For 2018, we’re thinking about New Year’s Resolutions as Resolves. We see a “blue wave” coming and we’ll be doing our part to support those efforts. Beyond those concrete and immediate goals, we want to share our hopes and plans for the coming year.

What we’ve realized is that most of our battles are interconnected. From Healthcare (August), Education (September), Elections and Voting Rights (October), to Housing Affordability and Homelessness (January), the subjects we’ve created Toolkits for will form the basis of our work in 2018. We believe in the best parts of Intersectionality (February); that no matter how different we are, there is a nexus where our interests come together and we can progress by being STRONGER TOGETHER than we ever could alone.

Supporting Our Friends

We will clasp hands with many others in this work. The NC NAACP, for example, has laid out a 14-point intersectional plan of action for 2018 and we will be actively supporting that agenda. The Moral Monday Movement has shown us how healthcare, education, legal and social justice, living wages, freedom and fair representation are common causes, no matter how differently each may affect us as women, minorities, religious members, LGBTQ, or any other group.

Applying Lessons Learned

The first anniversary of the Women’s March is right around the corner. An outpouring of over four million marchers cannot be underestimated as the catalyst for the majority of the change we saw in 2017. But we must also acknowledge the lessons learned and areas for improvement. The pro-choice and pro-life camps let an important disagreement stand in the way of all they have in common – a desire for women’s healthcare, CHIP, early childhood education, support of women-owned business, and so on. Some differences will not be reconciled, but we can work together on other issues. Just as first wave feminism failed to include women of color, and the early civil rights movements failed to include even a single female speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, we made progress but were limited by our lack of inclusion. In 2018 we will say, “if we disagree on 9 out of 10 things, I will still work with you on that one.”

The Year Ahead

We’re excited for 2018 to see all our learning and organization over the last year come together and start to affect palpable change. Resistance was a critical first step, but now we have to build a compelling alternative future for us all. We’ve taken a layered approach over the last six months and you’ll start to see the outputs of those efforts in the following ways:

  • Layer 1: Daily and Weekly Posts on information we all care about. These are generally time sensitive Calls to Action, Events, Needs and so on.
  • Layer 2: Monthly Toolkits and This Is What Democracy Looks Like series will continue (click to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel). This is where we say what’s important to us, what our values are, and where we will focus. This is where we act instead of react. Every month we’ll explore a wide-reaching topic, with a variety of expert guests and resources to gather the most inclusive information and perspectives we can.
  • Layer 3: Activism Bingo cards debut in January! You can use the cards as a way to track progress against your own goals and to celebrate each other’s achievements. Download, print, add your own and post a picture of it when you get bingo!
  • Layer 4: 2018 Voters Guide. We will connect all the values and issues from the Toolkits into a 2018 Voter’s Guide. There’ll be space to rank your candidates according to your values. We think the idea of a single platform is a fallacy; what we want is space for a continuum of opinions and positions as varied as we are. In February, a full six months before 2018 elections, we’ll circulate an early first draft of that guide with a call for inputs and criticisms to demonstrate our commitment to inclusion, transparency and building community together. We’ll lay the groundwork well in advance together.
  • Layer 5: Sash Program pilot – you may not be able to carry signs into the NCGA but you can WEAR them! We’re partnering with NC growers and businesses to develop this line of sashes and then expand to include work aprons (think Home Depot), bandanas and vests. It’s silly, and utilitarian, but also profound. Certain legislators often dismiss small groups, but if we have one thing that visibly unites us all (while allowing for variation and dissent) we can show the interconnectedness of people and issues, while actively supporting each other.

Final Thoughts

Jeff Jackson recently wrote a great article about how many women-run grassroots groups he met with this year (he met with us in May on gerrymandering) and remarked about how much work these women-run groups were getting done, without the benefit or hindrance of organizational structure. We agree – we all just jumped in and we do whatever needs to be done. In fact, it was only our filing for nonprofit status that forced us to adopt a formal structure…which is a roundabout way of announcing StrongerNC will soon be a 501(c)(4) non-profit!

We laid the groundwork in 2017 so we’re organized. We’re connected. We have vast networks and know how these things work. That puts us in a very strong position for next year. We’re looking to grow our membership, leadership and advocacy. We hope you’ll join us. If you cannot come to us, tell us how we can come to you and support your work.

From all of us, thanks for being here and Happy New Year!

The StrongerNC Leadership team

(Amy, Cristel, Jen, Joyce, Julie, Shelby & Tricia)