-By Rosie Klein
On November 6, 2018, I sat with a group of about twenty anxious women, all members of SIWWM, huddled together at Errigo’s Restaurant on the Island’s North Shore with our eyes fixed on the TV news crawl.
At 9:34pm, with 76 percent of precincts reporting in New York’s 11th congressional district, the race between GOP incumbent Dan Donovan and first-time challenger Democrat Max Rose was too close to call. We collectively held our breath, too apprehensive to believe that Staten Island, long considered a conservative stronghold, could be flipping blue this year.
Organizing is a ton of work
I joined SIWWM in August 2017, having discovered the group on social media while searching for like-minded folks on Staten Island. Feeling powerless and frustrated after the 2016 elections, I was looking to channel my energy into positive action. The group’s mission of amplifying the voices of those most underserved and underrepresented in the community resonated with me immediately.
During primary season, we held a “speed dating” candidates forum where voters were able to make the rounds table by table with each of the democratic candidates in the race, asking targeted questions about issues important to voters in the district. After Max Rose won his primary, our focus switched entirely to voter engagement and turnout, with the sole focus of flipping the district from red to blue.