It was when the laughter began to build into roaring waves that I let myself slip into the perspective of the audience and revel in the moment: my fellows and I had succeeded in producing a swank, sexy, and smart occasion to bring together young progressives from across the Bay Area to laugh at the complex and cutting jokes of W. Kamau Bell. Judging by the response of the crowd, we all were yearning for a reason to let it all out. As W. Kamau Bell deconstructed Obama’s presidency in the light of racial politics in ways that brought the crowd almost to our knees, it struck me how important it is that we create and protect spaces for us to relax from the struggles of the movement. Sometimes we are so busy organizing that we don’t give ourselves the moments to breathe, laugh and reflect.
I’ve been immensely proud of my fellows for the hard work we put into making our fundraiser that not only met our monetary objectives but also exemplified our personal values. We wanted this event to bring our various communities together, for it to be accessible and for us to entertain people. All done with lots of swag.
Managing our fundraising strategy was a wonderful lesson to me in how even raising money can be a form of team building. Rather than approach it like a chore, our team regarded it as a challenge. I saw so many of my fellows checking in with each other and cheering when someone secured a donation. Despite all our busy schedules, we invested all of our energy into making this event a success. The best part is that no one lost sight of how important it was to do this fundraiser in a way where we cherished each other and supported one another. Even the night of the event, fellows were constantly communicating with each other and working together to set up and clean up the event.
And that to me is what it means to be a community–where people understand that nobody is done unless everybody is done.