I met Buffy Wicks, who’s running for the California Assembly District 15 seat that was occupied by Tony Thurmond, today, at my favorite place to talk politics, Lakeshore Cafe at 3257 Lakeshore in Oakland. Since we’ve been friends for a long time, going back to the historic Obama 2008 campaign days, we had a lot of catching up to do. So we did, (For those who are wondering, I am excited to interview Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, and have already reached out, several times, to secure an interview with her. Over coffee. At this same place.)
After catching up on things, Buffy took time to talk about her campaign for the video above and this blog post. This is what she said:
“I just came out of the primary, headed for the general election, really excited about what we accomplished. I launched my campaign about a year ago: 161 house parties, during the primary we had about 500 active volunteers, we knocked on 35,000 doors. So I’m really interested in grass-roots organizing. Which, my background’s in grassroots organizing. I worked with President Obama and helped with his organizing model. I worked in the Labor Movement. I was an anti-war organizer in San Francisco. So I’ve done a lot of organizing work.
“So I really believe that, well everyone wants to win, but how you win is really important. And for me, being in people’s living rooms across this district – it’s the type of campaign I want to run.
“And I’ve done a lot of listening. I have had 161 house parties. Everywhere from Piedmont to San Pablo, to Richmond, to all over the place – Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland, all over the district. And I’ve learned in those house parties. Obviously they’ve helped me craft a policy platform. Stong investments in public education. Making sure every school is great. Paying our teachers more. Adressing our homeless issue and the housing crisis. Environmental issues. Transportation issues. They care a lot about this.
“What I’ve found out about house parties is a lot of our social movements comes from our community. I’ve listened to a lot of my constituents, and taken their feedback, and put that into my thinking. Because I think a lot of our elected officials don’t do a lot of listening.
“I would be honored to be the representative for California Assembly District 15. A lot of those relationships (with the constituents) I would take with me back to Sacramento. This isn’t a campaign about me, it’s a campaign about us. And organizing, in my opinion, is the only way we bring change about in this country. It’s how we elected the first black president. It’s how women got the right to vote. It’s how we got the 40-hour-work week.
“I really value that (organizing). Given the really difficult political environment we’re in right now, this moment demands that level of grassroots organizing. I believe that it’s incumbent upon us, every single day, to actively addresss those things. Everyday.
“When you see what’s happening at the border right now. With children being separated from their families. It is so heart-wrenching. You see the gun violence. Not only these mass shootings, but gun violence in our communities of color – for a long time, and doesn’t get as much media play.
When you see these things happening. When you see Donald Trump wrapping the white nationalist flag around himself. This moment demands all of us to act against these things.
“I thought ‘What am I gonna say 20, 30 years from now?’ What did you do then. You know? I think we’re all asking that question.
“So whether it’s my campaign or other campains, calls to action are really, really important right now. But, I have a lot of hope. I have a lot of hope when you look at those kids in Parkland, Florida, and what they’re teaching us adults. You look at record numbers of women across this country are running for down-ballot seats. You know, you look at the special elections we have had. So, I do have a lot of hope about where we are going. I think the way we push back on Donald Trump is to have good progressive policies here in California. And to deal with the racial inequities in our education system – and in our criminal justice system. And assuring that we can do everything we can to protect our Sanctuary State system. We’re excited. I’m excited about our general election, and about the energy around our campaign, And I’m just excited to be in people’s living rooms.”
Buffy went on to say that anyone who wants to help can contact the campaign at the website BuffyWicks.com, on Twitter, on Facebook. And via email at BW@BuffyWicks.com. And Buffy says you can even call her cell phone at 510-545-3997.
And to those who may be Jovanka Beckles representatives or supporters, we’re still waiting for that interview.
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