This week, we talk with David Fleischer, the Director of the LA LGBT Center’s Leadership LAB. In response to California’s 2008 Prop 8 ballot initiative, which banned same sex marriage, he set out to better understand why Prop 8 passed and how to address and combat bigotry through one-on-one conversations. He and his team were so successful they created an entirely new way to canvass, called “Deep Canvassing.” Their method of using love as a point of connection works universally and the results speak for themselves.
LISTEN TO OUR INTERVIEW WITH DAVE
In the spirit of civic engagement, Dave brainstormed a homework assignment for you and us! In our interview with him, he goes over the deep canvassing method and explains how we can all take time out of our day to connect with someone different than us, and maybe even change their political beliefs.
We want you to deep canvass with us! Using the strategy Dave outlined in our interview and the tips below, we want YOU to get on the phone and change some hearts and minds! Whether it’s your sister’s boyfriend, that uncle you can never get through to, or your neighbor who “just doesn’t vote,” we want you to reach out and use the deep canvassing techniques to form a meaningful connection. Even if you aren’t wholly successful, they’ll likely remember your conversation with them for a long time, and might be more willing to discuss things with you more often!
Once you’ve talked with someone using deep canvassing, we want to hear about it. Not only that, if you call us at (929) 262-0752 and leave a message describing what you did and how it went, we’ll put you on the podcast! You can also email us at email@example.com or reach out to Dave directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideally, we’re looking to get enough responses to compile a follow-up podcast where we can go over some of your answers with Dave. Think of this as a check-in and an “ask me anything” where we can go over what worked and what didn’t—just like the actual groups Dave runs.
Follow these tips from Dave before you call!
10 PRACTICAL STEPS TO GET YOU READY TO DEEP CANVASS from Dave Fleischer
1. THE CHANGE YOU SEEK: Think about what kind of people you would like to persuade to reconsider some of their habits or choices. I recommend reaching out to infrequent voters who might share a lot of your world view and would likely vote your way, but who are at high risk of not voting, maybe even in this presidential year.
2. THE MEMORY JOG: Scroll slowly through your contacts list, or any list you have of your family, friends, and acquaintances.
3. THE LIST: As you scroll, take some notes as you go along, jotting down those you think might sometimes miss elections. You won’t know for sure, but you might have a hunch. The result: you now have a list of people you might want to call. Don’t forget parents with children from ages 18 to 30: these younger people are often at high risk of not voting; at this unusual moment, many are living with their parents. When you call, you could talk first with the parent you know well, then speak with the daughter or son even if you know them less well.
4. PUTTING THE LIST IN PRIORITY ORDER: Take your new list and put in order of “kind” to “cruel.” Reach out to the “kindest” first—those who, even though they might see the world differently than you do, you believe might agree with your take on some of what is going on in the political world today. These are people who would not be implacably and entirely opposed to your point of view. You will not get brownie points in heaven for talking with the most difficult first.
5. RECRUIT A BUDDY: Think of which of your friends is as concerned as you are about this election. Call or Zoom one of them and ask them to do all of the above with you. Then, agree on a specific day, maybe even a particular window of time, when you will both make your first calls. Your buddy will both provide emotional support and also hold you accountable for doing what you say you want to do on a specific deadline. This makes it much more likely that you pick up the phone and make those calls.
6. CHOOSE YOUR FIRST PERSON TO CALL: Review your list: pick the person you want to be your first call. Text them a couple of days before you want to call, letting them know when you will be calling and asking if that’s a good time for them to connect.
7. BEFORE YOU CALL: Think about a person you love and why you love them. Think back about a specific moment when something happened, when you realized you could rely on them, or they realized they could depend on you. The person and the memory will inspire you. The story of that moment will also be something you share when you call. Also, consider listening to the podcast one more time, and writing down any of the questions that the Leadership LAB team developed and that Dave mentioned that appeal to you.
9. HECK, MAYBE DO A FEW CALLS: since you will get better and more relaxed each time you try it.
10. THE NEXT DAY: Talk with your buddy and compare notes on how it went for both of you. Think about what you learned and whether you want to do this again. If so, schedule the next date to call and keep going!
So, if you’re feeling inspired and want to be a part of an upcoming episode, give us a call! Again, that’s (929) 262-0752.