Michael Johnson is January’s Volunteer of the Month. Michael has been a volunteer for the Coffee Party for a little over a year and is a valuable member of the Strategy and Implementation Work Group. Strategy and Implementation is the work group that is responsible for developing proposals for Coffee Party’s current and future path.
As a resident of Pasadena, CA, Michael has a Masters in Business Administration (?) and works from home in political and social networking.
What Michael really likes about the Coffee Party is that we can have a diversity of views. Even if you don’t agree with someone, in the Coffee Party, we find out why we don’t agree and it creates a good dialogue and we learn from each other. Michael feels that in order to fit into other groups, you have to be so passionate that you shut down areas of critical thought. In the Coffee Party, if you don’t agree, it’s okay. You talk to each other and learn about different points of view and generate new ideas.
Michael enjoys the Strategy and Implementation group because we can create an effective vision for the Coffee Party.
Michael was instrumental early in 2015 when he helped to lead and shape our End State Goals that can now be seen on our website at www.coffeepartyusa.com/goals. He was inspired to help with the End State Goals when he spotted the need: we have to know where we are going in the next ten years. The Civility Pledge inspired him to come up with the idea for the End State Goals and present it to the Strategy Work Group. He loved getting it started and being a part of the process. There are common principles that go with civility and making the world a better place such as accepting diversity and inclusiveness and getting local areas excited about the political process.
His favorite part of working within a work group is being able to contribute as well as to brainstorm and hear other people’s ideas. His favorite project was definitely the End State Goals.
When not helping the CP, Michael likes working on his website and playing around with virtual reality. There’s some amazing new technology that is an exciting new world.
Jeanene Louden, Coffee Party USA Director & Treasurer
Welcome, 2016! The new calendar year marks mid way through the Coffee Party USA fiscal year. Now is a great time to check in with members and supporters about progress toward some of our goals.
Membership, Volunteers & Leadership
Ever since our transition to an all volunteer organization in FY 13/14, Coffee Party has been moving toward linking membership, volunteer experience and organizational leadership. The current Bylaws require three months of membership to vote in the annual elections, and six months as an active volunteer and member in order to run for office. The purpose of these requirements is to facilitate a Board of Directors made up of experienced member volunteers, more likely to know what they are getting into, therefore more likely to serve out their full term. Two of the goals intended to support this strategy are listed below.
Double the number of dues paying members in FY15/16
Grow to 100 active volunteers in FY15/16
Coffee Party is founded on the belief that “civility and reason” knows no political, geographical, gender, or religious bounds, we have set goals to help expand our reach across those arbitrary divides. We see ourselves as a “community of practice” - a place where we can help each each other develop the skill of civility and reason, knowing that with diversity comes the opportunity for disagreement. So, we have included goals to support our growth as a community. Some examples follow.
Expand the diversity of in our posts and broadcasts by expanding the newsroom and radio teams
12 new members to the newsroom team and four shows to the radio team
Find 10 additional original content bloggers and broadcasters
seven new bloggers as of 12/31/15
Expand outreach on FB to 1 million likes (diversity in numbers)
900K as of 1/09/16
Create a “moderating team” to support civility and reason in our posts and comments
Ready to launch in January 2016
We have other goals, of course: some very businessy and some very technical. But, Membership Volunteers & Leadership, and Diversity just seemed like New Year’s thing to share.
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!
And, Coffee Party ON!
I am an idealist. I want our country to live up to it’s ideals. And I also find movies a wonderful expression of our ideals. Every winter, I watch two movies. It’s a Wonderful Life and Scrooge. Both are stories of transformation. Together, these stories are powerful reminders about motivations, duty, choices and impact. The protagonists are very different from each other.
George Bailey is a dutiful man who gives up his dream of world travel, college and honeymoon to support his father, the family business and the townspeople. Each choice was made in the moment, because “it was the right thing to do.” Yet Bailey feels trapped and adopts a martyr-like attitude for several decades.Read more
We want a diverse group of bloggers and writers to counter MSM dereliction
Egberto Willies Coffee Party Director, Newsroom
The country has been hit by two terrorist attacks in less than one week. Both incidents were effected by Americans, domestic terrorism. One seemed to be inspired by ISIS the other inspired by domestic ideology.
