State senator to organize free activist workshop

In the 10 months since Donald Trump has taken over the helm of the country, one good thing has happened, noted state Rep. Daylin Leach: People are becoming more politically attuned.

“In January, I had a lot of people coming up to me and asking, in the wake of the Trump election and this threat to things so many people consider important, What can we do? And I was having these conversations in a wide variety of places, everywhere I went — in restaurants, on the street, in public urinals, which was wonderful,” Leach laughed. “So rather than continue to have these conversations one on one, I said I’m going to do my research, get some good people involved and try to get a big group together to talk about this.”

Leach rented space at Upper Merion Middle School and staged a Resistance Forum on Jan. 18. He said he was blown away by the 800 people who turned out.

At the time, he pledged to organize another forum, which will come to fruition Oct. 14 with Goodstock. Billed as an “activist bootcamp” — with the tagline “Because This Isn’t Normal” — the free event at St. Joseph’s University is open to anyone with an interest in political and community organizing.

It expands the Resistance Forum format, which focused on a plenary speech, with a full day of activities.

The conference will feature remarks by Leach and a keynote speaker, who hasn’t been announced as of presstime, who will address the importance of civic participation. A panel discussion titled “We Can Do Better: An Honest Look at the Left” follows, along with an afternoon “Lobbying From a Legislator’s Point of View” panel. Breakout sessions throughout the day address effective organizing, media training, the state-budget process, activist fatigue and the nitty gritty of legislative processes, using real Pennsylvania bills as the focus. 

The topics and crowd will likely be left-leaning, but Leach cautioned that all with an interest in advocacy and activism are welcomed.

“This is issues-based,” Leach said. “We’re not there to tell people who to vote for; it’s more about how to get people involved and advocate for issues they care about.” 

While the conference focuses on education, the networking opportunities will also be productive, Leach said. 

“Networking is key. Obviously, it’s good for the soul in the sense that it’s good to interact with people who are worried about the same things you are and thinking about the same things you are,” he said. “And in terms of action, two people in most cases are more effective than one, and four are more effective than two. To the extent that we can create those connections, networking can become a force multiplier. We’re trying to teach people and to introduce them to one another to start the ball rolling.”

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