IN COMMUNITY WE TRUST
educate advocate organize
The most powerful words in any language, anywhere on earth, are “How can I help?” Even more than “Yes we can!”, the offer to help has power to weave people together. Especially in hard times, this deceptively simple question, a reflexive expression of empathy, is the very essence of community building.
So this is the question ComFest organizers try to answer every year.
As honorees are nominated, grant applications considered, street fair vendors juried, slogans selected for volunteer T-shirts — at every step, the question is, does this choice help sustain the community envisioned in ComFest’s Statement of Principles?
One thing ComFest can do is provide an ever more popular platform for advocates of peace and social justice, along with constant appeals to get involved by volunteering at the “lend a hand” level.
ComFest prioritizes voter registration, education and mobilization. Voting is the bedrock of participatory democracy, so nurturing smarter, more committed voters is a way of helping advance all progressive causes.
Just this month, a new study by Pew Research found that a majority (62%) of young people completely agree that “It’s my duty to always vote,” a 14 – point increase from 2007. That’s great news, as is the upswing in general volunteerism and charitable giving over the past year and a half. Voting, volunteering and sharing the burden are the first steps in moving beyond self into community-building.
“Gen Next” sees better times ahead. But reaching that better world will require more than just getting out the vote every few years. It will mean taking on a commitment to another level of activism. So ComFest put that message everywhere you look this year.
In past years, ComFest beer mugs carried slogansabout specific reforms. This year, ComFest organizers couldn’t choose just one campaign. In the aftermath of the long epidemic of greed and apocalypse fever that ravaged the economy, shredding the Constitution and the safety net, the list of top-priority causes is overwhelming. So many public institutions desperately need rescue, so many lives need healing.
Re-regulation of financial markets. Meaningful access to to health care for all. Defense of workers rights. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, prosecuting crimes against the Constitution and crimes against humanity — those pivotal campaigns all need urgent attention, all at the same time. It is impossible to pick just one.
That’s why the back of all 1,500 ComFest volunteer T-shirts, and every single ComFest beer mug, carries a simple theme:
educate advocate organize
The message is clear: Go raise some hell in the halls of government. Please.
Pick an issue that you can’t stop obsessing about anyway. Find out what organizations are trying to level the political playing field, join one and ask: How can I help?
Ask pointed questions, demand accountability, propose constructive reforms, support real leadership. If you can’t manage to get a fair hearing, sometimes a well-placed cream pie helps.
Whatever you do — stuffing envelopes, walking door-to-door, raising funds, holding vigils — it all helps. With every phone call, every meeting, every letter to the editor, you’re sowing the seeds of change. You’re planning ahead for the next harvest of ever more justice, peace and harmony and diversity. You’re living every day the ComFest way.
And “that’s” what we’re celebrating. Happy ComFest!
2009 ComFest Program Guide