility and #coffeepartyon. Be sure to provide a link, if possible, back to the Coffee Party USA website! If you need some ideas on some positive comments that you can use or more information about the campaign, go to this website:
Remember that higher levels of civility in the world starts within our own lives and our sphere of influence. Each of us can make a difference! Won't you join us in these campaigns! Thank you!
Coffee Party USA
Chair, Campaigns and Actions
Coffee Party Campaigns, Volunteers, White Papers and Election Fatigue
Campaigns: #VoteAnyway will conclude on election day. And regardless of the outcome of the election, we are committed to #StayInvolved with our elected representatives and local political party. By infusing our dysfunctional political with support and energy (i.e. new volunteers), we can restore...and reclaim... our democratic ideals.
Volunteers: Coffee Party is a volunteer led and volunteer run organization. By working together, we keep the lights on, the posts fresh and have a lot of fun doing it. We hope you will consider volunteering. Our entrepreneurial culture is open to self-starters with ideas who want to #StayInvolved.
White Papers: We are in need of new white papers that outline the Coffee Party positions based on our End State Goals. Following the election, we’ll be recruiting 4-5 people to work on Electoral Reform positions. If we have more volunteers, we can expand to work on Corruption Law Reform, too! If you are interested, please go to www.CoffeePartyUSA.com/volunteer
Election Fatigue: In the weeks leading up to the election, how are you taking care of yourself? I’m intentionally picking up the headlines and avoiding the point-scoring, blow-by-blow coverage. I’ll be spending time researching ballot issues (in Oregon) as well as down ballot candidates. The coverage is so overwhelmingly focused on the presidential race, I feel a little blind about the rest of my civic duty. Another symptom of Election Fatigue. Sheesh!
by Leah Spitzer
The Coffee Party is already looking to our future. While we are focused on the upcoming Presidential elections, we are also looking forward to 2017 at the Coffee Party. How do we fit in after the elections? What will we be doing to continue working towards our goals?
Coffee Party volunteers actively participate in the planning, but we are lead by our energetic and active Board of Directors. Our board members are committed to volunteering at least 5 hours a week. They roll up their sleeves, dive in, and actively lead as well as participate in the work. That’s one of the things that makes the Coffee Party so much fun.
In April of 2017, we will again be accepting applications for our Board of Directors. Serving on the Board of Directors not only helps the Coffee Party reach our goals, it can be Invigorating, stimulating, and even challenging. It can also improve leadership skills and introduce you to new connections.
In order to submit an application, you must be a dues paying member by January 1, 2017 and be actively participating as a volunteer. To see what else is required to become a board member, click here .
If you do not want to be a board member, but would like to be eligible to vote in our Coffee Party elections, you must be a dues paying member by March 1, 2017. To become a member, click here.
We can always use more volunteers. So even if you don’t wish to become a member, or a board member, please consider becoming a volunteer. Volunteers are vital to our organization. Volunteers produce our Facebook page, help with strategic planning, create and implement campaigns and events, and so much more. We are a community working together online to promote civility and move closer to our goals. Bring your ideas - we want to hear them. All of our work is done via conference calls and Facebook, so we are not location specific. To find out more, click here.
Photo of Heather Prabish
By Leah Spitzer
This month, we’d like to feature one of our most active volunteers, Heather Prabish. Heather volunteers in Campaigns and Actions, Partnerships and Strategy and Implementation. Heather has also participated in our Coffee Party Panelists Team, and has helped out in several foundation projects such as Coffee Party Talks, Panelist guidelines and member surveys.
Heather was born and raised in Nebraska and has lived most of her adult life in Chicago suburbs where she now resides. Heather is the mother of six children between the ages of 6 and 15 years. Heather is the Director of Support and Training for a software company and works with automated reporting inside the market research industry.
Heather has been volunteering with the Coffee Party since March. She was drawn to the Coffee Party through friends and followed our Facebook page before signing up as a volunteer. She was surprised by the Primary election results and that encouraged her to become active. Heather really likes our commitment to being reasonable and civil and keeping that engagement during difficult conversations. She wanted to do something to help the country and the community to make sure it is the type of place she’d like to live.
