By Tong Thao, HIP Organizer
First of all, on behalf of every HIP organizer, I want to wholeheartedly say thank you to all the supporters, community partners, volunteers and organizers who have been with us since the beginning. Our journey thus far would not have been possible without the contribution of your time, energy and resources. Thank you for believing with us that we can have a positive impact on disenfranchised families, that we possess the power to elect our own local leaders and ultimately we have the power uplift our communities. We are incredibly thankful to have you.
It’s hard to believe that two years ago, I was among a group of young professionals, who met in makeshift locales like living rooms and hallways, to discuss ways we could help improve Sacramento. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded with individuals who shared a vision of improving the lives of ordinary people. As the children of refugees, we knew for years that our parents and elders wanted to develop a better connection to this country but found that voting and participating was intimidating and impossible to navigate. We also recognized that if we wanted to see our community empowered, our first step was to break barriers that prevented their participation. To meet this need in our community, our small group led a civic engagement campaign that activated a new voting bloc in Sacramento and transformed how local candidates approached our community.
Every so often, someone would ask me, “who is the leader of HIP?” and they would always be confused when I explained it to them that "We are all leaders of HIP." It is this simple answer that I believe makes HIP unique because no particular organizer leads HIP. HIP’s leadership is built on the belief that we are all leaders and it speaks to our desire to be innovative even when designing our organizational structure. This kind of leadership utilizes the strength of each of our organizers and creates an environment where organizers can freely express their opinions and petition their ideas. Different organizers bring their professional work experience and their own personality to the work. In this structure we hold each other accountable while also encouraging one another to test the limits of our innovation and capabilities.
At its core, HIP is a community movement that allows anyone to lead and openly encourages others to challenge themselves to grow into the work we do. It is my hope that anyone with a passion to learn will participate and take ownership over this space. I encourage all of you who are crazy enough to believe that you can make a difference to join this like-minded community of organizers to accomplish just that. We’re not going to win every fight, but I believe that when we stand together it becomes a whole lot harder to lose.
If you have been thinking about it but have not yet joined us, please fill out this form. We want to know who you are and where your interests lie. Feel free to come join us at our tabling events and meet the HIP organizers. Stay tune for some really awesome projects coming soon.