MA- Worcester Community Organizer shares her story

Etel Haxhiaj, shared her story about campaign door-knocking and providing leadership training to a volunteers like Gaylen Moore on Oct 11th, 2018 in Worcester, MA.     
              
                                       
                                                    Etel and Gaylen take a selfie in between door-knocking 
"Last night, as it was raining hard in Worcester, I went out around 3:30 pm to do another shift of door-knocking. I knew it was going to be challenging keeping myself and my canvass sheets dry, but I gave it a try hoping the rain might ease up a little. As I was leaving, I asked the moms I am serving, if I could take with me a letter that one of them wrote thanking and urging our City Council to pay attention to climate change. We had decided to write a letter that urged our City Council to partner with us, moms and caretakers, to pay closer attention to the climate change repercussions, and the gas leaks in Worcester. We thought that we would use this letter to gather signatures from residents and mothers, then deliver to our councilors. 
The mom who wrote the letter asked if she could go with me door knocking, to which I enthusiastically said, "YES!". I sat in the car under the pouring rain, waiting for Gaylen, thinking about door knocking, studying what doors were closer for us to knock on, adjusting my paperwork, fiddling with my pen, and my phone. In those few seconds I thought about how grateful I was that I was going to have company and do this with another mom, wondering how she'd feel  about doing this given it was her first time! 
We set in my car and we strategized on what our message was going to be, and how we introduce the letter Gaylen wrote. We put our rain coats on and set out to knock on doors. I started with my usual message about who I was and why we were knocking on doors. Soon after, Gaylen joined me and talked about her involvement with Mothers Out Front, and why it was important for her to be a part of Mothers Out Front Worcester. 
When we returned to the car, Gaylen shared with me that she felt like this was not as bad as she thought! She said that she felt more confident than she thought at first, even though there were moments of pause where she wasn't sure how to carry the conversation forward.
While it was a very small moment in time, it felt like a big story to me to see this mom take important steps towards building leadership. She wrote a fantastic letter, took the initiative to get past the discomfort of knocking on stranger doors for the first time, and she felt confident doing it. 
I wanted to share this as measure of success, and a story that resonated with me about how taking leadership is often about creating the space for moms to practice leaping over whatever fears or insecurities. There was also something really powerful having two moms simply asking our community members to help us figure out how we can work together to protect our climate in our own community." 


Etel Haxhiaj
Massachusetts Community Organizer

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