This months' featured SAM Leader is Kristin Gray, for the dedication and service she's already shown on behalf of the Movement! Below is SAM's micro-interview with her!
Q: Why did you decide to become a SAM Leader?
A: Before I joined SAM, I had become a bit politically apathetic. I felt like the cracks and corruption in the two party system, and among politicians, was far bigger than me. Both parties were so extreme and nothing ever seemed to get done in Washington. I didn’t see how I could really affect any change as a busy stay at home mom of three kids. I didn’t identify entirely as a Republican or a Democrat and, even though I felt obligated to vote, it was a matter of choosing the lesser of evils. In this last election especially, it was a relief, sadly, that I felt like my vote wouldn’t matter anyway since I lived in New Jersey. But, I got scared when the election turned out the way it did: we became further divided as a country on so many levels, and were looking at the prospect of nuclear war.
My brother introduced me to SAM and I was totally inspired. All of SAM’s guiding principles resonated with me, and the plan to build a third party seemed substantial and achievable; not just like naïve idealism. I knew we needed change and joining SAM felt like a reasonable and meaningful way to take action. I wanted to help SAM in any way I could!
SAM needs group leaders to build a viable third party alternative, so here I am. Being a SAM leader is a way for me to contribute in a small way to affect change on a much larger scale. I like to think I may have a little hand in changing our nation’s history for the better. And, SAM provides the tools to run a huddle; the format is self-directed; and I can host huddles when it works for me time-wise. There really wasn’t any reason for me, personally, not to become a SAM leader.
Q: What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve learned meeting with people? The most inspiring thing?
A: It is so interesting to me that the people I thought were my most Democratic, and most Republican friends are actually so much more aligned in their views than I expected. The huddle experience has really made me believe that this polarized divide between parties has been manufactured by politicians and the media for self serving reasons.
Along the same lines, it has been so inspiring to feel united, energized, and engaged in talking about politics (with people from both parties) instead of divided and defeated. In my huddle experience, it has been refreshing to have positive, reasonable conversations about shared values, leadership, policies, and the problems that plague our government system. It’s a very different feeling when you turn on the news or start following politicians on twitter.
Q: What advice do you have for other SAM Leaders or those that want to join the ranks?
A: For those that want to join the ranks: do it! I was a little hesitant to invite friends over to talk about the topic you aren’t supposed to bring up at a dinner party: politics, but its so much more interesting and inspiring than you would think. In my experience, everyone walks out of a huddle taking away something positive from it, myself included. I think the key is to genuinely listen. It disarms those politically combative predispositions and there you are having this really respectful, amazing conversation.
I have noticed that while many people share the same opinions on politics and policies, some may not be dialed in to some of the political jargon. Some people follow politics religiously, and some have tuned out. I have found it helpful to give examples of what answers to the questions might be to spark ideas or a conversation. Additionally, I have found that many bright people have the common sense to know what they think but some may need the political language to articulate their ideas. It is helpful to have a common vernacular.
Q: Give us a little about your background?
A: I left a career in Marketing and Product Development to stay home with my three kids!
Interested in being featured by SAM? We regularly feature our most inspiring Leaders on our blog. Become a SAM Leader today!