It all began in the summer of 2008.
Barack Obama had won the Democratic nomination for President, but the general election was looking “a little dicey,” recalls longtime political activist Margot Lindsay, who was 83, lived in a retirement community outside Boston, and hadn’t liked what she’d seen during the Bush years.
“What are we going to do?” Margot started asking her friends and neighbors.
These savvy and tenacious grandmas are fighting for justice.
Soon, she and a few like-minded older women from throughout the Boston area had coalesced into a group—they called themselves Grandmothers For Obama—but they weren’t inclined to make phone calls or go door-to-door.
“At our age and stage, the telephone’s difficult,” Margot explains. “And certainly ringing doorbells is not part of our genes anymore.”
The grandmothers also disliked the idea of sending bulk mail to voters already flooded with it.
So they settled on a strategy that felt right to them: with the blessing of the Obama campaign, they targeted older voters in the nearest swing state, New Hampshire, with hand-addressed, hand-signed, hand-stamped postcards explaining why they’d be voting for the Senator from Illinois.
In 2012, when Obama was up for reelection, Margot and her colleagues set up a website and took Grandmothers For Obama national. Chapters of the group formed in 25 states and, collectively, mailed more than 100,000 personalized postcards to older voters in six swing states.
And last year, the group, which by then had changed its name to Grandmothers For a Brighter Future, dispatched more than 177,000 cards on behalf of Hillary Clinton and her down-ballot Democratic allies.
Since the election, the grandmothers have expanded their mission.
Donald Trump won, “but he didn’t get a mandate,” according to the group’s website. “We have emerged from the shock, determined to keep an eagle eye on what both President and Congress do … Determined, too, to do all we can to prevent the harmful moves we fear are coming.”
The group has chosen three causes to fight for in the years ahead: women’s health, voting rights, and environmental protection. They’ll be monitoring and battling the Republican agenda on all of them.
And they’re recruiting more grandmas to make sure they succeed.
Are you interested in raising your voice, too?