Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.
M. L. King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)


a ton of bricks

ever feel like a ton of bricks has been dropped on you?

well, right now i feel kinda like that. except its more like i'm being waterboarded. with bricks in stead of water.

its hard to breathe, my face hurts, and every time i see the light at the end of the tunnel, they let up just enough to bring me back.

but mainly its hard to breathe.


You should get to know this face

I wrote this early last night but forgot to post it.

So i'm sitting in ma Fischer's right now, waiting for some organizers to get some food with me, and I figured now'd be a good time to recognize.

To recognize that in my hard work and total immersion of campaign organizing, I had lost some of my inspiration.

But now I feel it again.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry



I'm so impressed and intimidated by others' ability to write.


my motivation and inspiration.

Obama Campaign Worker Allegedly Attacked

Victim Talks To 12 News In Exclusive Interview

POSTED: 8:26 pm CDT October 18, 2008
UPDATED: 11:44 pm CDT October 18, 2008
Police in Caledonia are investigating the assault of a campaign volunteer as she was canvassing for Senator Barack Obama Saturday afternoon.In an exclusive interview with 12 News, 58 year-old Nancy Takehara of Chicago says she was going door-to-door when she came across a disgruntled homeowner.“The next thing I know he’s telling us we’re not his people, we’re probably with ACORN, and he started screaming and raving,” Takehara said. “He grabbed me by the back of the neck. I thought he was going to rip my hair out of my head. He was pounding on my head and screaming. The man terrified me.”

The man eventually stopped and the Caledonia police were called. Takehara was asked if she needed medical assistance, but she was not seriously injured. Instead, she says she was shaken up by the homeowner’s reaction.“This negative stuff has to stop,” said Takehara. “We’re all Americans. This is all about protecting our democracy, not about attacking each other.”Takehara was encouraged when she had a message waiting at home from the candidate she is fighting for.

Takehara called back and she and Senator Obama talked one-on-one.Takehara said, “Senator Obama understood… it was wonderful. It made me feel wonderful. It made me feel connected to this government again.”The Obama campaign did not want to comment on the incident at this time.Police tell 12 News they are still investigating the case and will forward the complaint to the Racine County District Attorney’s office after it’s completed.



My oldest sister, Colleen, got married today.

I couldn't be happier for her, for her new husband, and all the people that they are going to touch throughout their lives.

Colleen Hawks is an amazing women. Her Maid of Honor, my sister Laura, had asked me to help her with her toast, so we spent a couple of minutes early today going over what she had written. We talked about her talents, like an amazing sense of direction, being able to change a flat, and being pretty bad ass in general, and that was fun.

But was also had a chance to talk about her qualities, those things that she inherently embodies, the things that Laura and I look up to Colleen for. And what we were most captured by was her infinite capacity for love and compassion.

Everything I learned about treating people well, I learned from her.

Everything I learned about staying positive, I learned from her.

Everything I learned showing respect, and treating people with compassion, Colleen taught me.

Colleen Catherine Hollan, I hope to one day love the way you do, to work the way you do, and to live out your passions the way you do, but thank you for at least showing me how its done.

I'm so proud to be your brother.


I'll never say "sorry"

Luke Grosser taught us to respect every POV.

He also taught us never to say sorry.

What I do know is that almost entirely, each and every one of you were correct and right and real, in your response to me. I owe you more than a blog post, and I hope to reach you before this blog gets posted (I delayed the post a little bit, so that I could reach all of you). No, this post is about moving forward.

For me, right now, I am prone to moments of frustration. I'm working 16-18 hour days. That means that I get very few outlets for dealing with a lot of the tension and anxiety I feel. And there is a lot of that.

Sometimes, its going to manifest itself in a way that is negative, or insulting, or demeaning.

Please, call me out for it. I'm not going to ask for your understanding, because I've already got it. I'm not going to ask you to ignore me, because my frustration is real too.

I'm certainly not going to ask for your forgiveness.

The reality is that I'm always going to have moments of self-centered frustration, and it may on occasion manifest itself here. So don't be surprised if it pops up again.


And the firestorm descended...

...well. I wrote something last night, and scheduled it to be posted it at midnight tonight, but I ended up writing this, in response to an email sent to me. and I decided this was better. I'll probably let that other post go up too, but this is more important.

