GRASSROOTS POWER

Editor’s Note: Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are knocking on doors across the country to defeat Bush. Many are young people and first-time activists.

In the next six issues, the PWW will publish voices from this rewarding grassroots experience with the hopes of moving more readers into volunteering. Please send your experiences toor fax (312) 588-0750.

Joe goes to Ohio

CINCINNATI — My most profound experience was canvassing neighborhoods for the AFL-CIO. I spoke with an elderly man, a retired shop worker, who had never voted in his life. The last worthy president he could remember was FDR. Events in the world and in his life, however, had convinced him that it was time to speak out. His body was feeble and his hand cramped with arthritis, so I had to fill out the registration form for him. But there was a fierce determination in his eyes. He was so glad that we had come around, and he was sad when we had to leave.

I met an African American woman, a nurse. She had no health insurance. She was diagnosed with cancer and had to live in a homeless shelter for nearly a year while on chemotherapy. She asked me why we were spending hundreds of billions on wars in distant lands when kids across her street were dying of starvation.

For me, listening to these people and empowering them to vote is part of building a culture of peace in this country. It’s not glamorous, it’s not earth shattering, it’s not headline news — it’s just something that has to be done — one person at a time.

— Joe from Connecticut