First time canvass reflections | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

First time canvass reflections

Lance Soto of the American Indian Movement of Indiana and Kentucky and Logan Fedders prepare to canvass in Covington

Last Friday, May 21, I went door-to-door canvassing for the first time. We were walking around the neighborhood of City Heights to try and hear from the residents what impact the city’s disregard had on their lives. As this was my first time going door-to-door, I was partnered up with my coworker Bethany to help me understand the flow of conversation and all that. Looking back I think the main reason I found the experience so positive is because I had someone to ask questions to and bounce ideas off of.

I say that’s one of the main reasons because according to Bethany our trip had a lot of bad luck. It would usually take us seven or eight homes before we got a response from someone. And while I was happy to soak up every response we did get, it became pretty clear to me that most of our respondents were briefer than we’d hoped and we didn’t really get any long conversations we could really sink our teeth into until the very end. Bethany seemed a bit disappointed at times but because I didn’t have any expectations going into this, it was much easier for me to keep a positive attitude, and the company certainly helped with that.

Another thing that helped us keep our spirits up was the fact that my coworker seemed to be genuinely enjoying the type of canvassing they were doing. I heard from them and from Joe once he joined us at the end that canvassing for an issue is much more liberating than what most people think of when they hear canvassing which is going door-to-door to support a political candidate for office. What made our type of canvassing different (at least according to my coworkers) is that what we were doing was relying so much more on listening to our respondents and being much more flexible in how we can interact with them. The main example that popped up during my experience was with City Heights’ garbage collectors. The first two or three people we talked to all mentioned problems with the garbage system, whether that being double charged or their garbage being ignored by collectors, so when we got to the fourth and fifth respondents I started incorporating the garbage collection as a conversation topic to start off.

I would like to end off my thoughts by talking about the most poignant interaction I had with someone from City Heights during my time canvassing, which oddly didn’t actually happen after I knocked on a door. Just after we finished up with our final empty house of the evening, a 14-year-old boy came up to us to strike up a conversation. He wasn’t technically a resident of City Heights (his parents just moved from City Heights to Cincinnati a few months ago), but we saw him a few times hanging out with the other kids from the neighborhood and he even told us they were as close as family to him. He just fit in so naturally with the neighborhood that when he told us he didn’t know why his parents had to move out of City Heights it made me sad in a way I still can’t quite explain. But maybe that’s what our canvassing is supposed to do, have people give words to their experiences in a way that folks like me just can’t quite do in the same way.

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