"Firstly, I think that everything you've said, and Alex too, is real. I don't challenge you on any point.

What I wrote was largely inappropriate, and disrespectful.

I haven't been able to show my appreciation for you. I haven't been able to show my respect for you. I didn't feel like I could do it in writing. It wouldn't do the job.

I did the most I could to have real conversation with you. I was hoping I could show you at least that much respect. But everything I had wasn't enough. So it goes.

While I won't defend that post, I'm not apologizing for it either.

Because you're right, I've got a lot of pressure on me right now, and there are nights were I come home and I hear the stories about concerts and fires on beaches and its frustrating. Its frustrating because I haven't had a day off since the beginning of August.

I just think that it's important that we all look at those posts as moments, and we all have moment's when our vision is narrowed.

I'm not approaching that blog as a way to capture my most conscience self, but my least. More an outlet to capture some of the flashes of inspiration and frustration that hit me from day to day than soap box to preach from. Maybe it's irresponsible blogging, but at the same time, I got to hear a lot more of people's opinions than I've heard for months.

And the frankness and honesty was appreciated."

Thank you all, for your responses. I need you, and sometimes I'm going to forget that.

Thanks for reminding me.



I'm really frustrated with some of the people that I grew up with.

I've always thought that I was the weakest among us. Was I wrong?

Or was I the only one to leave high school with a vision that extended beyond myself? Can you not see that our society has reached its tipping point?

I realized that this moment was bigger than my insecurities; why didn't you?

Why couldn't I be the leader for you that you were for me? Should I have asked more of you?

Should I have challenged you?


The kitchen sink

is headed our way.

Be ready, young warriors of truth!


An Organizer

Finally, today, I felt like an organizer.

Jenny, a math teacher at Elm Creative Arts school, wrangled together a team that can succeed, and I couldn't be more excited.

Thank god for Miles.

Jenny McKillen came into 170 S Second street once, about a month ago. That office was a jungle, filled with cables like pythons, always at your neck ready to strangle you. At the time, my organization needed help. It was lacking leaders, people that would be able to bring this diverse and divided community together. Nicole Derse, the state field director, calls these leaders Obama Team Members. I do to.

Jenny walked into the office wondering if we still needed volunteers. She found out quickly that we needed much more than that. Our first conversation was about what it meant to be an Obama Team Member--one responsible for organizing their community, accountable for meeting metrics set by the campaign, and trained to do it. It meant at least 10 hours a week.

"You know, Tyler," she said, "I've been thinking about getting involved like this, but I've felt like I needed a little push." Then she paused. It was a pregnant pause--I could see that her body was tight, her mouth clenched, and in her eyes I could see that if I said the just the right thing, with inspiration and purpose, she would be hooked. Instead I said nothing, but smiled, and met her gaze.

Jenny made her own decision, relying on her own purpose.

Tonight she held her first meeting, bringing in two more team members: Lisa (her daughter) and Lisa (her colleague). Miles prepared for the meeting. The team, Team One, got their metrics: 990 doors knocked this week, 500 dials. Plus, they needed 189 canvass shifts filled for Election day, 100 more for the entire Get Out the Vote weekend, and they needed to recruit 4 more leaders to manage those canvassers.

That's a helluva tall order for 25 days, but no one backed out. Instead, Jenny, Lisa, and Lisa quickly started indentifying other friends, relatives, co-workers who could come. They figured out how many canvasses they would need to have to make 990 knocks.

They pooled their resources, their energy, and their commitment.

On Monday, they will have a canvass with at least 8 people, and they're still building. They decided to have one on Thursday too, and afterwards they'd go out for some Gautemalan food. Each one of them there was going to take off work on Election Day.

In the little conference room in the back of the old Region 4 UAW building, 5 individuals shared a vision, put aside individual insecurities, and grabbed hold of the moment. All for change, for progress, and united by a simple truth. Hope.

'Organizing' is a seeing. It is about seeing the relationships around you, and not the relationships to you. It is about seeing the common purpose, and understanding its intrinsic value. Organizing is seeing harmony in the space between perspectives, instead of discord.

Organizing is about celebrating the individual within the movement.


United Auto, Aerospace, and Argiculture Implement Workers of America

Today, in the middle of call time, James came in.

