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Importance of Empathy at Organizing for America,
at the Strategy Session 2010, SF CA

I attended the Strategy Session 2010,  in South San Francisco. There I interviewed Froilan Ramos, Regional Field Organizer, Organizing For America, CA Congressional Districts 6, 8, 12 about the importance of Empathy at Organizing for America.   I also brought up the topic in the discussion portion of the meeting.  Below is the 10 minute section of the discussion. (Video of the full meeting 1 hr)

Importance of Empathy at Organizing for America, Strategy Session 2010, SF CA  (10 min)

Froilan: What is the role of empathy in OFA?

  • defining it as standing in someone else's shoes

  • feeling what they are feeling

  • gives you a human connection and can help each other

  • my catholic background: is golden rule - do unto others and you would have them do unto you.

  • Obama is trying to get people to empathize with each other

    • main tool is the story of Self

    • talk about why something is important to us.

    • the values from those stories

    • finding the commonalities

  • President wants us to make personal connections

    • he is surrounded by people and purifications

    • was on conference call with him and he sounded like one of the people.

    • important to humanize our connections with people

    • He tries to work with people who are different

    • he is courageous and empathizes with people who are not like him

Group discussion on OFA Problems

  • Obama spoke a lot about empathy during the campaign

    • somehow this has not come through in his current speeches and pronouncements

    • he started as an agent of change but he became a policy wonk.

Group discussion on OFA Solutions

  • value of empathy and re-inject it into how it pursues it's policies

    • and re-inject it into OFA

  • we have a role in influencing that change

  • Froilan: What about Mobilizing people? to do X. Y Z?

    • I think Empathy is important in that regard.

  • Froilan: How could we show more empathy?

    • It's a contentious problem and no easy answerer

    • get speakers to go and talk at gatherings; lions club, seniors centers

    • get people to speak personally about what happened to them personally

      • with the war, health care, etc,

    • that creates change in people

  • Froilan about communicating a personal story about how something is affecting you personally, we can do that with letters, forums, speeches at rallies,

  • Froilan: Lack of bipartisanship?

    •  Edwin: on the solutions part with empathy, how about on the OFA values list, add empathy to it. to get the word out about it

    • Edwin: in terms of bipartisanship -  I went to the republican state convention. Sat down and interviewed republicans about empathy. I asked what values are important to you and how do they relate to empathy. It's a matter of reaching out to republicans and talking to them about empathy and speaking to that.

    • Karen: We did that all during the campaign and I feel like the OFA values of  respect, empower and include,  actually are messages of empathy,

    • Edwin: There is a great deal of empathy but how can it be deepened, we're on the right path it's just how do we deepen it.

  • Froilan: how to get it out in  public - because there are those stories about empathy

Full Version Organizing for America‘s “2010 Strategy Sessions” in South San Francisco, CA 3/27/2010  on Vimeo.