Photo courtesy of Alana John
Photo courtesy of Alana John

Why I’m Done Waiting

May 11, 2021

Grassroots organizing has become a political buzzword connoting people power and a politician’s connection to their community. 

While many campaigns use it in their commercials and pamphlets, few deserve the title. Big-name campaigns are funded by big-name corporations, which are decidedly against the good of the people. Even the congressional beacon of progressive politics, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez accepted $60,690 from PACs and candidate committees but med student and former congressional candidate Solomon Rajput defied this political norm. I joined Solomon’s campaign as a phone banker in March 2020, calling voters for over 200 hours from March to August, and it paid off. With 400 volunteers aged 13-28 contributing 8-14 hours every week and a well-built infrastructure encompassing everything he wanted to see in other campaigns as a tried and true progressive organizer, he won the hearts of 25,000 people in Michigan’s 12th District against the 85-year Dingell dynasty.

But while Solomon’s grassroots fundraising of $141,497 from individual contributions was not ultimately enough to win the congressional seat, it kickstarted a new idea. Throughout his campaign, Solomon’s slogan was “Solomon Rajput is done waiting,” and in August 2020, he and his former campaign manager, law student Akshita Verma, co-founded an organization with that same sentiment. 

Done Waiting is an army of young progressives who call voters nationwide to advocate for progressive policies, partner with progressive campaigns, and further the progressive movement. And we have a platform with a backbone. We support the Green New Deal, tuition-free college, canceling student debt, Medicare for All, racial justice, criminal justice reform, and are against corporate money. Done Waiting is also wholly composed of young people. Solomon is our oldest member at 29, while everyone else is in middle school, high school, and college. Most people in the National Team are in high school.

During its official launch in September 2020, I was excited to join the National Team. As the head of email marketing, I write and send emails to the thousands of supporters on our email list, sharing policies, anecdotes, and special updates. Helping launch partnerships and sharing news and policies with the public can be challenging, but with support from the National Team and feedback from fellow progressives, it is always rewarding to share the tangible differences we are making in politics. Yet while Done Waiting is a well-oiled machine, it is also a friendly and transparent environment with an emphasis on political policy, mental health, and plenty of fun. It has been a shock being in such a relaxed, transparent environment for my first glimpse into politics. I was under the pretense that politics was all closed doors and pandering for donations, but the warm atmosphere of our COVID-friendly online community has changed my outlook. Training is steady, phonebank leaders are understanding, and the National Team holds many socials and workshops available monthly.

I’m proud to say that Done Waiting has made strides in the movement during the past ten months. We called 20,000 Michigan residents encouraging them to contact their representative, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, to support the Green New Deal. We were a driving force in FL-3 congressional candidate Adam Christensen’s win in his Democratic primary, making more than 60,000 calls in less than two months. Because of our work, Adam turned out historic numbers of Democrats and Independents in a Republican stronghold. During the Georgia Senate Runoff, we worked with Activate America, formerly Flip the West, to increase Democratic voter turnout by directly speaking to over 15,000 Georgia voters. We deep canvassed voters in Florida over Medicare 4 All, making 77,209 calls. And currently, we are partnering with former Ohio state senator, Bernie 2016 campaign surrogate, “Our Revolution” president, and fervent progressive Nina Turner in her congressional campaign in Ohio’s 11th District’s special election. She is leading the polls and considering the 100,000+ calls we made for her in the past two months, it is clear that Done Waiting is making a difference.

Done Waiting is unlike any other political organization out there. While it enables grassroots organizing and fundraising while increasing Democratic and progressive turnout nationally, it also directly turns political opinion into change. There’s no other youth-led organization where hundreds of students contribute 4-10 hours every week regularly to grassroots organizing. There’s no other army of young progressives that offers their services completely free of charge. 

That’s why I’m Done Waiting for change.

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