phone bank last night, as he does every Tuesday. Bob is a
professional violin player and an avid gardener. His house is
gorgeous. We chatted as he set up food for the volunteers – he’s
played for Broadway and doubles as a mandolin player on the side.
The first volunteer to arrive was David, another Brewster native,
his arms full of signs from another campaign that Bob had
organized, working to re-open a historic Brewster theater. The
campaign had failed, but it was clear that Bob and David had a long
history of activism in Brewster and New York State. Rounding out
our phone bank were Lucy and Marty (see pictures). Their son is
also an activist, speaking throughout the region on LGBT
phone banking software. We had a few hiccups setting up the
computers, but once the calls started, the three of them settled
into an easy rhythm. Once an advocate, always an advocate.
This morning was a different story. David (the organizer, not the
Brewster native) and I were at the Croton-on-Hudson train station
at 6:30am to greet the morning commuters. Hurrying for their
trains, most people rushed by, not stopping to hear my pitch. But
when they did hear the words “marriage equality,” they would slow
down, turn around, faces expectant. A few commuters even missed
their trains while making calls to Senator Ball on my cell phone.
In order to engage new activist, you need to make it easy and
risk-free. New Yorkers do want marriage equality, but a stranger
in a train station is a little scary! As soon as they understood
what we were asking, they were happy to help and thankful for the
Working in New York this week has been a mixture of the old and the
new. Old arguments and new politicians (Senator Ball and
Assemblyman Castelli are both new this term). Long-time
activists and first-time postcard writers. Old skills and new
technology. Old prejudices and new hope.