By Charles Cole, NLC-SF Board Member and 2011 Institute Fellow
I was blessed with the ability to not only attend this year’s NLC Retreat in Atlanta but I was also given the privilege to present. I created a presentation titled “Why I’m a Black Progressive” but that title was purposely misleading. I used my presentation as an opportunity to tell the audience a story not about politics, but about who I am and why. What I wanted to do was point out that we as progressives have forgotten how to tell a good story and therein connect with the folks we need to persuade. A conservative has no problem explaining to you why his or her guns are important to them yet we are still having a conversation with the common citizen explaining the intricacies of tax reform. SNORE!
In my presentation, I made the connection of my values to what my grandmother taught me when I lived with her in Kentucky. She wasn’t educated, she was a devout christian and she made ends meet. She believed in working hard and helping folks that couldn’t help themselves. She was a kind woman…and today’s progressives may have lost her by talking down to her. They may have lost her by not feeling it was important enough to make the effort to connect our policies directly to her values. In my presentation, I wanted to connect not with progressives, conservatives, republicans, democrats or the like. I wanted to connect with people. Human beings. Folks that work hard to protect what and who they love. The only way to truly, genuinely do that is to give them an intimate piece of who you are and what makes you you.
Peace. Cole Out.