Maine Family Planning would like to welcome guest blogger (and co worker) Cait:
I’m Cait, and I’m lucky enough to be Maine Family Planning’s new community organizer. I’ve been organizing with the statewide Health Care is a Human Right campaign for the past four years, and I’m very excited to bring my passion for human rights, reproductive justice, and a deep love of Maine people to my role at MFP.
One thing I get asked a lot is: What does a community organizer do? A lot of things! Here are a few that are very important:
- Build people power. The overarching goal of community organizing is to put ordinary people in touch with their own power by learning about our rights, joining with others to analyze problems we face, and working collectively to advance solutions. Some solutions are policy-oriented, and to that end, I will build bridges between Maine people and what’s developing in Augusta and Washington, DC. My hope is to make sure that you know who represents you at the state house and in congress, and how to communicate with elected officials about the reproductive rights and justice issues that matter to you.
Other problems we face around reproductive rights and justice are less concrete and more cultural—such as abortion stigma, ageist ideas on young people’s sexual and reproductive lives, or stigmatizing responses to addiction. In approaching these deeply embedded attitudes, we can build power through public education efforts and campaigns that tackle stigma; creating welcoming forums where communities share stories and build relationships; and other diverse, localized initiatives that bring people out of isolation and into contact with new information and ideas.
- Listen. One of the most important things I’ll do in this role is ask questions & listen to the stories of clinic patients and providers, students, young people, parents, grandparents, and anybody willing to share with me. Organizing’s power stems from an unshakable belief that our lived experiences provide the best raw material for policy and social changes that truly meet our needs and dignify us. Your insights about your community or school, and experiences accessing reproductive care, will guide the work we do together.
- Share. My hope is to foster a grassroots network of volunteers across Maine who want to get trained up to lead and grow local efforts to advance reproductive health, rights & justice in their towns. This means hanging out with me a fair amount at first, so I can share all the stuff I know about organizing, community work, and all the important things MFP does. Developing leadership in others is the best thing I can do; basically, a good organizer makes more organizers!
- Turn strangers into neighbors. I love Maine and its people with all my heart, and I know how much the majority of us care about our neighbors. We’re the kind of folks who are a funny mix of proud and humble, and we show up for each other, even if we do it quietly. As an organizer, I go out into the world with a goal to help folks expand our sense of who counts as a neighbor. I want to engage new people every day in honest conversations and creative actions until we truly embrace the notion that every person in this state is our neighbor. We need to look out for each other and defend everyone’s right to lead lives of health, autonomy, and dignity.
I’m so grateful to be on board with all the dedicated clinic workers and practitioners, administrators, advocates, and educators at Maine Family Planning. I can’t wait to see what we’re able to accomplish when y’all out there join us! Contact me at cvaughan @ mainefamilypanning.org or 207-480-3518 to get started.
Election day is finally here—and we’re asking you to (please!) get out there and vote today!
We voted! Look at all this gorgeous democracy.
Find out where your polling place is HERE. All polling places in Maine are open NOW, and will stay open until 8:00 tonight. If you’re in line to vote at 8:00, you will be able to vote.If you’re at least 18 and a U.S. citizen, YOU CAN VOTE TODAY! Thousands of people across the country are being denied the right to vote today because of unfair laws meant to suppress their voices. Millions more around the world don’t even have the right to vote. You do. We are lucky to live in a state that has great voting laws that support everyone’s right to vote. Use that right, and make your voice heard.
Here are some things to take with you, just to be safe: Continue reading
Are you registered to vote? Or maybe you’ve registered in the past, but not in the town where you currently live? Not to worry. Maine has great laws to make voter registration easy and make sure you can vote. Here’s what you need to know:
Any U.S. citizen who is at least 18 and lives in Maine can register to vote. You can register at your town office, through any Motor Vehicle branch office, in most state and federal social service agencies, any time before Election Day, or you can register on Election Day at your polling place.
What do I need to register to vote? Continue reading
After months of campaign ads and endless polls, Election day is almost here. It’s time to get down to it: It’s time to vote.
To put it simply: Women need to vote. YOU need to vote. When women vote, change happens. 53% of voters in the 2012 election were women. Think of that power! We aren’t a voting bloc, we’re the majority. More specifically, single women are the most important voting group in this election – we make up 25% of eligible voters, and we consistently vote in support of reproductive rights. Want to know how powerful we are? Conservatives are so worried about our political power, Fox News is suggesting that single women skip voting and “go back to Tinder and Match.com.”
That’s why YOU need to vote. And to encourage your friends and family to vote. If we all show up and vote next week, we will decide this election. Continue reading
So, you’re ready, you’re fired up, you’re going to cast your vote for the candidates who will bring your values to the halls of government!
But first you have to learn enough about the candidates to know which ones you want to vote for.
Maine’s newspaper web sites are a great place to start. They all have comprehensive on-line voter guides, with information about all of the races and ballot measures. Enter your address and see all of the candidates and questions that will appear on your ballot. Click on a candidate’s name and the candidate’s answers to the paper’s candidate survey. There’s a lot of information out there, so much it can be overwhelming. You’ve probably OD’d on campaign commercials and social media messages about the races for Governor, U.S. Senate and Congress. But do you really know where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you? How do you find out about the important legislative candidates who will appear on your ballot? It’s time for a little research. Continue reading
This is it, folks, one week before Election Day, when Maine voters will elect a governor, a U.S. Senator, 2 members of Congress, 35 State Senators and 151 State legislators, not to mention votes on local officials, bond issues and the ballot question on bear baiting. Are you ready? Ready to see your favorite candidate’s victory celebration? Ready to see the end of campaign ads and automated phone calls? We are, too. This is a big one, people. We have to make sure our voices are heard and we contribute to electing a government that will respect us.
Maine Family Planning wants to make sure you know everything you need to know to cast your vote. No excuses. Get out there. That’s why every day between now and election day, we’ll be posting information about voting in Maine. How to find your polling place; what to do if you’re temporarily living away from home (like on campus); how to find out what’s going to be on your ballot, and how to figure out which candidates YOU want to vote for.
And today, HOW TO VOTE EARLY:
Not going to be around next Tuesday? Don’t want to wait in line? Just want to cross voting off your list? You can vote NOW, TODAY, by requesting an absentee ballot. Continue reading