Friend, What can be said about 2020 that hasn’t already been declared, muttered, cursed, or screamed by all of us multiple times this year? As a group exercise that doesn’t require Zoom, I invite you to verbalize your favorite/least favorite 2020-ism at this point …
Now that we got that off our chests, we at Convergence would like to express our sincere gratitude to our clients and friends who helped make lemonade out of lemons this year. You know it’s a strange political year when one of the most important actions in the history of our democracy since 1776 — defeating Donald Trump — seemed like a “meh” moment for some. And yes, there is much to “unpack” (another 2020-ism) about why there weren’t more victories this time. I tend to look for silver linings in political clouds, because if you don’t, then what the hell are you doing in this business? So here are a few I found, both personally and professionally, in the mire of this mostly-awful year:
More voices are speaking out — and being heard. This year, more Americans than ever before made their voices heard through community action and voting. Convergence is proud to have helped increase participation across the country, up and down the ballot. In Georgia, we helped a constellation of advocacy groups produce the largest voter turnout in state history and deliver the state for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Elsewhere, we were thrilled to help elect visionary, next-generation community leaders like Mayor Kate Gallego (Phoenix, AZ), the Rev. Kylon Middleton (Charleston, SC, County Council), and Mark Conway (Baltimore City Council) … voices of the diversifying New South like State Sens. Nikki Merritt (GA) and Heidi Campbell (TN) … and, via independent expenditures, representatives of the full and healthy ideological spectrum of our Big Tent party, like incoming U.S. Reps. Mondaire Jones (NY) and Sara Jacobs (CA), and State Sen. Steve Glazer (CA).
Reforming our democracy. One of our core missions at Convergence since day one has been to help revitalize our politics through reforms like ranked choice voting, open primaries, and fair redistricting. This year we were thrilled to help pass a Constitutional Amendment in Virginia to end partisan gerrymandering. And we continued the march of ranked choice voting across the country by helping win ballot measures in Bloomington and Minnetonka, MN. According to our friends at FairVote, nearly 14 million Americans now live in jurisdictions using RCV.
Supporting those who support their communities. It’s never been more important to help groups who are helping their communities endure the pandemic. On behalf of our clients, we are supporting local charities across the country, including The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center and One Safe Place in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Arizona Community Foundation, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, New Pathways for Youth, and Sojourner Center in Phoenix, AZ; Gideon’s Army in Nashville, TN; Southeast Gwinnett Co-op and Georgia Conflict Center in metro Atlanta, GA; City Union Mission in Kansas City, MO; and Homeless to Hope Fund in Charleston, SC.
One last metaphorical (and literal) ray of light … On that sunny, warm, November Saturday morning when Joe Biden secured the necessary electoral votes to win the presidency, Americans across the country emerged from their quarantines and celebrated euphorically, recalling V-E Day in 1945. Sharing that victory with my family, friends and community is something I will never forget. It was a much needed moment of rejuvenation, and hope, for our future.
As you read this (if you made it this far), Americans are being vaccinated against the coronavirus. Better days are ahead. So please join me in raising a glass of lemonade (or something stronger) to say adios to 2020. Thank you again for your continued support and friendship, and I hope to see you again (IRL, not Zoom) in 2021.
Founder & President, Convergence Targeted Communications