This week’s organizer spotlight features Susan Butler-Graham, an organizer with Mothers Out Front (and participant in the 2021 virtual WiLD Academy):
1) What have you learned from “falling off the bike” as a leader?
I’ve learned to ask for help. Contrary to what I learned growing up, no one is expected to do this work alone. In fact, it’s impossible to do alone. Being an organizing leader means bringing the difficulties and decisions to the rest of the team, and solving the problems together. That’s both freeing and empowering. It’s not easy for me to ask for help, but it’s always better when I do!
Leading a poster-making party before the September 2019 Youth Climate Strike
2) What sustains you? Where do you get the energy to keep going?
Speaking at the CalSTRS Investment Committee Meeting in Sacramento for divestment from fossil fuels
I get burned out and overwhelmed sometimes. One thing that sustains me is taking breaks and doing other things that sustain me spiritually: take a walk, a hike, or a swim; draw or paint, create something. While I can put the work aside for a few hours, it is not going away. Working with my team and with allies, especially youth, sustains me and inspires me. There’s a synergy and a passion that comes when we work together to improve life on this planet.
3) How will you be bold in your organizing work moving forward?
Ooh, that question pushes me to do more! I will be bold by reaching out more. Reaching out to new and potential volunteers to help them find meaningful and sustainable work in our movement, so that they may invigorate and help lead our chapter, too. Reaching out to elected officials to educate and push them to make bold climate decisions.