This week’s organizer spotlight features Carlene Bechen of the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition:

1) What have you learned from organizing “fails?”

Over the course of my varied career, I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. I don’t consider them “fails,” though, because each one has enlightened my next steps and influenced my path. Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is to communicate as fully and honestly as possible with the people I am working alongside, and to seek their input and ideas regarding the best path to follow. Withholding information creates power dynamics that impact trust and disempower those who don’t have the information.

2) What sustains you? Where do you get the energy to keep going with the work?

I feed on the energy and ideas of my comrades in this work. Organizers are some of the most caring and affirming people I have ever known. Organizing is all about listening and including, and empowering people to take actions that impact their lives and the lives of the people they care about. What could be more hopeful and energizing than that?!

3) What’s motivating you with this upcoming election?

The upcoming election will have an immediate and lasting impact on millions of lives. From taking on the structural barriers to racial and social justice to responding to the crises of COVID-19 and climate change, the stakes have never been higher. This is the most consequential election of my lifetime and I am committed to ensuring that everyone who wants to vote can vote—safely and with confidence that their vote will be counted.