The Blue Wave Process Part Four: Postcard Kits and Local Distribution
Once Chiu-Ki and Sha-Mayn have worked their magic (see part three of this series), we are ready to roll with kitting and postcard distribution. Our tireless volunteers assemble the kits, and by that time, orders have steadily been coming in. Once the kits are ready to be collected from our central distribution point, materials are sent to our five locations in and around Boulder and Denver. Our team then organizes postcard kits for distribution to local postcard writers.
At these various pickup locations, we are assigning label blocks, adding stamps if needed, tagging packets with the names of people who ordered kits, and then, emailing “your order is ready” notifications to our customers. Depending on the campaign, there might be anywhere from 30 - 100+ orders to process as quickly as possible at each of our five locations.
The tagged/labeled postcard kits are then placed in accessible boxes outside the front door of the distribution point, ready for contactless pick-up. Here are our various pickup locations throughout the Boulder and Denver areas:
Faith Gowan, North Boulder Location
I’m Faith, and as one of Blue Wave’s original organizers, I found myself initially coordinating all postcards, supplies, and shipping, which made my home in North Boulder the default pick-up location. In spring/early summer of 2020, I’d often see people arriving to pick up their cards while I was working in my ground floor studio. Quickly masking up, I would step outside to chat. This provided the rare opportunity for safe connections during lock down. My circle of friends and connections was growing instead of shrinking during the pandemic! I became friends with many neighbors who I hadn't known before.
As Blue Wave grew exponentially throughout late summer, it became clear that I couldn't handle all of the shipping by myself, but we couldn't have people working in my house because of pandemic restrictions. Our solution? An awning/tent in our front yard, where people could work outside, socially distanced, masked and in shifts, sorting addresses, making kits, and shipping orders. Wei, a core team member at the time, coordinated these volunteers. Our picnic table became her "office" for a few months. In the throes of our campaigns, USPS tote bags full of packages blanketed our front yard - enough to fill cars with orders bound for the post office.
It was a surprisingly festive atmosphere during a COVID-restricted time, and so gratifying to see the legions of people who understood the importance of what we were doing, then stepping up to help out.
Faith, working inside
Lisa M.Gillespie, South Boulder Location
Hi. I’m Lisa and I coordinate Blue Wave’s South Boulder pick-up site. I relieved our founder Ning from this job in summer 2020. As Blue Wave steadily grew (and is still growing), she became buried under far more urgent demands, such as developing time-sensitive campaigns with our grassroots partners across the nation. Coordinating a distribution point felt like a good way to get involved with larger efforts of government reform, better serving our people and our planet.
As a “people-person” during a time of limited socializing, being a pick-up location suits me. I enjoy through-the-door banter with customers, and appreciate how passionate our activists are about reclaiming democracy. People were genuinely grateful for the chance to help in some tangible way. Many appreciated having a focus during an especially crazy 2020, with a monstrously inept administration at the helm. Several of our writers admitted that participating in something bigger helped their mental health during this stressful time.
There’s a point where sitting on the sidelines and whining on social media feels...ugh. We all genuinely feel better taking concrete action, doing our part. I love being part of a strong team and helping activists make a difference, whether by facilitating local kit distribution or simply freeing up other team members (like Ning) to develop campaigns designed to course-correct our government.
Sani Golriz Field, Cherry Creek Location
I'm Sani and I handle the Cherry Creek pick-up site. I offered my home as a local distribution point to provide Blue Wave with a convenient location for our South Denver writers. Nancy, our Highlands coordinator, was one of my first points of contact with BWPM. Her kindness and enthusiasm spurred me to do more.
The most fulfilling aspect of being a pickup coordinator is that my son and daughter get to experience this small form of activism, doing whatever we can to leave a legacy they can be proud of. My daughter, Reese (4.5 years old), helps me pull the kits together and log all necessary information into our database. She can't read yet, but she's smart as a whip and has the memory of an elephant so she's got the process figured out. My son, Chase (3 years old), is in charge of putting the kits outside for our patrons to pick up.
These kids have been in the thick of postcards since the general election. I started off as a Blue Wave postcard group organizer - I would purchase boxes of cards that they helped me count and rubber band together. Reese would sign her name on our cards, then she and Chase would walk to the mailbox to send them off to voters. Over 20,000 postcards came through our home before I became an official pickup location.
My decision to take it a step further and offer to be a distribution point was a no-brainer. I wanted to make it easier for other people to be able to participate locally in the campaigns we run.
Adrianne and Wei, assembling and packing
Adrianne Middleton, Louisville Location
Volunteering with this group is like eating potato chips - you can't resist doing a little more, and a little more, and a little more. We have a fabulous group of volunteers, and I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone.
I’ve also had fun personalizing my pickup box in Louisville so that people could drop off reusable supplies and grab pens that they might need. I loved the response - people happily returned bags and rubber bands to reuse for future campaigns. Because caring for our planet is also important to me, any way that I can facilitate reuse and recycling supplies feels right.
I got into Blue Wave because I felt an urgent need to do something tangible to fix our democracy. I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people who have thanked me for enabling them to help - the genuine commitment and passion of our postcard writers have given me so much to be grateful for. I love witnessing how much people care about our country.
Nancy Wood, Highlands Location
I’m Nancy and I coordinate postcard kit distribution in the Highlands/Sunnyside neighborhood in Northwest Denver. I read about the Blue Wave Postcards group in the summer of 2020 and was impressed with this grassroots progressive movement started by local Boulder women. My past political activities involved in-person contact that were cancelled due to COVID. Writing postcards seemed like a great way to help our democracy and stay involved with the political process. I organized area friends and other interested activists to create our Northside Dems postcard writing group. We sent thousands of postcards with state-specific Vote by Mail and Get Out the Vote information, encouraging voter participation.
In the early fall I offered to be Blue Wave’s Denver distribution contact. This has been a wonderful experience: meeting new people, especially younger activists, who want to restore justice and democracy to our country. While the election of President Joe Biden and regaining control of the Senate is heartening, the broken norms of the last four years showed how vulnerable our democracy can be if we don’t stay engaged.
I enjoy being a distribution partner for the Blue Wave Postcard Movement - a group that continues to inform members of critical issues in our country, builds community, and offers ways to participate in our government.
To join the movement, please sign up for campaign updates here.
-Lisa Gillespie, Graphics Designer + SoBo Coordinator [bio]