James was the first black man from my turf who had come into my office, but that first time he was only looking for yard signs. On that day, call time was especially slow, and so I had the opportunity to talk with him, to invite him to volunteer, and to convince him that making phone calls would be nearly as hard as he thought it would be. I didn't succeed, but I did have the chance to find out that he was stopping by after dropping off his daughter at dance class, and that her dance class was weekly.

So when he told me that he didn't have enough time to make any calls, 'cause he had to pick up his daughter in 15 minutes, I told him that if he came back next week we could hit the phones.

Well, tonight he came back. I was totally not ready. A lot happens in 7 days, but I did feel accomplished in that I was able to remember the story, and the reason.

James and I sat down to get him ready to make some volunteer list dials, emotionally-speaking very, very easy dials, but I could tell that James was resisting it.

It was the kind of resistance that comes from fear, something that rises naturally and is sincere.

He started challenging me on a number of things, distracting from the phone calls.

He asked me, "So what goes on in this office usually?" He gestures to the rest of the building, the vacant offices.

I work in the United Auto Workers building, for the all the different locals in Milwaukee County.

Thing is, there are only two locals left, and one's retirees.


28 days

I'm worried. I'm so worried about what's coming down the pike. The worst side of America has yet to rear its ugly head, and it will within the next 28 days.

I had a friend who told me today story that made me want to cry.

He was confronted by some ignorant thugs in a gas station. Mike called it a "tattoo convention" inside of a gas station. One of the girls in the crowd, I guess, turns to her boyfriend and says,

"Look at that nigger wearing his Obama t-shirt."

By the end of that night, Mike ended up with his face kicked, hands cuffed, and slapped with a disorderly conduct ticket.

This is only the beginning.

The hate will reign down on us as if we were sinners. A righteous fury will attempt to damn us for our transgression. People in gas stations will see themselves as God.

But this movement, we are stronger than their God.

Stronger, because we don't need to be right.
Stronger, because we will never be put down.
Stronger, because no one is an outsider.



Today was frustrating, but still showed some promise.

YES! Colleen just called and said that she was heading over. Score.

Talk about showing promise. Tomorrow will be better.

I woke up today with the 'rang-rang-rang-rang-rang' of my alarm, looked at my phone, and quickly calculated how much time it would actually take me to get out of my house and to the Obama Team Member training that was being held for Get Out the Vote.

It was 7:30. If I really focused, I could probably get out of the shower, clothes on, and into the car in 15 minutes. If its going to take 25 minutes to get there...

And I was passed out, taking advantage of my extra 20 minutes of sleep.

I woke up in a panic. I fell back asleep harder than anticipated (that's what usually happens) and had no idea what time it was. Fuck. I'm going to be late. This is a bad week to fuck up again.

I checked my phone again. 8:00. Fuck. Ten minutes late. I rolled out of bed, stumbled to the bathroom and hopped in the shower.

I lowered my shoulder and plowed through the shower and the dressing, hopped in my dirty, disgusting, smelly, awful car.

Was totally grossed out by it. Again.


For starters

The reason why I'm writing today? Why I now have a blog?

I feel like I need to explain the heart of this blog, but it won't happen today.

Today, I have a bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

What's to keep me moving forward? Why do I wake up tomorrow, wide eyed and ready to spring into a full day's work? Why will I take stretch every minute, turn every encounter into something positive and meaningful?

Why will I spend another day fighting?

Well, for starters, because you know that it's right. Because you understand that Barack Obama can guide this country, and bring it to knew heights.

Because you know that Barack can bring this community together. Bring Milwaukee together.

I fight for Kerry Williams, I fight for Neil McKeown. I fight to balance the injustices of our time.

I fight to end poverty, greed, and arrogance.

I fight for Rory Linnane, and for Colleen Monahan.

I fight for our freedoms, for our commitment to truth.

I fight for Patrick Taylor and Alex Kondrad.

I fight so that each one of us can live like Nik Nadolski.

I will own my creed, to return my gifts back onto the world.

And that is why I will not lose focus. Every moment wasted is opportunity squandered. These are not times to squander opportunity.

I will fight for the UAW, for the Delphi workers, and the South Milwaukee firefighters. I will fight for those made incapable of fighting for themselves.

I will fight because I know the power of organizing, and because the price of failure is too great.

I will fight for Barack, but only because that means fighting for us.