Newsletter: April 2019

Welcome to our Bring It Home Florida Newsletter!

This is no time to be on the sidelines. We may be in between election cycles, but this is the season where grassroots once planted can take hold. If we want to return our democracy to the people, we haven’t a moment to waste.

I’m new to grassroots organizing. As a long-time journalist, taking a stand wasn’t my job. Then I got breast cancer, not once but three times. I found out first-hand what it’s like to have a mountain of medical bills, even with insurance. I met people choosing between life-saving medicines and putting food on the table for their families. It changed me and I knew I needed to use my voice in a new way.

Maybe, like me, your passion is healthcare. Maybe it’s education or gun violence or climate change. Maybe you just can’t stand the thought of your kids growing up in a world where empathy seems absent. Your voice is needed too.

Our mission at Bring it Home Florida is to use what fuels each of us to engage more of us.

We’re glad you’re here. We have big goals and with your help we’ll reach them.

Donna Deegan

Editor

Register, Engage, Win!

The call to action came on March 20th. Hundreds gathered in Miami Gardens to hear what former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was planning.

“We were in the trenches for him. We fought for him and we’ll follow whatever he does next,” said long-time supporter Alice McCullough.

Few candidates have captured the imagination of the electorate like Gillum.

Florida’s first black Democratic nominee for governor took the state by storm during the primary drawing huge crowds and energizing the progressive movement not only in Florida but around the nation.  In the General, more than 8 million voted, historic numbers for a midterm election. Gillum lost by a fraction of a percent. He knew immediately Democrats had to do more than turn out their voters, they had to have more of them. That night in Miami, he threw out a challenge. An audacious goal that, if reached, would be game changing.

“We are going to commit ourselves to registering and engaging one million new voters between now and next year’s 2020 general election.” Gillum announced to cheers from the crowd.

Gillum committed his PAC, Forward Florida to the task and several partners have joined forces. They include New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Dream Defenders, United Teachers of Dade, and, of course, Bring It Home Florida. If you’d like to learn how to register voters, or you have a group that would like to join in, you can learn more here.

The Longest Table

Registering a million voters could alter the landscape of Florida politics, but it’s only part of the path forward. Engaging those voters and hearing their voices is critical.

Taking a page from one of Mayor Gillum’s initiatives in Tallahassee, Bring it Home Florida is organizing a series of group discussions called The Longest Table. This initiative is about engaging your peers, neighbors and new friends to strengthen relationships and have meaningful conversation. Find an event near you and if there isn’t one, consider starting one in your community.

Volunteer Leader Spotlight

In each month’s newsletter we’re going to introduce you to a member of our Bring It Home Florida family. This month takes us to deep red St. Johns County where Robbin Bray has helped make incredible inroads for progressives. Robbin will be hosting The Longest Table event in that community.

Name:  Robbin Bray

County: St. Johns

What brought you to grassroots organizing?

I became interested in grassroots organizing when I realized just voting in the main elections were not enough.  There were many decisions being made at the local, state and national levels that I did not think were appropriate.  But, because I was sitting on the sidelines thinking other people would take care of everything, I was too complacent.  The 2016 elections jolted me into the realization that I had to be a part of the process or I could not complain about the outcomes.  

What do you do when you aren’t working on this?

When I am not working on politics, I am very active in my children’s school and their activities.  I chair or co-chair fundraisers for various nonprofits.  I also serve on the Board of a few organizations that are not politically leaning.  I am active in my church and in my neighborhood.  Professionally I am a Nurse Educator and currently teach in a small school of nursing.  

Who or what inspires you to keep going?

My children inspire me to work towards creating a fairer and more equitable society.  My husband, although he is not politically inclined, has a strong sense of community service and always wants to help others.  Since they are very young and he works way too much, I see myself as an extension of what they would be doing if they could.

Tell us one thing people don’t know about you and one thing everyone knows about you?

I’m such an open book so this is a hard question. One thing people don’t know about me is that my favorite type of music is classical and I would rather attend a symphony than any other concert. One thing everyone knows about me is that I have a wild sense of humor and I am adventurous enough to try almost anything…once.

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