Ed Markey is a champion for issues affecting Massachusetts families. As a US Senator, Markey has consistently advocated for progressive change in our state, including policies like the Green New Deal or Medicare for All as well as meaningful economic and racial justice reform.
With November 3rd right around the corner, we recently connected with Fellowship Coordinator, Ben Rutberg, to learn more about the ways current Emerson College students can get involved with Markey’s campaign.
What are some of the fellowship opportunities you are recruiting for?
Ben: “We have two paid, digital fellowship slots that we are looking to hire folks as soon as possible. One is graphic design oriented, one is more about maintaining our website and helping us set up our livestreams because Ed is going to be doing livestreams with community leaders and experts on important issues.
In addition, there’s our Fall Organizing Fellowship. This is joining our organizing team, being paired with an organizer, being part of a community in Massachusetts, and working with the volunteer leaders of that community to grow our team, recruit volunteers, create positive, welcome campaign spaces, and overall work toward our goal of turning out voters to reelect Ed Markey, reelect State House and Senate Democrats, and also export volunteer power to some of our swing states to the north.
For folks who want to talk to votes one on one, build meaningful relationships with people who live in our state, and communicate our message through organizing, through conversations with voters, through talking with volunteers, the Organizing Fellowship will be a great way to do that and a great way to learn what goes into organizing both for en electoral campaign and in other contexts since many of the skills really overlap.”
What are some of the skills you look for in potential fellows?
Ben: “I look for someone whose commitment to Ed Markey’s values and progressive policy vision is deeply rooted and deeply felt in their life. Someone who enjoys or is good at being warn and curious and caring about other people, whether it’s a four-minute recruitment conversation or getting to connect with someone you’ll be talking with almost every day as a volunteer leader.
Building meaningful relationships is key at the core of every single thing that you do while organizing. And then follow-through is also very important.
Everything stems from being able to care about everyone you meet, even when it’s difficult.”
How has your work changed since COVID?
Ben: “Everything the Organizing Department does completely remote and completely digital. Our campaign made that decision as the lockdown hit in March and we stuck with it. We’re not canvassing in person, we’re not meeting up to phone bank, and we’ve adapted to the all-digital coronavirus age very well.
Over the last few weeks of the primary, we had our system down to have phone banks with more than, you know, easily more than 100 people on the Zoom line phone banking at the same time with our system to make sure everyone gets the training and support they need, while also letting people do their own thing.
We innovated a lot ourselves. We learned a lot from other campaigns, including Mondaire Jones. And so, that’s what our work looks like right now.”
What are some ways a fellow might stand out while on the job?
Ben: “It’s definitely easy to tell or easy to recognize organizing that’s rooted in our issues, in our values, and the care that we have for other people. I managed a team of fellows over the Summer and the most effective fellows were the ones who committed to make a lot of phone calls and follow through on them, but also fellows who engaged their friends and family, brought them to our phone banks, brought them to our movement, who treated all of our volunteers with kindness and care and curiosity about who they are and who had meaningful relationships with members of their community.”
Do you have any advice for students who are interested in applying?
Ben: “My advice for students who are considering applying for a fellowship would be: Please do it. We’d love to have you. You can apply at edmarkey.com/fallfellowship/. And beyond that, really to spend a little time reflecting on the way you build relationships, just naturally in your life.
And the way that your experiences and your values connect with everything that our campaign stands for — the fight for a Green New Deal, Medicare For All, healthcare as a human right, or economic justice and racial justice and meaningful police reform. All of those issues that go into making a better world.
For folks who want to be part of our campaign, but maybe don’t want to be a fellow, the advice is please show up, we need your help. You can find us at edmarkey.com/volunteer/.”