Blue Wave: The Latest Chapter in a Political Action Journey {Guest Post}

My name is Leslie J Yerman, and I began my political career stuffing campaign literature in mailboxes when in high school. I never imagined that more than five decades later, the need for my political involvement would be more urgent than ever.

My background is in communications and administrative consulting, but photography is what heals me and keeps me sane. Starting in March of 2020, I walked the streets of downtown Tucson, AZ, where I live, making photos of how COVID and the demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd affected the community. The images have been culled down into two series, which appear in an online curatorial cooperative and have been donated to a university library.

black lives matter

Over the years, I have worked on Capitol Hill, for a Maryland state senator (now #2 Democrat in the House of Representatives), Washington, D.C. government, and more. I’ve attended too many demonstrations to count. I’ve volunteered and canvassed for presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. I also have a history of volunteering. I have run tutoring programs, provided pro bono consulting services, performed intake for people needing help after 9/11, and prepared applications for asylum seekers.

I’m more of a behind-the-scenes person. I hate phone banking, am not crazy about canvassing, and don’t love texting. In 2020, I was looking for a way to get back to my political roots when I discovered the local Democratic party was doing a postcard campaign. I signed up. I went through the postcards in no time and felt like I was doing something in a country where our politics were out of control; the worst I had seen since 1968. Then the project ended.

A Facebook contact posted about doing Blue Wave postcards. I signed up immediately. Since October 2020, I’ve done six campaigns: PA Votes, three for the Georgia Senate campaign, and two in support of S1 — the For the People Act — targeting Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema here in Arizona.

postcards to voters

The January 6th assault on the Capitol broke me. I spent many years interning and working in the building. It felt like a personal violation. The current political climate of anger and violence, coupled with the push toward insidious voter suppression on the state level, has made me realize that we are at a dangerous moment in our history.

Voting rights is the most important political issue of our time. Electing a president and vice president in 2020 will not make a difference if citizens are barred from selecting the candidates of their choice for Congress, state legislatures, and local governments. Will we be a nation ruled by the majority, or a small, parochial minority?

Blue Wave gives me a way to be part of the fight. I hope you’ll join me

-Leslie J Yerman, Arizona constituent 

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