Local 2428 East Bay Parks

Local 2428 Member Says ‘Social Courage’ Led Her to Log More Than 30 Volunteer Hours This Election

When word got around that two AFSCME Local 2428 members were racially profiled while they were walking precincts for a local election—yet they continued to get out the vote despite being in unfriendly territory—Kate Collins took notice.

She was so inspired by their courage that, during the June primaries, Collins decided to walk neighborhood precincts with the Union for the first time.

When it came time to repeat the get out the vote effort for this November’s election—where the stakes are even higher—Collins didn’t hesitate to volunteer.

“To me, it always seemed like a brave thing to do to go knocking on doors and talking to strangers,” she said. “Now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I not only feel closer to the larger East Bay community but I feel more confident striking up conversations with any stranger about any subject.”

That social courage has driven Collins and hundreds of other AFSCME Council 57 members across our communities to step up to the plate this election and take on our 2016 Election Volunteer Challenge. More than the fact that the members who volunteer the most this election will win a prize, our brothers and sisters have been hitting the streets and staying on the phones to lead voter conversations about state propositions as well as about local candidates and measures.

On her own, Collins has logged more than 30 volunteer hours for our political campaign.

As Collins has discovered while she has been volunteering with the Alameda County Central Labor Council and the Dee Rosario for East Bay Regional Parks campaign, the bigger reward has been connecting with people in a meaningful way and restoring their faith in humanity.

The presidential election has been so polarizing at times that a lot of Americans have been turned off by politics. But when Collins talked to people at their homes and helped explain some of the local issues on the ballot that could affect their lives, they got a better picture of why their vote matters.

“To make our communities better places, we desperately need changes to happen to be able to afford to live and work in the place we call home,” she said. “A lot of people understood the issues better when we focused on the community building aspect of the election.”

To other AFSCME members who are still wondering if they can make a difference with this election, Collins said there is still time.
It all comes down to the power of having one-to-one conversations and not being afraid to tell people that a vote for a labor-endorsed candidate or ballot measure is a vote for the community.

“What I got the most out of volunteering this election was that all voters are overwhelmed by all the measures on the ballot,” Collins said. “But after you talk to voters, they’ll thank you, and they really appreciate the information you’re sharing.” 

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