QUEERiCULUM: Grassroots Political Activism

Sunday, February 2, 2020 - 10:00am to 5:00pm

San Francisco Aids Foundation
1035 Market St, Ste 400
4th floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
United States


You can impact this election, turning your fear to hope, with power in community. We'll show you how in this day full of workshops led by expert campaign organizers.

2020 is a critical election year, and now is the time to get ready to make a difference! At this QUEERiCULUM, the category is grassroots activism and we’re dedicating this fun, immersive, 1-day training to relevant skills and confidence-building in our unique and joyful way. Discover how to make (and be) the change you wish to see in the world, while connecting and lunching with your passionate community.

In-person connection is the key to winning the 2020 elections. It may seem intimidating at first, but with experience it quickly becomes fun and the personal rewards are well worth it. We don’t argue with others who disagree with us, we kindly thank them and move on to undecided voters and supporters because our time and energy is precious. Come learn how to to do it!

PLEASE BRING LAPTOPS, CELLPHONES, CHARGERS, & HEADSETS (if you can). If you have extra laptops for phone bank training please let us know: queericulum@playajoy.org.



10 am : Doors Open/Welcome: Mingle with community and faculty with coffee and snacks.

10:30am: Orientation: Goals and plan for the day.

11:00 am: Keynote speech by Cleve Jones

12 noon: First Period : workshops (all described further) on Canvassing, Phone Banking, Voter Registration and Motivational Interviewing

1:00pm: Lunch Break: Enjoy lunch while connecting with community. Menu to come.

2:00pm: Second Period : workshops on Canvassing, Phone Banking, Voter Registration and Motivational Interviewing

3:00pm: Third Period : workshops on Canvassing, Phone Banking, Voter Registration and Getting Out the Vote in Marginalized Communities.

4:00pm: Graduation, Action Plans, and Reflections on the Day

5:00pm: Program ends but graduates are invited to an offsite networking and socializing event TBA.





The most effective way to reach voters and turn out the vote is by going door-to-door and talking face-to-face - either with our own neighbors or in swing districts. We know canvassing works and it is a difference maker for our campaigns. It may sound intimidating at first, but with some practice it can become easy and rewarding, and it gives you the opportunity to sharpen your social magnetism with new faces - cultivating valuable social skills for personal life and career. This course will teach you how to:

  • Recognize the different methods of canvassing and when to use each most effectively
  • Discover what steps to take to be prepared on "the ground" (what do we mean here? Keeping in mind our target market doesn't have activism experience and may not understand that term)
  • Apply proven strategies to engage potential voters in at-the-door conversations
  • Predict challenges and turn them into triumphs using mobile canvassing
  • Use your canvassing skills to practice in real-life scenarios


Phone Banking:

BRING LAPTOPS, CELLPHONES, CHARGERS, & HEADSETS if you have them, we'll have a limited supply. Your phone allows you to be an activist from anywhere. You will be surprised how many friendly folks answer the phone and appreciate your call, how easy it is to move on from those who do not, and how effective this type of activism is. We’ll cover modern phone banking through hands on experience while making calls to help citizens register to vote. We’ll discuss data and best practices for speaking with potential voters.

About Your Instructor: Ann Merrill has leadership positions in a number of local grassroots political activist organizations and is the founder of Vote Like a Woman.


Tabling / Voter Registration:

Voting is essential but most people don’t know how to register. Tabling helps register and empower voters while creating important visibility for election efforts. You get the opportunity to sharpen your social magnetism with new faces - cultivating valuable social skills for personal life and career. This course will teach you how to:

  • Use tabling to effectively reach the people who are passionate about your cause
  • Identify prime tabling locations for the most foot traffic
  • Avoid potential pitfalls by knowing the Do's and Dont's
  • Locate the forms needed to help people vote
  • Support potential voters by answering questions and assisting with forms

About Your Instructor: Susan Pfeifer has organized and run phone banks (and more recently text banks), visibility tabling events, and voter registration activities since 2007. Susan believes that politics is NOT a spectator sport.


Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a great way to connect with others and an effective, non aggressive way to get others to see your point of view. It provides a safe and respectful space for folks to change their mind without an identity crisis. It’s not witchcraft or a Svengali practice to make someone do our bidding. It's a proven process where we help people help themselves to truly understand a different perspective. We use tools and techniques to look for, and nurture the 'change talk' which enables individuals to arrive at their own conclusions. Topics include: the stages of change; establishing rapport; open-ended questions, affirmation, reflection and summary; and using a confidence 'ruler'. Lots of opportunities to get engaged and there will be role play.

About your Instructor: Stephen Leader first learned about MI and its effectiveness as Peer Support Coordinator at the Mental Health Association of San Francisco (MHASF). He has delivered innovative presentations at numerous conferences, trainings and certificate courses and he’s excited to bring this to new audiences. Currently, Stephen works for the community based mental health agency, Richmond Area Multi-Services (RAMS) where he coordinates the agency's pioneering Peer Wellness Center. Stephen lives in San Francisco where he pursues tranquility and training his Roomba.


Getting Out the Vote in Marginalized Communities: Exploring considerations and strategies for Marginalized communities


You’ll Learn How To:

  • Make conversations with new people fun, easy, and rewarding through activism

  • Impact election results in other states (from the comfort of the Bay)

  • Motivate undecided voters to make an informed choice

  • Manage emotional and time resources


Activism also offers opportunities to:

  • Impact the election

  • Meet like-minded people

  • Sharpen your interpersonal skills

  • Feel purpose, meaning, impact, and belonging.

  • Travel to exotic destinations in Nevada or the midwest


Join us as we become fabulously empowered change-makers in troubled times and change your channel from dread to hope!


NOTE: Please arrive at/after 10am and be ON TIME for student orientation at 10:30am. Tardy pupils will be hard to accommodate and will have to bring their own dunce caps to wear. Also (if you can) bring a fully charged laptop/tablet, cell phone, and chargers. A headset with a microphone will make class easier. We have limited loaners available, so if you have a contact for loaner laptops email queericulum@playajoy.org.