Organizing in Omaha and small towns with meatpacking plants is altering politics in this reddest of states.
David Bacon, The American Prospect
October 21, 2016
Sixty miles south of the Arizona border, the devastation from a toxic spill has led to an epochal battle between a transnational mining conglomerate and an alliance of miners and farmers.
If the winds of political change are starting to blow in Nebraska, the center of the storm is a third-floor office on 24th Street in South Omaha. There, huge maps of eight targeted precincts in Ward 4 line the walls of the Heartland Workers Center (HWC), covered in red dots for all the people organizers have spoken with over the past six months. Little stickers highlight the key issues in each neighborhood.
Every afternoon on weekdays, and all day on weekends, a row of reconditioned iPhones sits on a table next to clipboards holding signup lists and Spanish-language voter-education brochures. Rain or shine, young Latino organizers climb the stairs to pick up their packets and then fan out into the streets.
This is not an old-fashioned paper-based effort, though. Derek Ramirez, HWC’s data cruncher, has loaded voter information derived from the Voter Activation Network database onto the iPhones. This allows precinct walkers to know house by house whom they’re talking to, and to immediately input the information they receive—updating the office’s database in real time.[...]
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