TLDR: Help me reach my fundraising goal for Southern Maine Workers Center Karaoke Night and tell me what song you think I should sing on Karaoke Night!
I joined Southern Maine Workers Center in December of 2016. I needed to get involved in organizing in a sustainable way instead of the cycles of over-commitment and burnout of electoral campaign life. I wanted to work with an organization working for all vulnerable communities. SMWC keeps human rights values at the center of our work.
The Work With Dignity committee at SMWC runs a Workers Support Hotline and free Legal Clinic for all workers with questions about wage theft, unsafe working conditions, unethical treatment of workers, legal concerns, and organizing opportunities. We offer translation for workers and members who don't speak English. About a year ago I had a health issue and was afraid I would be fired for taking time off of work. My friend and organizer, Arlo, reminded me that the legal clinic was an option. Using the services at the clinic provided a different prospective. Not only did the lawyer provide the information I needed to make decisions about my situation confidently, the volunteers helped by listening and letting me know I didn't have to go through that alone.
While all of our meetings involve a fair amount of joking, laughter, food, good company, learning, and solidarity one moment that stands out is our Portland Without Sick Days is Prehistoric rally before a city council meeting. City Council meetings are typically the stuffy affairs you would imagine them to be. We knew this one would likely last from 5:00 to 11:00 PM with intense testimony on both sides of the issue, so we made ourselves comfortable and settled in. We settled in by getting a marching band to greet our supporters, child care facilities set up in a conference room, providing a meal to anyone who wanted it, snacks, fiber arts, and DINOSAUR COSTUMES!!! Picture a small herd of dinosaurs dancing to a marching band at the doors of city hall.
Like most organizations we need funding to pay staff, translators, and keep the lights on. We also sometimes need funding for dinosaur masks, sheet cake, rally art, and all of the things that bring joy to our work but aren't always covered in typical grant funding. That's where you come in!
Every year SMWC holds a Karaoke fundraiser. If I reach my fundraising goal, I will sing a song. Y'all know I don't mind looking like a fool for free, so imagine what I might do for money. I'm not sure what song to pick, so your suggestions are encouraged.