So here’s what happened. Like so many people, I was all jazzed up off the energy of the #WomensMarch last week, thrilled with my wife and many other friends who were in DC, other friends around the world standing up, and just being here in Iowa City with around 2,000 people, all of us being a part of what is undoubtedly the largest protest in human history. The next day I was looking for how to act up next. Knowing that writing to congress, especially to my own rep’s and sen’s, can be effective, I decided to get a couple friends together over a couple of pints at Iowa City Brewlab and write some postcards.
Now as you probably know I am a serial overposter on Facebook, so I created an event page there and shared it to a couple of activist sites last Sunday (Jan 22). Within a day or two over 100 people said they were coming. By Friday, the day of the event, 170 had clicked “going” and over 700 had clicked “interested.”
About 350 showed up.
This was far more than I expected, obviously, but perhaps I really should have expected that many. The Women’s March itself had been born of a simple Facebook post by a grandmother in Hawaii, and the energy in the air following the march was palpable. In any case, we generated well over 1,000 postcards to elected officials in DC and Des Moines, and got to meet each other, commiserate, protest and plan. A Facebook “group” called Postcards and Pale Ale was born which, as I type, sports a little over 450 members and growing. What follows is some lessons learned, some best practices, (a few of which may only apply to very large gatherings like this one) and some plans for moving forward.