Many will try to exploit these events for political gain. Many politicians have resorted to irresponsible rhetoric that has placed many of our Muslim American brothers and sisters at risk. They are exploiting an irrational fear that is fanned by irresponsible politicians, a willfully incompetent media, and special interests who simply wait for destabilizing events for some ulterior motive. They corrupt our body politic on false pretenses.
At Coffee Party USA, we want to hear your voices. We want to hear voices of reason. We want to encourage bloggers, writers, and anyone who wants to ensure that the puppeteers that are currently misleading Americans are challenged.
Coffee Party USA’s reach is vast. We reach several million Americans every week. We welcome thoughtful pieces from our membership that will help push back at those who are attempting to marginalize our fellow citizens. Your rational thoughts are valuable beyond your immediate sphere of influence. You rational and valuable thoughts have a platform here to reach a larger audience, your fellow Americans.
We are ready for 2016
Mark Gilbert, Coffee Party Director of Campaigns and Actions
As 2015 comes to a close, it's important to reflect back upon just how much the Coffee Party's Campaigns and Actions Workgroup has accomplished this year. Have you participated in any of this past year's events?
Since January, we have held Book Club discussions on the following four books:
- Unstoppable - The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State by Ralph Nader
- Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square: 10 Rules That Work by Cassandra Dahnke & Tomas Spath
- If I Were President: Saving Main Street America by Randy Fricke
- Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer
In addition, we interviewed all of the authors above (except Nader) on special online radio shows.
We helped support the premiere of a new movie, Education Inc., which looked at the expanding role of money in our schools. In addition, we interviewed filmmaker Brian Malone.
We held a special "Twitter storm" to discuss concerns over how some community civil fines are putting individuals in a type of "debtor's prison".
We sponsored a special online discussion using the "Living Room Conversations" process to discuss opinions in a civil and reasoned way about the Trans Pacific Partnership.
We encouraged Coffee Party members to view the Oprah series Belief and to join us in one of several online discussions about the interplay of politics and spirituality.
Yes, it has been an exciting and busy 2015, but next year looks to be even more so as we plan our upcoming actions for this 2016 election year. Look for campaigns next year which continue to focus on the goals of the Coffee Party and seek to get us all engaged in bringing civility and reason to our American political system.
If you would like to help out, the Campaigns and Actions workgroup is currently accepting new volunteers to plan our events for this upcoming year. Won't you join us? For more information, go to http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/volunteer2.
Director, Campaigns and Actions
YES! Membership is power
Jeanene Louden, Coffee Party USA Director & Treasurer
Thank you to all our new and renewing members! And thanks, as always to our continuing sustaining members. Our all- volunteer, grassroots movement operates solely on the generosity of people like you: no big money, no sugar daddy, no corporate sponsorship - just good people like yourself.
(If you have not received an email asking you to choose your new member thank you gift, email us at email@example.com!)
In the next few days all our members (new and old) will receive an email asking for your input on the issues surrounding the state of gun violence in America today. Are we interested in taking a position? If so, what would that position be? Are there organizations we should support or partner with on this issue? ETC!
Watch for an email titled: YOUR OPINION PLEASE from Coffee Party USA.
if you have not received your email to choose your thank you gift, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Would you like to volunteer?
Volunteer of the month: Jane Colgan
We have chosen to use a section of the newsletter each month to tell you about our different volunteer opportunities in the Coffee Party and introduce some of many volunteers. It’s your chance to make a difference. We have many volunteer opportunities and this month we’re going to introduce you to one of our wonderful volunteers. Without volunteers, we would get very little done.
So let’s dive right in and I will tell you about one of our volunteers here at the Coffee Party. Her name is Jane Colgan and Jane lives in the frosty suburbs of Detroit. A native of the Big Apple, Jane doesn’t seem to mind the brisk winters and loves the seasons.
Jane became attracted to the Coffee Party while working with the League of Women Voters where a friend was following our page and liking our message. She likes the transpartisanship and symbolistic aspect of civility and reason. Jane became more and more involved as she read what we, at Coffee Party, are trying to do: bring civility into politics to better our country and planet.
Currently Jane is working in the Campaigns and Actions group, which is responsible for member involvement in campaigns that meet our end state goals. She enjoys the involvement and being able to participate and have her voice heard. Her favorite thing thus far in her time volunteering is her involvement on the Board Development Group, affectionately know as our Leadership Work Group and is responsible for overseeing elections, helping to recruit and provide orientation for our Board members.
