Sometimes it hurts to care so much. There’s a downside to being passionate and emotionally invested in your work. You take setbacks personally. They’re painful and taxing. You question your path and your purpose.
Following the election, I’m sure a lot of you can relate. There’s a lot of worry about the fate of our future, especially for the kids, families and workers who are struggling the most in our state and our nation.
And that’s who I think about when things get tough. I remember that there are thousands upon thousands of people who are depending on the work of the League and our partners. This is their life. They can’t give up. And that’s why I won’t give up.
I’m admittedly tearing up a little as I write this, because I believe wholeheartedly in the work that I do and the people I do it for. The political climate may have changed, but the need for good, inclusive and equitable public policy is stronger than ever.
For more than a century, the League has been doing this work. And now I’m one of the torch-bearers. I take that responsibility very seriously.
Our organization has endured and never stopped fighting. Imagine the political tumult and policy ploys that have come and gone in the last 100-plus years while the League has remained constant.
Sometimes progress is just carrying on. Continuing to move forward, even when you get pushed back or knocked down, even when you’re walking in to a headwind, even if it’s an inch at a time.
I’m writing this from a public policy conference in Washington, D.C. That’s probably why it’s so lofty and sentimental. But I assure you that that’s not how I was feeling when I arrived a few days ago.
When I got here, I was beat down and hanging my head. I was scared of what threats to our work—and the people we serve—were coming. To be brutally honest, they’re still coming. I’m just not scared any more. I’m fired up.
That’s because I have spent the last few days with hundreds of men and women from around the country who are infinitely all-in on this work. And who are more committed than ever to the fight, knowing that immigrants, people of color, families and kids struggling with poverty, workers and seniors are depending on us.
I wanted to share some of this inspiration with all of you. I want you to remember and appreciate your importance in this fight—that your advocacy and support is invaluable and the League and the people of Michigan need you. Now more than ever.
I will leave you with two anecdotes from this conference. Yesterday, four people from across the country shared their personal journeys. They talked about growing up in poverty and the challenges of being a person of color. And they shared how they went from being someone who needed our work to someone who was doing it for others.
I also hung out with a guy who works for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth who celebrated a birthday yesterday. He told me that when anyone wishes him a happy birthday, he asks them to donate to his organization. (Following suit, if you’re looking to make a charitable contribution this holiday season, please keep the League in mind.)
This is why we fight—because we care. We do this work because we know how important public policy is to our families and yours.
Progressive work is not for the faint of heart. And our big, strong hearts drive our efforts. That’s not going to change. We’re not going anywhere, and the League will keep working every angle and avenue we can to make change happen. I hope you’ll be by our side every step of the way.
— Alex Rossman