.
from our candidates and party) and looked for unique ways to maximize our impact
ahead of Election Day.

We began organizing here nearly two years ahead of the crucial South Carolina
presidential primary. And like the "25 Things" survey, we were everywhere.
Stonewall Democrats made sure that dozens of our members were on hand to greet
presidential candidates as they packed a parking garage in Columbia for the
Congressman Jim Clyburn Fish Fry in 2007. When campaigns opened offices in the
state, we showed up. When it came time to organize for events like the South Carolina
Black Pride Celebration, we made sure that presidential candidates sent staff and
surrogates on their behalf. We were there to credential staff at presidential debates,
register reporters and press events, volunteer at phone banks and ask tough questions
of candidates at town halls.
Prior to the last election cycle, Democratic campaigns often expected to encounter the
LGBT community at black-tie fundraisers in big cities, but not always at places like
historically Black college campuses in South Carolina. We changed that perception.
That resulted in better policy from our candidates and better participation from our
community ahead of the presidential primary.
Stonewall Democrats in South Carolina realized that our local organizing could impact
national politics. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on slick ads and materials,
we worked with the national office of Stonewall Democrats to identify unique
opportunities that grassroots organizing could advance good policy.

Apart from a national impact, our unique organizing continues to change our own state.
We applied this same successful organizing model as we set out to reshape our state
party, once known to some as a "good ol' boys" type club. We organized alongside
allies to elect new party leadership and the South Carolina Democratic Party is now one
of the most aggressive state parties in organizing
.
www.ambiente.us  MARCH | MARZO 2009

How Facebook Got Me Elected | How the New Media Helped
Make Me the the First Openly-Gay Official in South Carolina
by Nick Shalosky

I used Facebook to become the first openly-gay elected official in South Carolina. At 21,
I'm now the youngest member of the Charleston County Constituent School Board (and
the only one under the age of 40).

I almost didn't get elected. Two weeks before the election this November, I didn't even
know that I was going to be a candidate. However, as I was early voting, I saw that no
one had filed for my local school board seat. Education is important to me (I'm still in
college), so with the lack of participation in the school board race, I decided to put my
name in as a write-in candidate.
Within two weeks, I had organized enough support to get elected to public office. I
texted friends, sent a few emails, and talked with some local bloggers. But, I primarily
organized by setting up a Facebook event page, inviting local voters to join, and
following up with them to make sure that they knew my name and wrote it in on the
appropriate ballot line on Election Day.

Facebook provided me with an avenue to quickly organize after jumping into
.
.
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the race with only two weeks before
Election Day. Such rapid mobilization
might not have been possible only
two years ago. But, with a Facebook
page and a knowledge of online
organizing, I secured my winning
margin without spending a penny.

My political science professor was
quoted in our local paper as saying
that my model of organizing was "an
indication of the direction of future
campaigns." I wish I could say that
the way I campaigned was a
tremendous foresight into a new
direction of campaigning, but it was
really just a necessity. As Secretary
of the South Carolina Stonewall
Democrats, I was already
preoccupied with getting out the
vote for dozens of other Democrats.
That left little room for my own
campaign (I actually spent Election
Day volunteering for another candidate), but it also left me with an opportunity to try
something different.
Organizing Differently in South Carolina

Stonewall Democrats has a tradition of organizing differently in South Carolina with
great results. As with my campaign, we identified a need (better policy
.
among the LGBT community. That has resulted in positive pressure on politicians
seeking to take pro-equality positions. As with my campaign, Stonewall Democrats
didn't set out to do something earth-shattering. We simply identified a need on the
ground and looked for unique ways to organize effectively.

Advocacy Should Be Easy and Effective
Two years ago, few would have thought that the South Carolina Democratic Party would
become a leading organizer for equality. But, seeing the need for better policy, the
Stonewall Democrats stepped in. Additionally, two years ago I wouldn't have thought
that a kid like me could get elected to public office through a two-week long Facebook
campaign. But, seeing a need for better government I stepped up.

Take a look yourself. Where is there a need in your community? What can you do about
it? Perhaps you don't know where to start. One of the great things about Stonewall
Democrats is that our organization brings together regular Americans who want to work
through the Democratic Party to improve it and to bring about better policy, legislation
and laws. Social networking isn't going to save us, but its one of those easy steps that
we can take to share our message. That's what I did in my election and that's what
Stonewall Democrats does each day.

Take a moment to go to
www.stonewalldemocrats.org to become a member and to and
join the thousands of us doing simple-but-effective actions that are needed to continue
to create change.

Advocacy should be as easy as it is effective. Become a Stonewall Democrat. Then
write your own "25 Things" list on Facebook and talk about how you just joined us as a
member - and encourage others to do so as well. I know that many of you have found
that "25 Things" note overbearing and have resisted reposting it ever since the fad
surfaced nearly a month ago. But, I just broke down and posted my own, and this is a
pretty good excuse for you to do the same.

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