Book Parties for the Release of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Reclaiming Our Democracy

Lisa Marchal, Senior Global Grassroots Associate
August 15, 2013

Recently at RESULTS, we’ve begun getting re-inspired for our work by asking ourselves, “What is our story of self, us, and now?” In other words, why am I doing the work of ending poverty (self)? What does it mean for us to work on this together (us)? And why is the issue urgent today (now)?

RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris is helping us get back in touch with the answers to those questions through his 20th Anniversary release of Reclaiming Our Democracy (www.reclaimingourdemocracy.com). This book chronicles Sam’s story as an empowerment leader, organizer, passionnate advocate, and the starter of an organization that has given everyday heroes over 30 years of opportunity to end needless suffering due to extreme poverty.

Be part of celebrating who we are at RESULTS, and invite others into our work by hosting a Reclaiming Our Democracy book party centered around a call with Sam Daley-Harris, Dr. Muhammad Yunus, and Joanne Carter.

Saturday, September 21 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT

Conference Call with: Sam Daley-Harris, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter

This brief call can serve as the centerpiece for your fun outreach book party. You can introduce new people to their own political power and build your group by showcasing the strength of RESULTS.

Downloadable Tools for Your Party Planning

Questions? Contact Ken Patterson, Global Grassroots Manager.

Words from Sam

Here are words from Sam Daley-Harris, the author of Reclaiming Our Democracy and the founder of RESULTS on how it all begin:

When I look back my first turning point was when a high school friend died the day before my high school graduation in 1964 and then Robert Kennedy died on college graduation day four years later. These deaths got me to ask the questions of purpose at a pretty early age. Why am I here? What am I here to do? What is my purpose?

Nine years later I was invited to a presentation on The Hunger Project. I really thought global hunger was inevitable because there were no solutions. I reasoned that if there were solutions somebody would have done something by then. But at that presentation I realized that there was no mystery to growing food, or accessing basic health or clean water or basic literacy. I wasn’t hopeless about the lack of solutions. I was hopeless about human nature. People would just never get around to doing the things that could be done. But there was one human nature I had some control over, my own. And I had my questions: Why am I here? What am I here to do? So I got involved.

In the late 1970s I spoke to 7,000 high school students. I read statements from the National Academy of Sciences calling for the “political will” to end hunger. I asked the students what the name of their member of Congress was. Two hundred knew and 6,800 didn’t. RESULTS started out of this gap between the call for the political will to end hunger on the one hand and the lack of basic information on who represents us in Washington on the other.

The sad answer as to why we aren’t going inside and actually talking to the law makers is that most people who want big change cannot find an organization capable of empowering them at a level equal to their desire for change. Most organizations ask us for nothing more than a click and a check. They see us as little children who are too busy with play, too distracted, too naïve, and too incapable of doing the homework necessary to go really deep with our democracy.

Book Foreword by Prof. Muhammad Yunus

(Great to include in an RSVP reminder or confirmation e-mail)

It must have been remarkable to many when leading climate scientist James Hansen wrote, “If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of Citizens Climate Lobby.” He could have named any of a number of much larger and more established environmental organizations, but instead he named what was then a four-year-old group with 46 chapters and a staff of five headquartered in San Diego, California.

Hansen’s remarks may have been remarkable to many, but not to me. What Hansen saw was a young organization unbelievably effective for its size and effective on the right things.

That is what I saw when I first met Sam Daley-Harris and RESULTS. It was the summer of 1987 and I was rushed into a small second floor office on Capitol Hill. I was a few minutes late for the first of two conference calls—each with 14 editorial writers from around the United States. I had never been on a conference call before but as I walked in Sam was giving instructions to the group and before I knew it I was making my opening remarks and taking questions from the editorial writers.

During a short break at the end of the first call one of the participants, Kristin Helmore of the Christian Science Monitor, asked if she could join the second call too. Sam said she could stay on but asked her to let the next group of callers ask their questions first. The second call began and 14 more editorial writers from 14 new cities were on the line. After these calls Helmore wrote a four-part series that caught the eye of CBS’ 60 Minutes and prompted them to come to Bangladesh in 1989 and do a story on Grameen Bank.

Those 28 editorial writers agreed to join the call because each had a relationship that was initiated by a RESULTS volunteer in their community. None of the volunteers was an expert on microcredit or on working with the media before they joined RESULTS and none of the editorial writers was enlisted by a member of RESULTS’ tiny staff. But that staff, led by Sam, coached and empowered the volunteers to these breakthroughs and to many more.

I understand how it is a major gift for someone like Hansen to finally see his proposal for a fee on carbon with the fee returned to the public championed in newspapers and Congressional offices across the country thanks to the efforts of Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers, because that is what RESULTS did with microcredit in 1987 and continues to do to this day. I am also sure that the late Jim Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF, experienced the same feeling of hope in 1986 after RESULTS generated 90 editorials supporting a successful effort to triple the child survival fund when he wrote, “I thank you in my mind at least weekly for what you and your colleagues are accomplishing. . . .”

What runs through Hansen and Grant’s experience and mine too is the brilliance of Sam Daley-Harris, the brilliance of a methodology that he and others began developing at RESULTS in 1980 and shared with Citizens Climate Lobby in 2007, and the brilliance of every volunteer who has ever seriously embraced that methodology.

Make no mistake, this book is not about advocacy by mouse click, phone messages left at Congressional switchboards, handwritten letters drafted during coffee hour and then forgotten, or lighting up Facebook and Twitter. It is about uncovering and then lighting up the unquenchable desire in each of us to make a difference in the world. It is about providing a powerful structure of support so that our courage is what drives us, not our fear. That is why this 20th anniversary edition of Reclaiming Our Democracy is so critically important. The courage this book shows us how to unleash is our only hope to save creation for our grandchildren and for theirs.

Reclaiming Our Democracy Book Tour Schedule (Updated August 21)

September 17, 5:00 pm, University of California at Berkeley – Room B10 Blum Hall

September 25, 6:30–8:30 pm lecture, NYU Wagner School, Rudin Room

September 26, 6:00–7:30 pm lecture, Columbia University, Earl Hall

October 1, 5:00 pm lecture, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Cole Cinema

October 2, 7:00–8:30 pm lecture, University of Richmond

October 3, 5:00 pm lecture, University of Mary Washington, Monroe Basement

October 8, 7:00 pm lecture, Indiana University, CG 1034 (1st floor, Kelley Graduate Building)

October 9, 5:30 pm lecture, The Humphrey School, U of Minnesota, Cowles Auditorium

October 10, 7:30–9:00 pm lecture, The College of St. Benedict, St. John’s University, Founders Room (SJU Quadrangle 220)

October 11, 4:00–5:30 pm lecture, Northwestern University, Harris Hall Room 107

October 23, 12:00–1:30 pm lecture, University of Texas, Sid Richardson Hall, Room 3.122

October 24, lecture, Rice University, Brockman 101

October 25, lecture, University of Houston (TBD)

October 28, 5:00–6:30 pm lecture, University of New Hampshire, Stafford Room, Memorial Union Building

November 4, 4:00–5:30 pm lecture, University of Michigan

November 5, 7:30–9:00 pm, Science Center, West Lecture Hall, Oberlin College

November 7, 9:30–10:30 am, 255 Orson Spencer Hall, Hinckley Institute, University of Utah

November 8, Brigham Young University (TBD)

November 15, lecture, One Table Café, Princeton, NJ (TBD)

November 19, Lecture 5:00–6:30 pm, Mitchell Auditorium, Drexel University School of Public Health

March 13, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (TBD)