What inspires me now: Neighbors taking action

May 9, 2017 · by Michele Berry · Filed Under Choices, Featured · Leave a Comment

I am inspired by Tim and Alison Benford, who cancelled their retirement plans and poured their time and passion into organizing their community in Dayton, Ohio. They launched a block and street captain structure and personally recruited hundreds of people – including me! – to take responsibility for talking to our neighbors about what is happening in this country and what we can do about it.

I’m also inspired that the Benfords were themselves recruited by Wenbi, a mother of three small children and small-business owner who somehow added social justice warrior to the many hats she wears. On the Saturday after the election, when many of us were still hiding under our covers, Wenbi was hosting a brainstorming session on how to turn Ohio blue again. Each day since then she has encouraged others – nearly 1,000 people now – to join the crusade.

Walking up to the Benfords’ door on a recent afternoon to pick up yard signs, I was reminded of a Spring day years ago in Albany, New York. It is sunny and just warm enough to not wear a coat. I’m holding a clip board that is wider than my six-year-old body, and a bag of buttons that I helped make with my Dad’s name on them. He’s running for town council and it’s a big deal that I’m old enough to help while my younger brother is not. I’m wearing bell bottom corduroys and a plaid shirt with pearlescent snaps, and I’m proudly introducing my Dad and listening to my neighbors talk about the issues.

My Dad inspired me back then because he cared about the community and wanted to make a difference. Wenbi, Alison, and Tim inspire me now because they are building a sustainable network of neighbors ready to take action for the kind of world we want to live in.  In honor of my Dad and in league with my neighbors, yesterday I went door to door to talk about healthcare, and I will keep showing up where and when I’m needed until we win.

What inspires you?  We are 100+ days into the Trump presidency and it’s clear we are in for a long fight. Taking the time to be inspired by the courage and persistence of others is key to our resilience.  That’s why we’re dedicating space to “What inspires me now” in the Alvarez Porter Group newsletter Choices and on our website. Feel free to share your everyday heroes in the comments below and let’s keep on looking for more on inspiration from us in the months to come. — Michele

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