Sara Wolk is a PCP an SCC Delegate, and the Executive Director of the Equal Vote Coalition.
Why and how did you become involved in the Multnomah County Democrats?
I have never been a particularly partisan person, but since I was a teenager I’ve done a ton of activism around environmentalism, sustainability, natural building, and sustainable agriculture. I love direct action, but the fact is that there are major barriers in politics keeping us from being effective in that work, keeping us divided, and keeping power consolidated in the hands of far too few. That’s why I get involved with voting reform. I showed up to my first MultCo Dems meeting to present on STAR Voting, and I left inspired that this was a space where I could make a difference.
I remember walking in the door around 1/2 way though an impassioned speech from former Vice Chair Rachelle Dixon which ran the gamut from food justice, unprocessed rape kits, racial justice and much more. It was personal, it was fiery, and it was powerful. It was on the heels over the controversy surrounding bakeries refusing to make wedding cakes for LGBTQ couples, and she closed her speech with the line “It’s not about the cake!”
Right there I said to myself, “These are the kinds of activists I want to work with!”
Rachelle, Rosa, Ami, and a number of others who spoke that night made a point of introducing themselves after my presentation, invited me to some upcoming events and told me about becoming a PCP. As a newcomer to local politics getting to work with veteran political activists like them was not an opportunity to pass up and I’m proud to be a part of this team.
Why do you think it’s important for Democrats to become involved at the local level??
Democracy is about empowering the people and democratic process begins at the bottom. Our power comes from our grassroots and our community. Strong local roots are everything. We can’t wait for others to do this for us. The time is now and you are the person you’ve been waiting for.
What are some of the priorities for our state and for Multnomah County this year?
Voting Reform is the keystone issue of our times. Oregon is at the epicenter of a national movement for STAR Voting, for fair, equal, representative elections. We’ve been waiting a long time for this issue to get it’s time in the limelight and we need to step up and make it happen. HB 3250, STAR Voting for Oregon is a huge deal! http://starvoting.us
What is making you hopeful right now?
The activists and volunteers I work with every day give me hope like nothing else. In a world where positive change can seen impossible and apathy is the default, having the chance to work with people who not only make a difference every day, but know how to empower others and work as a team, that’s just rad.
What advice can you provide to our Democrats in Multnomah County?
For those of you who have been involved for a while: Politics is challenging. We go deep, we make it personal, and we pour our lives and our hearts into the work we do. People clash, people get triggered, we get invested and we get defensive. We don’t always see eye to eye. I think it’s important to keep our focus on what we can do in each moment and not get overwhelmed by the weight of the world or disagreements over things that are out of our control. After all, we’re all here showing up because we care. It’s triggering. It’s messy and there’s a lot to learn. Sometimes we need to cut each other some slack. For newcomers looking to be effective as fast as possible: Meetings are where we connect and plan, and running for positions is critical, but the real gems are the committees, the action items, and the actual canvassing. That’s where you make an impact. Everything else is just setting up to be able to conquer the action items.