Twyla Griffin, Neighborhood Team Leader
How did you first come to the campaign?
I’m originally from Iowa, so watching Barack Obama win the caucus in my home state was huge. Also, I’m African-American, and my parents were born and raised in Mississippi, so for my family it was very meaningful … the epitome of hope.
So I got involved in Michigan (I couldn’t let Iowa out-organize Michigan!) and it was a bit more informal back then—just me and another lady in Redford trying to get people involved. And I’ve been at it ever since, from the health care debates in 2009, to the congressional races in 2010, to now, where I’m trying to build a full volunteer team by October so that we’re ready to get out the vote all over Redford.
What does a day as a volunteer look like to you?
Every day I think about how I can work with my team to help get the President re-elected. As a team leader, you have to always be looking forward. So last night we had a phone bank, and today I was working with my field organizer to plan the next one. I also make sure people are connected, so I send an email at the beginning of every week to anyone who has shown an interest in volunteering, or anyone who came in once but hasn’t come since, and I talk about all of our team’s upcoming events and how they can help out.
What’s your favorite part of your role?
Working with the awesome residents of Redford! I like meeting people that I probably wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet. I do it through sharing my story—I talk to people about how, as a breast cancer survivor, I am basically a walking pre-existing condition. And my breast cancer was discovered through a routine mammogram covered by insurance through my employer. I believe every woman should have the same access to health care that saved my life, and President Obama helped make that possible. My work in the campaign isn’t about me—it’s about making sure others have the same opportunities I have. I tell my story to help people think about their lives and their families, and make that connection about how the President has helped them, and what they hope for over the next four years.
What’s the most unexpected part of your role?
I didn’t think I’d enjoy being a leader this much—but I definitely do. Before, I was just willing to help out however I could. My field organizer would jokingly refer to me as “Redford’s Neighborhood Team Leader.” Then, we went to the neighborhood team convention back in May and, when they gave us our name cards, I realized I was assigned to a neighborhood team leader breakout session. It was then that I thought, “You know, maybe I should embrace this.”
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