Jane loves to spend her spare time playing with her Boxer, Chance, and, of course, spoiling her grandchildren. Like the other volunteers I’ve had a chance to speak to, Jane is yet another example of the nice down to earth people we tend to attract here at the Coffee Party. So if you want have you voice heard and try to make a difference, come join us!
by Charlie Tucker
Since that awful day in 2001, I’ve been very clear about one thing. Fear is a weapon. Those who seek to control us, the people, wield fear as a weapon to control our reaction, our attention and pervert our American values. But what is fear, really?
When our survival mode kicks in due to physical threat, fear is real and grounded. It may keep us alive. I’ve felt fearful around violent or intoxicated people...a remnant of childhood when my survival seemed at risk. But this is a very different fear from imagining a violent incident or out-of-control situation. This type of fear is ungrounded. It is based in our minds by focusing on bad things that MIGHT happen. And those who use fear as a weapon are only too glad to help us paint fearful images, create panic and then seize control as the “hero” who will save us.
What should we do with this ungrounded fear? Bob Newhart delivers simplistic advice on ungrounded fears in this clip. I often find truth in humor.
What Mr. Newhart doesn’t cover is the replacement or antidote to fear. What works for me is practicing courage. This is the exercise of taking action, despite fear. Action eliminates fear and restores our sense of control. We are no longer “at the mercy” of “whatever may happen.”
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
How do you conquer your fear? Do you make plans “just in case?” Do you observe what you are thinking and treat fear like a weed… pulling out those thoughts and planting something nourishing? I’d love to hear stories from you about times when you’ve conquered fear and exhibited courage.
Our country needs us to be courageous. Our communities and families need to be courageous.
Yesterday, the voters in Maine did something incredible.
They stood up to the special interests, lobbyists, even their own Governor and loudly proclaimed, “Enough is enough!”
With over 55% of the vote, Mainers passed the Question 1 ballot initiative, reclaiming democracy from those who wish to corrupt it.
Stronger requirements for transparency and disclosure of all political spending, increased penalties for those who break the law, and the restoration of the state’s public financing system will soon be the law of the land in Maine.
This victory sends a clear message to the rest of the country that when citizens work together, we can accomplish great things. Restoring the democratic process from the bottom up will not be accomplished overnight, but today we can look to the residents of Maine and be inspired by what they have achieved.
It requires months of tireless work to qualify a measure for the statewide ballot and mount a serious campaign in support of it. In this instance the reward for that work is well deserved and the group that led the charge for Question 1 was Mainers for Accountable Elections. We are proud to have been a part of the coalition that supported their important work and thank them again for their efforts.
Congratulations to the citizens of Maine!
Now onto the other 49 states! The Patriotic Millionaires are ready to fight alongside you as we work together to build a democracy that works for all Americans, not just a few wealthy individuals and corporations.
Thanks for all you do,
The Patriotic Millionaires
Tim Danahey, Coffee Party USA Director of Public and Member Relations
It is a privilege to serve on the Coffee Party USA Board of Directors. Never have I seen a group of people express divergent opinions in such a civil and contructive manner. It is quite remarkable and, to be a part of it, has been an opportunity for me to expand my thoughts.
One of the recent issues we've discussed his how to regard and respond to the many emails and voice mails we receive. Some suggest we should have a form letter replying “Thank you for sharing your thoughts.” It would have been quick. It would have worked, It would have been horribly wrong.
We discussed it. We weighed the various merits of saving time from our busy schedules. We considered the uneven quality of the mail we receive. We finally settled that answering as many quality inquiries as possible is the right thing to do.
If someone is sincere enough to make a civil inquiry about our policies, our positions, our objectives, or our plans, then that person deserves an equally thoughtful response. Our hope is that the response begins a dialogue and encourages people to join us, be active in civic engagement, and help grow our mission. It takes quite a bit of time but you, the member, the reader, the listener, and the citizen should have that right from us and every elected official accountable to you. That letter you write deserves a response and, if anyone discounts you by giving you a form letter or no answer, then demand better. Get loud and get active. Do your research and hold the facts in front of everyone until you get the consideration you've earned.
So, please, write to us, call us, or email. Get the response that continues the dialogue. If you value civil dialogue, then join the Coffee Party USA and be a part of the revolution – the revolution of holding our politicians accountable.