Advocacy in uncertain times
In the month since our last update, it feels as though the whole world has ground to a halt. This is a unique time in history. The coronavirus pandemic has starkly highlighted the existing fault lines and power imbalances in our world and community. As these glaring challenges drastically change life as we know it, we need community now more than ever. We are heartened by all the efforts to take care of the most vulnerable members of our community, and we ask that you continue to do what you can for our friends, neighbors, and everyone else.
As we wrote in our last email, we recognize the responsibility that comes with our good fortune and privilege to live in this amazing mountain hideout. Our friends in big cities are seeing the effects of COVID much sooner and worse than we are. Additionally, many of our friends here have lost their jobs or had to close their businesses; even the Travel and Tourism Board sent out a press release asking visitors to stay home. We’re trying to do what we can – keeping our contracts going with local small businesses; getting take-out or restaurant bonds from local restaurants. And we hope you’ll consider giving time or resources to the community response funds (see a list here).
We’re doing well, all things considered. We are now in our second week as a fully-remote team, and we had our first all-video board meeting last week. Our team is adjusting by having lots of video meetings, sending dog photos over text messages, and catching up on computer-based work. In very good news, we just hired our new Development & Marketing Manager – Karyn Greenwood – and we’ll share more about her when she starts in April.
Overall, our short experience with isolation so far has made us more committed than ever to the basic principles and values of community organizing: we are stronger together; it all comes down to one-on-one human relationships; and change only happens when people get together and make demands. Please stay involved and keeping raising your voices to protect this special place and community – Jackson Hole, WY – and the much larger special place and community we all live in: our one home planet and our one human family.
If coronavirus teaches us one thing, let it be that as Muir and King said: if you pull on any one part of the universe, you’ll see it’s connected to everything else – and injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We hope the world comes out of this pandemic with a new priority for protecting our natural world and human communities against all the threats we face – whether extractive development, climate change, or isolation.
Couch Activism: Staying Connected During Isolation
With the current COVID-19 outbreak, much of our organizing work will take on a different shape. We are currently expecting many weeks or months of “social distancing.” The last couple weeks have brought major societal change every day or two, so we’ve put our organizing on hold. We expect we’ll all land in a new equilibrium of being at home and daily lives will stabilize soon. Once that happens, we’ll be reaching out to get people involved in our advocacy campaigns again – like Heli-No, speaking up for our Town Hill, and 2020 election campaigns like raising a 7th penny of sales tax for conservation, voter registration, and get out the vote.
Coincidentally, we have already been working to bolster our online and social media tools that support our outreach and campaign efforts. This will allow us to still be effective if social distancing remains the norm through peak campaign time this summer.
In the shorter term, we have put together an “Advocacy at a distance” guide to keep our campaigns strong and our supporters engaged. Here, you can find ways to support and take action from the safety of your home. We have also included resources from other nonprofits that are providing relief support from COVID-19. As your circumstances allow, staying engaged is a great way to remain connected to our vibrant community and, as always, your voice matters!