In January 2017, I received my first e-mail about the DAUK Women’s Caucus. Learning about the Women’s Caucus – particularly in the wake of Donald Trump’s election – was a breath of fresh air. It represented an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the advancement of Democratic causes and for an affinity group that has become my life’s work.
Former Co-Chair Allison Gilbert implored me to come to a Women’s Caucus meeting in March 2017 after I shared feedback on the women’s caucus newsletter. Soon after, I joined forces with Abby Yolda to become Media and Communications (MCC) Co-Chair. For those of you who attended my debut meeting in April 2017, you may recall the acronym S.I.S.T.A., an overarching strategy to revamping how we communicate with our members online.
This was based on the structural need to gather People to create an online Presence that served a Purpose that our members could rally behind.
In terms of People, I must thank the women who gave their time serving in a substantive capacity during my leadership of the MCC: (1st wave) Abby Yolda, Sierra Slettvet, Stephanie Walker, Shana Mason, Amanda Wintcher, Nicole Sierra, Kate Cyr, (2nd wave) Eva Rangel, Meghan Feeks, Catherine Snyder, Alyssa Blachez, and most recently Esther Newman. These women have attended meetings, created content, implemented designs and redesigns, sought expert advice among their circles, created standards, and driven this committee to heights previously unthinkable. I wish to deeply thank every one of you for your generosity in time, spirit, and creativity.
The story of the Presence we developed online can be told in both numbers and people: Our Slack channel has grown from just a handful of women on the MCC to nearly 60 women sharing perspectives and news as it emerges. On Twitter, we went from under 100 people following us to now nearly 230 engaged followers liking and sharing our content. This substantial growth was achieved in just over a year’s time of consistent hard work. On Facebook, we had just over 400 followers and a similar number of likes when I began this journey. Today, we have 609 followers and 580 likes. We’ve added nearly 100 new women to our newsletter mailing list, now totaling nearly 500 subscribers. Our website has gone from strength to strength, and since relaunching in the summer of 2017, we have had nearly 8,200 visits!
This phenomenal growth was made possible by a group of phenomenal social media volunteers we’ve had over the past 1.5 years: Carol Moore, Carol Graham, Wen-Wen Lindroth, Rebecca Lammers, Laura Mosedale, Lan Wu, Kate Van Dermark, Elaine Capizzi, Maya Buchanan, Allison Gilbert, and all the women previously named. The presence these women created online resulted in viral content share hundreds of times, having larger media organizations cite our social media content in their own features, and becoming a model for Democratic women’s caucuses around the world, among many other achievements.
The Purpose of all of this effort returned to the MCC mission I initially articulated: “To help share news and inform the DAUK Women’s Caucus about political topics, events, and stories of relevance to our membership. We prioritize content generated by our own members, followed by content created by like-minded individuals and organizations. We want to spotlight the things you care about. This is a collaborative effort whereby many hands make the load light. We can’t do our best without you!”
From the beginning of this journey, I made clear that I didn’t care about internal party politics and was focusing my efforts solely on getting Democrats back in power as the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections. The best way I thought we as a committee could contribute to this was by using digital media to make sure that American women in the UK were being heard back home in the US. While we are just over a week away from seeing if we helped push the needle in the right direction, I can already stand proud at all that our mission has led us to accomplish.
As stated in the mission for this committee, this was all a collaborative effort and many hands make the load light. We really can’t continue doing our best without YOU as volunteers. The 2020 campaign season will be here before we know it, so there remains much work to be done. I do hope you will reflect on the tangible impact we have made and considering joining the Media and Communications Committee in volunteering for as little as four hours a month. Armchair activism of this sort has never been more important and working together, we can do so much more. If interested in supporting our work to the 2020 Presidential Elections, please email firstname.lastname@example.org TODAY!
Meanwhile, I bid a sad goodbye and leave the committee in strong hands with Evangelina Rangel, Alyssa Blachez, and Esther Newman continuing this important work.
Ronda Zelezny-Green, PhD