As election fever intensifies, I've found myself saying, over and over, to slightly baffled listeners, "No, I haven't really been watching the debates"; "No, I didn't see that big speech"; "Um, no, I'm honestly not sure of the distinctions between Clinton's and Obama's policy proposals on health care [or the Iraq war and other military/imperial projects, or jobs, or ... ]."
"But aren't you, like, really political?" folks say back.
"Oh yeah, I sure am. And I'll vote on Tuesday. But that's not where my hope for change lies. And that's not where I'm putting most of my political energy."
I'll spend some time reading up on the local and state initiatives on tomorrow's ballot, and I'll speed-read through the candidate's platforms one more time, and I'll spend a piece of my day voting tomorrow. But I don't see deep change coming from that direction. For that, my hope lies in the grassroots, in community-based organizations working toward profound social change.
For Bilerico readers, I offer this tiny, non-comprehensive list of some grassroots queer groups I'm lately inspired by:
FIERCE! : Fabulous Independent Radicals for Community Empowerment -- queer youth fighting gentrification in NYC's West Village, organizing support for the New Jersey 4, doing political education, and more.
Q Team -- queer and trans youth of color collective in Los Angeles
Transforming Justice -- first-ever national gathering of LGBTIQQ former prisoners and allies working to end the criminalization and imprisonment of trans people, organized by a huge coalition including the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Critical Resistance, Justice Now, the TGI Justice Project, and many others.
What political projects are giving you hope right now?
(With nods to Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark, which is currently lying open, half read, in the book pile next to my bed.)