By Marco Meneghin
Last weekend, Equality California stormed Las Vegas with 25 volunteers to get out the vote. Partnering with our friends at the Los Angeles Stonewall Democratic Club, we hopped a charter bus at eight in the morning on Friday for the four-hour drive to Nevada. After a brief orientation, we were treated to some inspiring words from Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman (D-Las Vegas) and Assemblymember Nelson Araujo (D-Las Vegas).
Sen. Spearman, an ordained minister, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, and doctor, is the first openly lesbian member of the Nevada legislature. She fired up our volunteers by speaking directly to a perceived “enthusiasm gap” saying, “We have a reason to vote; we have a reason to fight!” Assemblymember Araujo painted a stark picture of the choice facing us on November 8th: “We’ve gone too far forward to go one thousand steps back.” With that in the back of our minds, we hit the streets to get out the vote.
Many of our volunteers were struck by the generosity of voters, some of whom let us into their homes to have conversations. One volunteer encountered an 86-year-old Japanese-American woman who had watched members of her family hauled into internment camps during World War II. She could not wrap her head around the racist overtones and anti-immigrant sentiment pervading the airwaves during this campaign season. To her, none of that rhetoric reflected the America that she knew.
The weekend also marked Pride Weekend in Las Vegas, and our contingent of EQCA and Stonewall Democratic Club volunteers joined thousands of others marching in the Pride parade as well as participating in the weekend long Pride Festival in Vegas’ Sunset Park.
Saturday brought a surprise for all of us, as our second shift of canvassing was kicked off by a rally at UNLV headlined by Nevada Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto and none other than international superstar Katy Perry, who used the opportunity at UNLV to make a point about the importance of voting: “You have as much power as any billionaire- as any lobbyist- when you vote!”
After two long days of knocking on doors and making phone calls in this crucial swing state, we headed back to Los Angeles to rest up before the start of another week. But if you missed the trip and wish you could have your own Nevada campaign experience, don’t worry. We’ll be heading back to Las Vegas in less than two weeks for Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) weekend, November 5-6. For more details and how to sign up for our upcoming trip, just head to www.eqca.org/nevada.