Heather first signed up in Campaigns and Actions and Strategy and Implementation. She likes that Strategy and Implementation looks forward for the Coffee Party to help determine the next steps we need to take. In other words, it has the general concerns and health of the organization in mind. Campaigns and Actions works to engage people and promote our ideals and find things that people can do and be involved with. It is very action oriented.
Heather then received an invitation to Partnerships. This group looks at other organizations and evaluates them against our goals to see if they have potential for collaboration. Heather mentioned a need for more volunteers in Partnerships. One good thing about this group is that if she occasionally misses a call, she can still continue her research and post her thoughts on their private Facebook page or via email.
Heather’s favorite thing about volunteering with the Coffee Party is that she can hear ideas from all points of view. Heather tends to lean more conservatively than many of our volunteers, so it’s interesting to hear those different perspectives. People are whole people and ideas are just ideas.
Heather’s favorite project so far was hosting the Coffee Party Talks. Heather has done two Coffee Party Talks. The first one was with family members (mandatory for her 4 older children). It was interesting listening to their views and hearing the optimism and hope in their voices and inspiring them to engage civilly. The second Talk was with some non family participants drawn from her book club and running club. They were excited to be a part of it. Heather has a lot of friends that are Trump supporters and the CP Talk provided a space where they could talk without being attacked and that appealed to them. There was a level of trust that they would remain friends anyway so they were able to freely discuss why they were voting a certain way.
When not volunteering, Heather enjoys reading and being involved with her children’s activities. She enjoys watching them progress and grow. Heather really likes the conversations she has with her children especially after dancing or swimming.
Thank you, Heather for all your contributions to the Coffee Party.
(Would you like to volunteer? Go to www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer)
#VoteAnyway is the Coffee Party USA campaign to encourage all citizens to vote, even in the face of many who would say it does not matter. If you agree and would like to share this message while you support our cause, check out the #VoteAnyway bumper sticker.
During the month of September, we will send you a free bumper sticker if you:
become an annual member;
become a monthly sustaining member;
renew your membership; or
make a one time donation - one bumper sticker for every $5.
It is fair to say that the political events of the last year have left many of us feeling adrift. There is so much vitriol, so much mischief, so much spin everywhere, that giving up on it all might seem like a valid solution to the swirl. We must not surrender.
#VoteAnyway is the Coffee Party USA campaign to encourage all citizens to vote, even in the face of many who would say it does not matter. We believe nothing could matter more. We believe the change you seek begins with your vote. Your support is essential to others who have risked themselves to represent you from local to state to federal offices. Your voice and your vote matters.
We are also asking you to help us get the vote out! Please share this information, use the hashtag #voteanyway and point people to our website, discuss voting with your friends and family, help people get to the polls, in other words....do what you can where you are to ensure that everyone's voice is heard!
The road to reclaiming our government for us, the people, to be MORE involved. Not less. Truth and love will prevail.
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always. ― Mahatma Gandhi
If you need help getting registered to vote, check out the interactive map on our website as well as other useful information.
Charlotte Vaughan Coyle is one of Coffee Party’s newest Board members, recently appointed Secretary for a two-year term. She also has taken responsibility for the Join the Coffee Party Movement Newsroom – the term we use for the group of editors who post articles, blogs and original writings to our Facebook page.
Hi. This is Charlotte reporting from the Newsroom. Ever since the beginnings of the Coffee Party Facebook page, there has been a commitment to circulate solid information and responsible commentary in order to help inform, educate and motivate. Around these articles on the important issues of our day, Coffee Party provides a venue for conversation, debate and intellectual discussion.
Civil conversation is rare on the Internet. In a time when trolls and cyberspace bullies are doing real damage, Join the Coffee Party Movement remains committed to bring people together and foster intelligent conversation. Our moderation guidelines and our dedicated volunteers do an excellent job of helping us keep our promise to “incite civility.”
Join the Coffee Party Movement editors are a jambalaya of backgrounds, interests, personalities and opinions. We don’t always agree but we work hard to model the respect we ask of our readers and commenters. Agreeing to disagree and finding common ground are important principles we try to embody within our diverse and creative team.
Watch for some updates on the Join the Coffee Party Movement Facebook page coming soon. We would love to have our members give us feedback on how we can continue to use our Facebook page to inform, educate, motivate and “incite civility.”