Enjoy this amazing visual tour and celebratory testimonials from movement authors, veteran activists and even a documentary filmmaker at our recent 17th Birthday Celebration.
Thank you for being a light in these uncertain times. Backbone Campaign and you have been part of a constellation of change makers that have helped us all navigate this difficult year.
We are entering a time of unprecedented challenges . . . and opportunities. I am writing this letter to ask for your help, so that we can be prepared to meet the incredible demand for Backbone’s expertise and tools and to keep the visionary Solutionary Rail project growing.
We have been through dark times this year. We have struggled, body and soul. But a persistent, inexhaustible flame of creativity is leading us forward through this darkness - not back to an old normal - but to an emergent way of being that is far more dignified, connected, and regenerative.
Has there ever been a moment when it was more pragmatic to implement true universal healthcare, free public education, universal public broadband, and a guarantee of income, housing and transportation? No.
When, besides this very moment, would it be more justified to create millions of living wage jobs, rebuild the public health, energy and transportation infrastructure, and support resilient, regenerative local agriculture and economies? Never.
The time is NOW.
“Power concedes nothing without struggle” is but a small part of a brilliant 1854 speech by Frederick Douglass. Backbone Campaign’s support for progressive struggles is more important than ever. A piece of good news is that our tools, skills and strategies have never been more broadly sought and utilized than this very moment - and what we bring to this work can be deployed safely, even in a pandemic.
As you read this, someone in the country is about to shine a message on a building, display a banner in solidarity with frontline workers, or is agitating the opulent with some method provided by Backbone. From border and ICE resistance to Black Lives Matter demonstrations to actions for multiple causes in 16 cities over the last month alone - Backbone Campaign is skilling up, tooling up, and showing up for the agitators in the service of our common struggles for justice and a livable planet.
A truth that shapes Backbone’s strategy is that there are limits to oppositional activism. 2020 affirmed that activism must be augmented with community-based organizing. From community safety to food security to the current time bank organizing, Backbone is more grounded and more invested in charting alternative paths to resilience in than ever before. Backbone’s local laboratory projects on Vashon applied lessons learned from organizers in other communities and then built on those to provide toolkits and replicable strategies for others.
Our localization work stands in solidarity with other communities. We are rooted in mutual resilience. Together, we reflect and reinforce universal standards for human rights and ecological sustainability everywhere.
Backbone recently joined the new coalition Progressive International to support the global #MakeAmazonPay mobilization against the unbound ravages of Bezos’ corporate behemoth. This is part of our strategic commitment to be part of and to bolster a community-based, globally-networked movement that can counter the devastation wrought by unaccountable transnational capital.
Today, what is required more than ever is actual listening. Listening plants seeds for authentic relationships. Those relationships can grow into opportunities to solve problems together. You know that the pathway is not the past way. The divisive noise of partisan posturing and name calling needs to be replaced with listening and digging deep to solve problems together. I’m deeply grateful and proud of Backbone’s strategic campaign Solutionary Rail - mostly because it opens opportunities for dialog amongst unlikely allies.
Take Kevin Klenklen. Kevin is the former President of the Kansas State Grange and runs a business providing industrial hardware to railroads. After a long conversation that navigated the minefields of our differences by concentrating on our mutual curiosity about trains and short line railroads, Kevin said: "I truly believe that every person desires and deserves the opportunity to think outside the box."
I interpret Kevin’s words as an affirmation of the approach we have taken with Solutionary Rail: connecting the dots in multiple ways to solve intersecting problems. What Kevin got from our conversation was a sincere spirit of inquiry and a desire to solve problems together.
CoVD-19 has blown the walls off the proverbial “box.” There is no longer a box. The walls have evaporated and our boldest visions are required. The only limit is our imaginations. NOW is exactly the time for our boldest visions, to fiercely and beautifully struggle, to be locally-based, globally-networked, to show-not-tell, and to listen deeply across differences - in order to tap into the deep well of human genius and creativity so that we can solve problems together. As Kevin said, we desire that, and with your help, we will drive that.
This is the trajectory that Backbone Campaign is on. It is how we are proceeding into 2021 and beyond. And as ever, we can’t do it without you.
Backbone is poised for great change. Our core team has worked at maximum capacity all year. It’s time to expand the crew and bring on new staff. To make that sustainable, we need you to be as generous as you can be at this pivotal moment.
A group of supporters have pitched in to create a $25,000 matching fund for our December fund drive. We need to meet that match and exceed it.
Please go to BackboneCampaign.org/2020match to make your tax-deductible contribution. (We can also accept stock donations; contact [email protected] to make a stock transfer that saves you capital gains taxes and is tax-deductible.) Your contribution will be doubled! You can also send a check to Backbone Campaign, PO Box 278, Vashon WA 98070.
Thank you for making this creative and solutionary work one of the ways you make a difference. Together we will build a far more beautiful future.
PS Backbone friends have generously created a matching fund to match the urgency of this moment. This means that all donations (up to $25,000) made by December 31st will be doubled! Whether you donate online at BackboneCampaign.org/2020match or mail in a check - or transfer stock - you can double your impact! Please help us meet 2021 with boldness, courage and beauty - by making your donation today.
Here's the 3 minute video celebration of Backbone's work by David McLanahan with music by Jim Page