Activist community ‘You Matter Nation’ hosted its first organizing meeting on Friday to mobilize anti-Trump New Yorkers for the 2018 midterm elections and encourage them to get involved running the state Democratic Party.
An estimated 600 people attended the meeting at Hudson Terrace in Midtown West, which was advertised on Facebook as a “workshop to collaborate, organize, and begin to prepare for the road ahead.”
Addressing the meeting, organizer Ben Yee, Secretary of the Manhattan Democrats and Committeeman for the state party, said: “We put this together the day after the election. Originally it was going to be a relatively small organizing meeting, but now it is a relatively large organizing meeting. It is thrilling to see so many people come out wanting to do something and be engaged.”
Yee implored attendees to run for election to the Democratic Party’s County Committees, the community-level governance body of the state party. There are approximately 2,000 seats on the committee in Manhattan alone, of which around half are vacant, he said. County Committees vet judge nominees and choose party candidates for Special Elections.
“For those of us out there thinking ‘let’s destroy the party system’, that will be hard. It’s much easier to go in there, and take them over. That sounds antagonistic, but for those of us who think that the Democrat and Republican parties are not really representing the views of real Americans there are serious opportunities,” he said.
Yee also emphasized the importance of engaging with Trump voters in the run-up to the midterms. Attendees also heard from a professional moderator on how to constructively interact with supporters of the President-Elect and from Al Benninghoff, former President of the Manhattan Young Democrats, on the presidential election results.
While the organizing meeting was arranged by local Democrats, Yee insisted You Matter Nation was a non-partisan group.
Not everyone was convinced. Attendee Alex Carpenter wrote on Facebook: “I came to hear more about direct action, and instead got a DNC recruitment ad.”
#YouMatterNation were quick to respond to such concerns:
Attendee Marisa Anne Day told The Upstander: “Gathering so many passionate capable people in one space at this critical moment is an impressive logistical feat with the potential to foster meaningful collaboratio
Readers can get involved with #YouMatterNation here.
Photo credit: theupstander.com