For the past two-plus years, many of us have become furnaces of steadily burning, justified rage. The stockpile of fuel stoking that rage – the corrupt people and policies of the current administration – shows no sign of diminishing. With all that heat, fire and smoke around, something’s bound to burn out. WHARR decided we don’t want that to be us. We haven’t fought this hard and this long to retreat.

With the 2020 election approximately 550 days away – eighteen months – gathering more warriors to band together, plan, support each other, and prevent burnout seemed essential. During our co-chair planning retreat in December 2018, we committed to creating a Fanning the Flames weekend to bring groups and elected officials together. Once Dr. Melissa Bird agreed to be a keynote speaker and run a workshop, we reached out to sister and partner activist groups who quickly agreed to either co-sponsor or table at the networking event.

Downtown Women for Change

Downtown Women for Change, the amazing pro-choice activists who joined with WHARR outside of Governor Cuomo’s office every Wednesday in 2017 for our #PassTheRHA “Lunch at Cuomo’s” events; Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, a long-standing, progressive, social justice activist organization; and IND Brooklyn, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, focused on electing Democratic candidates responsive to the needs of the community in the 52nd Assembly District, all joined us as co-sponsors of the event, helping to share both the organizational lift and the costs, and we are grateful to all of them.

State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon

Several of our city and state elected representatives joined us to share their concerns for what we face in 2020, and fire us up to keep going and growing. We heard from City Councilmembers Brad Lander and Helen Rosenthal, and State Assemblymembers Bobby Carroll and Jo Anne Simon.

City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal

Here’s just a little bit of what we heard back from people who participated:

“It was so much fun! A cross-pollination of ideas and activists. Very heartening to see so many passionate folks working toward a better future.” – Lucy Walters, Women to the Front

“Thanks to WHARR and other local activist groups, IND was privileged to engage in an inspired event produced by passionate feminist activists who have successfully fought for and will continue to fight for equal participation, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all.” – Jason Shelly, IND

“WHARR has been rocking it, and it so great to see amazing women and groups come together to set the stage for 2020.” – Kim Berney-Brooke, runNYC

So many dedicated activists groups came together to table, share information, and network that it would be a disservice to our collaborative organizing if we didn’t mention each by name and provide readers with links. (See below.)

Networking with Racial Justice BK

Afterwards, we stretched our Happy Hour at the Armory bar on Fourth Avenue well beyond an hour, enjoying more conversation, planning, drinks, and food in the back garden. Both Jo Anne Simon and Helen Rosenthal joined us there.

Let’s keep this fire going, activists. Reach out to the people you met. Attend each other’s events, go to protests and rallies together, make lobbying visits to your electeds together, speak out and show up for each other. Register voters, and VOTE! In solidarity, and with justice for all.