Paper boy: Aaron Gorman details political volunteering

Aaron Gorman

Every weekend, I wake up, throw on my Ed for DC t-shirt, and walk out my door, carrying a bag filled with hundreds of flyers. I walk door-to-door and drop off small informational postcards that include facts about how to vote, Ed Lazere’s mission, and an impressive list of local endorsements. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, I almost never get to speak to anyone face-to-face about the campaign. I hope that someone will pick up the flyer on their doorstep and read through it, instead of throwing it away.

On November 3, DC residents will be voting, not only for the president but for a wide array of local government positions. While these positions, including one vacant at-large city council seat, don’t draw the same level of attention as some top-ticket races do, they are still incredibly important. After all, Biden will not bring the progressive change many of us crave, but for over 800,000 DC residents, one of the 23 candidates for the at-large seat just might. Ed Lazere is that candidate. 

I first heard of Ed Lazere in 2018, when he was running in a different city council race against moderate incumbent Phil Mendelson. Although he lost that election, he attracted the support of many DC voters who were tired of the way that corporate democrats like Mendelson and Bowser had been running our city. So this year, when he entered the wide-open at-large race, he became an early favorite amongst DC’s progressive community. 

Touting policies like defunding the Metropolitan Police Department, doubling our public housing investment, and banning evictions, Ed has earned the endorsements of groups such as the Sunrise Movement, Our Revolution, and the Democratic Socialists of America. Ed’s people-first agenda is exactly what DC needs right now, and his leadership will finally take the council in the right direction.

I, like many Wilson students, have lived in DC for my whole life, and I absolutely love it here. However, DC policy, and the elected officials who enact it, have made me worry about the city I call home. I worry that in order to protect their rich donors, our city councilmembers have made DC unaffordable for many of its working-class residents. I worry that our government has stopped caring about its constituents, instead caring more about their sudden rise to the national stage or their political futures. I worry that while DC has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS per capita in the US, especially in Black and Hispanic communities, Mayor Bowser has pushed to take money away for HIV/AIDS prevention. I worry that soon DC will no longer be a city that I’m proud to live in. But I believe that through specific policy proposals, Ed Lazere has the key to bringing progressive, moral leadership to the council. This campaign has given me faith that if we try, DC can become a city for the many, rather than a city for the few.   

Unfortunately, I am not eighteen, and neither is most of my peer group. So, instead of voting, I am doing the only thing I can do: volunteering. It is, to be completely honest, tiring work, but I stick to it. I stick to it because I understand that this is about so much more than just one person. This election gives DC a choice about what path we want to follow. Currently, the path we are on will lead to a city filled with homelessness, police violence, and corporate money in politics. The path we can choose will create a city in which immigrants can live without fear of ICE bursting through their door, a city where families making less than $30,000 a year can afford housing, and a city where sex workers can earn their living without fear of arrest or harassment. 

We all have the chance to improve the lives of 800,000 Washingtonians, so I make the decision to spend my weekends on my feet, dropping off campaign flyers that the vast majority of people will ignore. Because those who don’t ignore it will help create a better, more just DC.