Indivisible Nova West’s Efforts to Turn Brentsville Blue

| November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments | Community

Indivisible NOVA West with delegate-elect Danica Roem at the Nov. 7 election viewing party at Grafton Street.

Tuesday night, a small group of progressives met at restaurant in Gainesville’s Virginia Gateway for an election viewing party that quickly became a celebration.

It became a “I remember where I was when moment” when the attendees witnessed Danica Roem (13th District) learn she had defeated 26-year Virginia House veteran Bob Marshall and collapse with joy.

Roem became the nation’s first transgender state delegate, having defeated the man best known in Virginia for his anti-LGBTQ agenda.

There, in front of her Gainesville supporters, she gave an abridged version of her victory speech, saying “it doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, or how you rock… if you are qualified and you have good ideas for public policy – and you have a phone that won’t stop ringing – then put your ideas on the table, because you can serve.”

“Danica, we will see you in Richmond!” someone called.

About an hour and a half later, the group listened to Roem once again, this time, live on CNN. They cheered, laughed and pointed to friends appearing on the television screen.

The party that night was subgroup within the Prince William Democratic Party, but they were also a part of a nation-wide moment called “Indivisible.”

Indivisible was born after Donald Trump won the election. After the Woman’s March, liberals were encouraged to lead, volunteer and take definitive action. Think globally, act locally, was the mantra. No election was too small, and that citizens should engage in all levels of government.

The members of Indivisible Nova West were founded in much the same way. Most were not politically active until after the 2016 election. Living in the Northern Virginia Republican outburbs, they had to ask: is anyone out there? Does anyone agree with me?

Cher Muzyk created the Facebook group, last year. “I had to search out likeminded people. Turns out it wasn’t that hard to find them.”

After finding that community, she became more politically active and joined the Prince William Democratic Committee.

“Democrats are energized,” she said, Tuesday night. “New people are breeding new life into Prince William County.”

The members of Indivisible Nova West have similar origin stories. Most are career women and mothers, college-educated and politically well-informed. Many are new to the area, having lived previously in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington or states north of Virginia.

Tracy Sarang of Haymarket (40th District) believes its no longer your mother’s western Prince William County. “It’s being populated by new people, and we’re not going anywhere.”

Many Republicans say that in this election Republicans were caught up in an anti-Trump tide. Indivisible members do not doubt it. They themselves have been propelled by the #resist movement. However, they also know the election was hard-won by those who fought behind the scenes.

Indivisible members canvassed for the election, knocking on doors for several weekends. They informed themselves about the candidates. They volunteered at the polls and phone banks.

“We went to more doors than have been gone to in the past,” said Sarang, saying they talked to many people who have never been canvassed before.

Before the 2017 election, they mobilized supporting the marchers from Charlottesville. They relentlessly requested Congressman Rob Wittman hold a public town hall meeting, but they also have championed important issues.

Lana Craven of Haymarket explained the election was more than just a referendum on Trump. As they knocked on doors, they asked residents what issues were important to them. They got an earful.

“Charlottesville, healthcare, fears about our public schools being defunded, and gerrymandering,” is what Craven heard. She told residents it was “time for a change.”

Indivisible member Warwick Steer was a native of England but became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2003. Trump woke him to action while he was a presidential candidate.

“I fully accepted that Hillary was going to win,” he said, but he still began to register people to vote, realizing that voting “is the minimum you can do.”

But even as they share stories of how western Prince William has embraced them, they still witness resistance to Prince William turning blue.

Muzyk who handed out ballots at Brentsville District High School, Tuesday, was called “crazy” to “on drugs,” “out of her mind” and “evil,” by opposition voters. One woman told her she needed to get herself to church. Muzyk said her Republican counterpart became so menacing, stalking her around the parking lot, that another woman felt the need to intervene and even contact the Republican Party.

But the Brentsville precinct was an anomaly. All over the Brentsville District, Indivisible saw greater Democratic turnout than expected, and Republicans anticipated a Trump backlash with a highly energized Democratic Party.

Tuesday night,while most of the Democrats enjoyed a bigger celebration in Lake Ridge, NOVA Indivisible had a more intimate celebration. They knew they had done their part, and they had each others’ backs. Now, they are feeling hopeful and have big plans for their party and their county.

Bristow Beat received a response from the Prince William Republican Committee, Friday.

“It is unfortunate to hear that a Democratic volunteer was made to feel uncomfortable by one of our volunteers. We are looking into this to verify the validity of the accusations. If it is true, this behavior is unacceptable and does not represent our values. This type of behavior is strictly prohibited by our workers,” said Dottie Miller, Chairwoman of the Prince William County Republican Committee

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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