Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tabling for Clean Money on Cesar Chavez day

Today I spent 2 hours getting signatures for Clean Money at a March and rally honoring Cesar Chavez. I arrived with my ironing board and petitions just as the march was arriving at Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, amid joshing: "Que vas a planchar?" (What are you going to iron?)

After setting up next to the one other tabler present, I stood and wondered why I'd come. Aztec dancers commanded the middle of the square with their drummer, and the thickening crowd created a wall of humanity with their backs to my display. No one was speaking English, and my Spanish was far from elegant. My innate shyness makes it hard to reach out to people who are just like me, let alone people from another language and culture. What did these people care about political reform? They were struggling to survive. But there was no way to escape, because the crowd was too thick to negotiate with an ironing board.

So I started passing out quarter-page information cards. Some shrugged, grabbed them and moved on. Others peered at the writing and looked puzzled. Some came back for more information. When I assured them that they didn't need to be registered to vote to sign, and explained in my rough and ready Spanish that the legislation was to help make it possible for candidates to do what the voters wanted rather than the big companies who now contribute to political campaigns, they seemed eager to sign.

Soon I had a hispanic lady helping with the explanations. More and more people signed. Soon they were lining up to sign. Few had email addresses, our preferred, economical means of communicating news and alerts about the current Clean Money legislation in California. I signed up two women who circled "Maybe" in the Volunteer category, and asked them if they would call the new signers and tell them--in Spanish--why it was important to show up in Sacramento on April 19 and support AB 583--the Clean Money bill--in a Senate hearing. They assured me they would.

I filled up all of my petition sheets and passed out nearly all of my handouts--far more than I had expected. At the end of the rally, one of the organizers came over and personally thanked me and the other tabler for showing up. When has that ever happened before?

2 Comments:

At 3/29/06, 4:15 AM, Blogger the era said...

Way to go on getting the petitions signed! I really liked your 'Cost of Produce' piece. May I post that on my site?

Jason

 
At 3/29/06, 8:07 AM, Blogger Weedgardener said...

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