Organizing Fail

SHOCK: March on Washington Organizers Don’t Even Have Their Email Set Up


The disastrous attempt at organizing a March on Washington for equality this fall just met its latest pitfall. First, activists like Cleve Jones along with the Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs and Torie Osborn declared October 11 would be the date America’s gays would rally on Washington, only to find out three other organizations (with attendance of 135,000 expected) already secured permits for the National Mall that day. Then came a reminder that Congress would be in recess that day, significantly hindering that whole “send a message to legislators” thing. And now we learn that this supposed “grass roots, net-centric” attempt at organizing — which will supposedly attract some 450 delegations from around the U.S. in just four months time — lacks one thing that really helps coordinate these things: an email address.

Osborn, who’s working with a few others on the “National Equality March,” helps operate the single-page website Yes, there is just one page at that website, consisting of an email sign-up form. No social networking tools like Twitter or Facebook links. No viral videos for YouTube. Just an opportunity to receive notifications at some point in the future.

But what email address did Osborn enter in that form? Because she just told activist Michael Petrelis she doesn’t even have an email address set up yet for the march.

We’re four months away from the march, and there’s no preferred way to contact Osborn? says they’re engaged in “decentralized organizing for this march in every one of the 435 Congressional districts [and] will build a network to continue organizing beyond October.” How about a network to begin organizing before October?

In the meantime, Osborn’s operating email address is [email protected] — but don’t email her there, she says. “This is my WORK email. PLEASE DO NOT SEND EMAILS HERE. In process of getting another email and will let you know.”

We’re not even debating whether the march is a good or bad idea — that’s a separate conversation. But if we’re just 120 days away from a nationwide call for equal rights, with tens (or hundreds?) of thousands of supporters expected to charge the National Mall, shouldn’t we at least know how to contact those in charge? You know, the folks who put themselves in charge of a movement without asking anyone else for their input.