(Community Activation) The “Moms”
Speaking of politics, I once served as executive director for a 501(c)(3), (Skaters for Public Skateparks), and this was one of the most persistently annoying conversations:
Skate advocate: “I’ve spent my entire life battling religious conservatives / liberals and I’m not about to start working with them now”
Me: “Right. But the issue at hand pertains to skateboarding within a single small town, having nothing to do with politics or political affiliation, and the two of you share an interest on this particular topic”
Skate advocate: “I refuse.”
This is why I began to scout outside the circles of skateboarders for advocates with more grit, and soon found a willing pool of consistently hard workers among the moms.
“The moms” don’t invent excuses for avoiding hard work, and they don’t burn $100 effort trying to rationalize their failure to contribute $5 in value.
Because they are usually women, “the moms” have a lifetime’s experience holding their own in the face of unrelenting hostility.
Plus “the moms” weren’t always women; some are men who nonetheless “kept the home fires burning,” so to speak, which meant their kitchens and dining room tables became the community’s de facto headquarters for local advocacy.
Andy Andrews, of Hailey, Idaho is one such example. Eric Menzer, of York, Pennsylvania as well.
Their sons were killed while skateboarding, and because they grieved the loss of their sons with support of their community, leading with their profound vulnerability, for years their homes served as “home base” for the advocacy necessary to fund and build a community skatepark.
This is a great example of what Ruth calls “women’s work,” which is a category of labor generally dismissed as not valuable, and yet: if not for these individuals we would not get much done within our communities.
And not all women are very good at “keeping the home fires burning;” some are caustic, divisive, and deadly to any promising collaboration.
They cloak themselves as maternal while engaging in poisonous toxicity; a dangerously confusing mix.
In fact, my original example of “I refuse to work with that person” is largely informed by a California skate advocate who elected to relentlessly attack me as “racist” because I would not flip the entirety of my 501(c)(3) against all “religious conservatives,” while disingenuously claiming she was a protective mommy for all skaters.
The election is over soon, and a small number of you will pivot and begin working in your communities.
What we need are more statesmen, and fewer armchair politicians.
We need more “moms.”
You’ll experience the bizarre phenomenon of local people more interested in building fences and burning bridges.
These people will savagely attack you for “working with the other side,” even on issues of shared interest.
My recommendation: seek out “the moms,” and brace yourself for attack from those who are committed against any collaboration, whatsoever.