November 20, 2016 - What Now? Organize!

More than 500 people from Athens and beyond flooded the Cotton Press at Chase Street Warehouses, mobilizing a response to the sweeping Republican victories in the November elections. The event, “What now? Organize!”, was A4E’s largest since its establishment in 2014. With not even standing room left, attendees spilled outside the open garage doors as board member Kelly Happe called for everyone to meet the challenges ahead with “radical hope” and action.

A diverse panel of experienced local stakeholders spoke on issues of climate change, abortion access, immigrant struggles, racial tension downtown, unresponsive elected officials and the difficulty of talking about politics when others disagree.

Russell Edwards, chair of the Clarke County Democratic Committee, opined for a mayor and commission “that represents the people in this room,” and urged progressives to stay motivated because “there is a whole lot we can do locally.” Edwards also encouraged Athenians to “throw your hat in the ring” and run for office. They did. In 2018, every seat representing Athenians (with the exception of Spencer Frye’s) would be challenged.