What began as eight like-minded women in a suburban Oklahoma living room shortly after the November 2016 election, the Edmond Democratic Women group has exploded into a community of women passionate about changing the political outcome for the better. Like a fish swimming upstream, we are a blue force in a very red state.
Those original eight women left that November meeting with hopes of putting together a group of 35-40 like-minded women who could possibly make a difference in the future of Edmond and Oklahoma politics. They set a goal to reach out via email with anyone in the Edmond area that might be of a similar leaning when it came to politics about a January meeting at Dana Shadid’s home. With only a word of mouth movement, 52 women packed into Shadid’s living room on January 23, 2017.
Many were motivated to come because of anger at the elected officials and the momentum created by the Women’s Marches the weekend prior. All were there to learn more about this group that they hoped could make a difference in the political environment that existed. All in attendance were asked to share their hopes for a group such as this (on paper because there were too many passionate women to be able to verbally share their thoughts). With that, they set another meeting date for February and charged with recruiting even more women.
From the meeting on January 23 to the meeting on February 12, the list of interested women had increased to 110. And after the February meeting, the list was up to 150. Word was spreading quickly about this group of women IN EDMOND, a very red community. Many came from outside Edmond because they had no such resource – or support group – in their port of Oklahoma County or Logan County. Again, all communication had been by word of mouth only, and the newest challenge was finding a place to meet for a group that large. Luckily, one of the members lived at a retirement home, Bradford Village, and secured meeting spaces for a group that continued to grow with each meeting.
All of the ‘infrastructure” of the organization was put in place with officers elected, by-laws written, committees created and dues established. Excellent speakers were recruited for the meetings and the word of a large and active group of Democratic Women in Edmond, Oklahoma (of all places) was spreading throughout the state. Speakers were ASKING to come and address our group. Committee members were actively reaching out to legislators about issues and concerns and others were working on behalf of Democratic candidates facing elections.
As of the date of this writing (September 2017), there are over 325 individuals (men and women) on the master list and, of those, over 170 have officially joined and paid their dues. This for a group that was only a dream of eight women a mere 10 months earlier.
The rapidity of the growth has at times been challenging, but the size of the group when all are together continues to be impressive and rewarding for all those who have joined. There is no question that the timing was right for such a movement in Edmond. The founders just had no idea that there would be so many eager activists wanting to be a part of it.
When one of the members was asked why she was a member her response was “This is a group that doesn’t just meet. It acts.” The Edmond Democratic Women is already making a positive impact on our community, our state and our country, and we’re are only getting started.
~ Dana Shadid