Don't Sleep

We won!

I know I know, you’re like, how does she know?

I’m not a psychic. But trust me, we won. We didn’t win because this candidate or that candidate got into office. We won because call after call after call, all we heard was that young people turned out in unprecedented droves and stayed for the long haul.

Now is the time to work the network of our will. No one thought we could mobilize an ‘apathetic’ constituency. From Portland to Tallahassee to Cincinnati – we did it, we turned out not only young voters but young mothers, young black men, young folks from the most disenfranchised communities in the country. And no one thought we could make it sexy. In Albuquerque they rocked bikinis in the snow. In Milwaukee they spit fresh spoken word to keep the long lines of young folks at the polls.

Now comes the challenge.

It has been our love for each other and our need for better lives for ourselves that got us this far. Our work is not done. Long-term plan y'all: don’t sleep.

Now we sit on our hands and we close our eyes and we will it into being. We must not budge until we get our way. We must not move until each and every one of our votes are counted. We must maximize this victory of ours by lobbying and marching and running our folks for office and making sure we carry our power past the election.

We have done all we can do today. But what a gorgeous and powerful tomorrow awaits us.

I want to share with you some of the most amazing stories we heard today:

*    In Beloit, Wisc., organizer Megan Roche said "We have changed the culture of voting." Four years ago Beloit had a 30 percent young voter turnout. This time they are estimating a 90 percent campus turnout. The Beloit College president stepped up to the bat this morning to defend Beloit students’ right to vote with a notarized list of students when Republican challengers tried to deny students’ right to vote.

*     In Columbus, Ohio, where voters waited in line into the night, young folks stood in the rain singing and playing kazoos while they waited their turn to cast some of the most important ballots in the nation.

*     In Albuquerque, N.M., in response to a freak snow storm that threatened to dampen voter turnout, young folks dressed in bikinis, painted a van like a seascape and rode the wave to victory.

*     In Cincinnati, Ohio, inner city precincts saw a 300 percent increase in voter turnout.

*     In New Orleans, La., facing broken voter machines and missing written ballots, voters have waited 10 hours and are waiting still to make sure their vote gets counted.

Now, the phones have stopped ringing. This is the time when we have to send our prayers, hopes, dreams and visions of what we need.

All day long we were in the hot seat at the League, getting calls about election suppression, fraud, theft, shadiness – but more than all of that, we were getting calls about how many folks were at the polls, how the lines were around the block, how young folks were using every creative impulse of their brilliant young minds to keep voters in lines and vigilant to cast their votes.

Now we are watching the numbers flow in from around the country and local victories pile up, as the proof comes in that when we work together, when we trust each other and look out for each other and share resources – we win.

I want to write these words to my generation: Have hope. We are willing to work hard. We are prepared to stand all day and all night and shout and call each other and text message and blog and and hope hope hope against all odds that being right and strategic will change our lives.

Do not lose hope now, no matter what the polls say, no matter what the results are. We are stronger than we have ever been, and our strength will only grow as we come to understand that our victories are not for one party or another but for young people all over the globe.

Tell us what happened on your election day on WireTap and on at the League site. Join in the actions tomorrow and in the next weeks at This Time We’re Watching – we must stay in touch with each other and we remember that our community was not polled, cannot be counted, and can no longer be oppressed. Have faith. Hold on. Hope, as corny as it seems, has arrived.

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