Guest post from Andy Lewis, one of the leaders of our Los Angeles volunteer effort. Andy attended the Day of Action event in LA and was inspired by the variety of supporters he met and the stories they shared.
It’s hard to accurately capture the genuine grassroots enthusiasm I witnessed during Jerry Brown’s Day of Action events on Saturday at the California Democratic Party’s office in Los Angeles’s mid-city neighborhood. The dedication the volunteers exhibited throughout the day was a testament to the fervent desire to fix California with the power of Jerry Brown’s leadership.
There are several campaign offices around Los Angeles, but the mid-city office (where we spent our day) is run by a couple of recent college graduates—Rani Woods and Brandon Gassaway—that make you believe the future of California is very bright indeed.
Rani is seven feet of energy packed into a five-foot package. One minute she’s explaining to volunteers how to do a campaign call and the next she’s calming the jitters of an interns who agreed to answer a few of a reporter’s questions about the event on camera. Watching Rani speak so passionately about her belief in Jerry Brown as the only choice to fix California, I could tell I was looking at a future leader.
And then there’s her co-director Brandon—as utterly unflappable and confident as Joe Montana. I never saw him break a sweat, but I never saw him stop moving either. Brandon’s got a great story. He’s from New Orleans. In fact, he was a senior at the city’s best high school when Hurricane Katrina hit. His whole class scattered across the country (the only time they were all together again was for graduation) and he ended up in California. Five years later he has adopted California as his home state and he is clearly passionate about getting his new state working again for all Californians – he knows Jerry is the best candidate for the job.
The volunteers I met were amazing.
In the late morning Rebecca Marcos showed up with twenty Spanish-speaking volunteers. Her group came because they believe it’s crucial we follow Jerry’s approach to immigration reform and undocumented workers and not adopt Meg’s harsh ideas.
At the next table over Adam Swart, from UCLA’s College Democrats, sat next to Aaron Perman, the vice-president of USC’s College Democrats. They were surrounded by volunteers from both schools working hand-in-hand all day. If Jerry Brown can get UCLA and USC students working together, bringing the California legislature together will be a piece of cake!
At lunch I picked up pizzas with Shannon McCallum. On the drive over, he told me how he got his first job working in the Americorp program but he recently realized he needs a college degree to succeed, and next fall he plans to go back to school. In the meantime, he’s volunteering for Jerry Brown’s campaign to protect California’s colleges for people like him. He hopes to go into public service when he gets his college degree. He said volunteering for Jerry had really inspired him because it showed him that the campaign was really about the hard work and hopes of ordinary Californians who donated their time for Jerry.
We even had entertainment! Brian Samuel and his band Caribbean Breeze fired up the volunteers with a little mid-day music. Brian led the crowd in a sing-a-long of “Jerry Brown Will Save Us,” a song he wrote especially for the campaign.
I was so jazzed up by the enthusiasm of the volunteers that I couldn’t sleep for hours after I got home on Saturday.
There is something about Jerry Brown – his visionary policies, his lifelong service to the people, his relentless belief in the spirit of California – that motivates so many different kinds of people to dedicate their time to ensuring that he is the one representing their interests and defending what is best for the citizens of our state. I saw this Jerry Brown effect in full force on the Statewide Day of Action.
There’s been an upsurge of grassroots political activism among ordinary Americans of late. It started with the Obama campaign in 2008 and continues today in Jerry’s run for governor. It’s fashionable to say that money trumps all in politics, but Saturday’s Day of Action showed that’s not really true.
This year, the least expensive campaign in California’s history is going to beat the most expensive. The reason? This is the people’s campaign.
And the people want Jerry Brown.