The 2016 election was like a shot of much-needed adrenalin in the arms of seasoned political activists and everyday citizens who never viewed themselves as activists before. It’s fair to say the desire to resist hard-right nationalism has inspired a groundswell of democratic participation like our nation has not seen in decades. Well-established organizations such as NOW and the ACLU are feeling revitalized with a new sense of purpose as the current administration postures to reduce women’s equality and limit civil liberties. New grassroots groups are gaining strength all across the country as citizens band together to resist the regressive Trump agenda. Two such groups, Together We Will (TWW) and Women’s March SLO (WMSLO), have active and growing chapters here in San Luis Obispo. People from almost every political spectrum are looking for ways to get involved in local and national movements focused on protecting healthcare, human rights, public education, the environment and much more.
I spoke with Lan Alcorn from Together We Will and Dawn Addis from Women’s March SLO to learn more about the goals of these two fledgling groups and how they work with organizations that already exist.
Lan, can you tell us how TWW SLO was formed, and who is leading the group?
Together We Will started out as a secret Facebook group, and our membership quickly grew. Today, we have over 1,200 members in TWW SLO, and the leadership team is comprised of six local women.
Dawn, many people don’t realize that the Women’s March is an on-going organization, not just a one-time event. Can you explain more about the group’s foundation and continuing goals?
The Women’s March San Luis Obispo has continued past January 21 and turned into a true movement based on the hope for a just and positive future inspired by millions of women and their allies worldwide. In SLO, this movement continues because of the energy and enthusiasm of local people who have decided to engage or re-engage in creating the future they want. We are committed to building coalitions within the community, participating in direct action campaigns, promoting hope for a just and positive future, and staying committed to Kingian non-violence.
What are the long-term goals of TWW SLO?
Our long term goal is to provide our members with tools and resources that make it easy for them to fight for issues they care about. We do this with daily calls to action, non-violent marches, protests and rallies, digital campaigns to help spread our message, and training resources to help everyday people participate in activism.
Does TWW SLO work in concert with other political groups in our area?
Yes, we are currently working with SLO Progressives to plan and organize an Activism 101 conference that focuses on the Indivisible Guide. We are also working in conjunction with Women’s March SLO to begin forming a coalition of local organizations that share similar social, environmental, and legislative goals.
And the same question for you Dawn, does WMSLO work with other local organizations?
WMSLO is currently a non-partisan group that partners with other organizations who believe in our mission and goals.
So rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it sounds like both TWW SLO and WMSLO are reaching out to others—sharing your strengths and ideas. Are there any actions coming up our readers should know about?
Lan: We hold monthly general meetings, but have not scheduled them for spring yet. We are also working with other local groups such as Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter, SLO Progressives, and Northern Chumash Tribal Council to plan the People’s Climate March on April 29.
Dawn: We are currently part of the 10 Actions 100 Days Campaign on our website and are working on action around voter registration. We move at a fast pace given the rapid changes coming from the Executive Branch. I highly suggest readers sign up for our emails at www.womensmarchslo.com.
To learn more about Together We Will SLO send an email to email@example.com.
To learn more about Women’s March SLO visit womensmarchslo.com. or find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WomensMarchSLO/.