“”Our campaigns have not grown more humanistic because candidates are more benevolent or their policy concerns more salient. In fact, over the last decade, public confidence in institutions- big business, the church, the media, government- has declined dramatically. The political conversation has privileged the nasty and trivial. Yet during that period, election seasons have awakened a new culture of volunteer activity. This cannot be credited to a politics inspiring people to hand over their time but rather to campaigns, newly alert to the irreplaceable value of a human touch, seeking it out. Finally campaigns are learning to quantify the ineffable- the value of a neighbor’s knock, of a stranger’s call, the delicate condition of being undecided- and isolate the moment where a behavior can be changed, or a heart won. Campaigns have started treating voters like people again.”- Sasha Issenberg, Victory Lab
The last ten months have been quite the journey in supporting my friend Stevon Cook’s campaign for San Francisco Board of Education for the November election. From attending an intimate house party back in January in his apartment where he formally announced to 30 of his closest friends he was launching the campaign, to these last few weeks of early morning and late night voter outreach and canvassing, this has been an intense, memorable, and impactful community-building experience. My role in the core campaign team has primarily consisted of field organizing and voter outreach, which includes targeting key areas of the city to generate support for his candidacy. The last few weeks have been packed with precinct-walking, campaign literature distribution, and speaking to voters all over the city leading up to November 4th .
San Franciscans often say ours is a “small city”- it certainly doesn’t feel that way while canvassing block by block, precinct by precinct to generate support for our candidate in a city-wide election. While precinct sizes vary, I’d estimate that the average precinct is comprised of about 200-300 homes. If working in pairs, two people can complete an average-sized precinct in about three or four hours. Over the last few months, our team has collectively walked dozens of precincts, distributed tens of thousands of pieces of campaign materials, secured pivotal endorsements from elected officials and political clubs, and expanded our reach to increase visibility and support leading up to tonight.
One of the lasting lessons I’ve learned throughout this experience is that every prospective voter we speak with matters, from those first 1000 registered voters who lent support to get Stevon qualified to appear on the November ballot before the June deadline, to those that will vote for him throughout this evening. While the year has been a blur of campaign madness, before my involvement in this race, I had not reflected on the full journey for a campaign team to simply have their candidate listed on the ballot and all the work this process entails leading to election day. In hindsight, more than anything, I’ve learned to appreciate that process as I have had the privilege to experience the full cycle of this race from campaign inception date to election day. As a native San Franciscan, graduate of SFUSD K-12 schools, and having the privilege to call Stevon a colleague and friend over the last five years, I can think of no better candidate for the San Francisco Board of Education, and I’m thankful to have been part of this journey leading up to today’s election.
Coordinator of Community Partnerships