Ann Arbor, Michigan, Organizing For America — April 1, 2010 at 6:52 am

They throw bricks, we throw a BIG party!


Click on the photo then click “View Large” for a larger version

When President Obama signed into law of the health insurance reform law last week, the most historic piece of social legislation in decades, those on the right threw a fit. Some of them actually threw bricks.

We, on the other hand, threw a damn party. A BIG party!

Tuesday night this week, Democrats from all around the Ann Arbor and Western Wayne area got together to celebrate. With just a week’s notice, we had over 100 people RSVP on and, so far as I could tell every one of them showed up and then some.

Why were we celebrating? Well, the passage of the law, of course. But also consider this: the Organizing for America (OFA) volunteers from our area made 9,609 calls, primarily into Congressman Bart Stupak’s district, in the ten days leading up to Sunday’s vote. We spoke with 2,197 constituents and had a whopping 1,150 of them agree to call the office of their member of Congress. That’s in just 10 days. When you listen to Mr. Stupak talk about his office was flooded with calls and that his vote along with a handful of other following him that took us over the goal line, that was, in part, because of US and our hard work.

So we had reason to celebrate. And celebrate we did. For three hours at the Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor.

OFA Community Organizer (CO) from Ypsilanti Tad Wysor started us off with a rousing rendition of “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”.

Ypsilanti Community Organizer Tad Wysor

Ain’t gonna let Insurance Companies
Turn me around! Turn me around! Turn me around!
Ain’t gonna let Insurance Companies turn me around
I’m gonna keep on a – walkin’ keep on a – talkin’
Marchin’ down to freedom’s land!

Tad thanked his volunteers and talked a bit about how, well, this community organizin’ stuff really works!

Our emcee for the evening was OFA Regional Field Director Chris Wolff. He shared some of the numbers from our region and gave major kudos to the volunteers from our area.

OFA Regional Field Director Chris Wolff

Then Neighbohood Team Leader Marisa Downs spoke. Marisa was representing from the Plymouth, Michigan side of town and concluded her remarks, “I know I’m not supposed to say this but Joe Biden is right. This IS a big &%#$-ing deal!”

Plymouth Neighbohood Team Leader Marisa Downs

Then I was introduced as CO of Ann Arbor. I shared my story of Weston Vivian, the 83 year old former Congressman from our area who told me of his vote for the legislation that created Medicare and Medicaid. I also explained the significance of the election this fall on the Democrats being able to take part in the redistricting of our state and how important it is that people stay involved.

Some bald dude Chris Savage (me), Community Organizer for Ann Arbor

After me, Amanda Caldwell got up and told us about the efforts of the University of Michigan College Dems who held an 18-hour phone bank the day before the vote. Student Dems in Ann Arbor put up some impressive numbers and we were proud to have them at the event.

Last up was Andy Labarre, a staffer for Congressman John Dingell got up and told how important this was to Mr. Dingell and how he wanted to thank all of us for our work.

I have worked for Congressman Dingell for five years. On Sunday I saw a smile on the Congressman I had never seen before. The Congressman described it as a big Polish smile. What he meant was thank you to everyone who worked hard on behalf of this issue and everyone who had the courage in Washington to support reform.

Staffer Andy LaBarre from Congressman John Dingell’s office

And then we partied. Young and old, from all over the area. It was a great night.

Before we left, we all got together for one big CHEERS! The first picture in this diary is a panoramic image. Click on it to go to a page where you can click through to a much larger version. You’ll want to do that. It’s totally worth it!

All photos by Anne C. Savage. Do not use without permission.

Oh, one more thing. We’ll be having a second event a week from Saturday where Congressman Dingell himself will attend. Click here for more details and to RSVP.

I’m just sayin’…