Rallying a Revolution in Massachusetts

By Leah Gauquier:

Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA) is a democratic, political action organization launched on January 28, 2017. Founded shortly after Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign of 2016, it seeks to continue Sander’s reforms and work. There are about 7,000 members in Massachusetts. This organization endorses Sanders’ progressive views on issues including corporate welfare, LGBTQ rights, free education, and universal healthcare.

                                                             Bernie Sanders pictured by http://www.slate.com

The mission of the ORMA is to “reclaim democracy for the working people of our country by harnessing the transformative energy of the political revolution” (http://ourrevolutionma.com/).

This organization is allied with Progressive Democrats of America Massachusetts and Progressive Massachusetts. It has proposed major progressive changes to the Massachusetts Democratic Platform including reforms on Health Care, Human Services, Labor, Education, Climate Change, Ethics, the Judicial System, and the federal Budget.

ORMA had its first general assembly on May 6, 2018 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tickets to this assembly were for sale to the public with proceeds going to ORMA Boston’s funding. The assembly seeks to shape ORMA’s progressive agenda for the remainder of the year.

The assembly brought together people from all over the area to speak their minds on issues close to their hearts. Some of the issues brought up were gender and race equality, paid family medical leave, student debt, and the raise up Massachusetts campaign. This revolution encourages people to have a safe place to speak their mind and rally together with people who all share the same views.

During the assembly, I was able to speak with Michael Gilbreath, treasurer of the organization, to learn more about the movement. Gilbreath stated “The primary purpose or goal of the general assembly is to give members the opportunity to set priorities, set goals and approve the direction the organization will take.”

When asked how Our Revolution will have an impact on the life of the people, Gilbreath responded, “I believe that Our Revolution will hopefully make a difference to the lives of the people. On some of the issues that we bring up, there is a lot of momentum already at the statehouse. But I also know that there are forces still trying to prevent those things from happening. We like to think that if we organize ourselves well, we will have a real impact on adding more voices to the lobbying process for those issues.”

Throughout the assembly there were many speakers including Savina Martin, co-chair of Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign, and State Senator Jamie Eldridge.

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After Senator Eldridge’s speech, I was able to sit down with him for a few minutes and talk about his experience with OUR Revolution. Eldridge was an early supporter and delegate for Bernie Sanders for president. He has been a member of OUR Revolution since it was formed.

When asked why Our Revolution is an important organization to support, Eldridge responded “Even in an overwhelmingly democratic legislature there are a lot of obstacles to passing progressive legislation. I really think we need new constituencies and I think OUR revolution is part of that, to apply pressure to elected officials to pass legislation that will make a difference in people’s lives. Our revolution has a lot of people who haven’t been previously involved in politics, or have more progressive views than many current democratic activists or democratic elected officials, so we can really fill a gap there.”

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I also spoke with a few members of the assembly who actively take part in Our Revolution. Zach, a supporter of the movement, told me that he feels like Our Revolution is a second family to him “It is nice being around people that share so many of the same values. Building my own personal community with Our Revolution has enhanced everything about my life.”

Our Revolution will be hosting its second general assembly in about 6 months.

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