What began as a national movement culminating in the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21 is now becoming more localized, as people supporting many causes have come home and are being encouraged to start “huddle” groups.
In Elkin, Laurie Dyer came home from participating in a sister march in Charlotte with her youngest daughter who now lives in the Queen City, and she was inspired and moved to do more. She reached out to her Facebook friends “calling on any Elkin women interested in organizing against Trump’s agenda.”
She said she created a private group on Facebook, Elkin Huddle, and it had about 25 members, but the word got out and 44 adults, both women and men, along with several children and babies, attended a first gathering last Thursday night at the Elkin Recreation Center.
“It took about a week to find a place to meet,” said Dyer, who said meeting places are still hard to come by.
A younger person helped organize the Facebook group, and Dyer said by the end of the night Thursday, it had 144 members. Then, by the end of the weekend, it had 288. It is set up so members of the group can add their friends to the private group.
“I thought that was amazing,” she said.
One of the elements of forming the Elkin Huddle that stands out the most to Dyer is that people can realize there are more people who are like-minded about issues than they might have thought.
“Elkin has traditionally been a democratic, liberal town, so we are not a group of odd balls. There are a lot of like-minded people, and it was encouraging to see them together,” Dyer said.
To keep the momentum going, the group asked for a show of hands on those who would be interested in helping organize and coordinate as leaders. Those who are interested in being leaders will meet Tuesday at Elkin Creek Vineyard at 7 p.m. for a small group to decide on the group’s mission and action plan.
A larger public meeting for those who want to participate in the Elkin Huddle will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Elkin Creek Vineyard, 318 Elkin Creek Mill Road, Elkin.
“I had wanted to get people together and start taking action. We decided [at the first meeting] to meet again in one week and the smaller group would get together Tuesday to come up with an agenda and narrow our focus,” said Dyer. “We are taking it one step at a time and seeing what happens.
“I think what I am hoping for is being able to share information with each other as we learn what are really effective strategies in making change with our legislators,” she said. “I was surprised when I read how many Republican state legislators ran unopposed in their districts.”
Dyer wants to use the “Indivisible Guide,” created by legislative staffers on the best ways to effectively reach out to elected officials, to help guide those in the movement to garner change. “If each community worked on their two representatives and senators, we can get them to represent us better,” she said.
But she also noted that the Elkin Huddle is large enough with participants that if a person has a specific issue of concern to address, there are likely others in the group who will help with that target issue.
“I don’t think this will be a one or two issue group,” Dyer said. “You have allies in what you want to do.
“This is a movement, not something that is going to dissipate and go away,” she continued. “I’ve been amazed by the power of social media in spreading the word.”
Beyond Thursday’s large meeting nothing has yet been scheduled. Dyer said the group is working to get organized first.
“Anyone is welcome,” she added. “There are Republicans who may have something they don’t agree with everything happening. You don’t have to be a registered Democrat, anyone with concerns can come.
“This is very grassroots.”
She encouraged those interested in being part of the movement to have their friends add them to the Elkin Huddle Facebook group and to attend Thursday’s meeting.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.