Wellstone at #Fight4AFuture

April 1, 2015
(Photo Credit: Gen Progress)
When over 120 young organizers in the movement to stop gun violence met in Chicago over a recent weekend, it was a time to come together, to envision a path forward, and gain new skills to win progress down that path.
Sadness and cynicism so often define our feelings on guns in America these days. Sadness over the countless lives impacted, cynicism that any real progress can be reached.  
But for the participants of Generation Progress’ 2015 #Fight4AFuture Gun Violence Prevention Summit, many of whom have been directly impacted by gun violence, there’s also hope. Hope in a future without gun violence; hope that that future can be written the Wellstone Way. 
For years, Wellstone has joined Generation Progress at its issues summits to help train their participants. And 2015 was no exception. 
As our trainer, Jessica Pierce, describes it the summit wasn’t about a top-down training where we simply tell participants how to be better organizers, instead, “We focused on relationship building, and then we led facilitated discussions about goals and strategies, not just tactics. Everything we did was focused on this movement and this moment.” 
With an issue this important, with the other side as politically powerful as the NRA, it has never been more important to focus on results. “There’s a really big difference between tactics and having actual goals and a strategy.” Says Jessica, “It’s tempting for organizers to just look at tactics and actions but we must focus on goals and a strategy that builds power over the long run.”
How do you build that enduring power? That’s right, you do it through the Wellstone Triangle. As Generation Progress documented, the participants gained a deeper appreciation for weaving together community organizing, policy, and politics, “I think a main takeaway from the summit was that the worlds of policy and community organizing are sometimes really disconnected,” Annie Wood, a student at the University of Minnesota, said. “Being in the same room with people from both communities, with real passion and an urgency to bring about change revealed that both perspectives are really necessary, since the issue has so many deep roots and levels.”
We’re working with Generation Progress year in and year out to equip young progressives with the tactics and skills to win a better future for our communities. Gun violence is deeply personal for many of the participants, as it is for millions across the country. But sadness and cynicism aren’t going to define our future. Instead, we’re turning hope into action and results. Together with Generation Progress we’re winning a future with safer communities, and we’re winning it the Wellstone Way.