Meet an Advisor: Heidi Sieck (#VOTEPROCHOICE)

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Heidi L. Sieck is the co-founder/CEO of #VOTEPROCHOICE, an organization filled with committed prochoice voters who elect representatives that reflect their values. #VOTEPROCHOICE values prochoice leadership, practical action, and partnership.

The GroundShift team is fortunate––and super grateful––to have Heidi as an advisor. We spoke to her via email about the mission of #VOTEPROCHOICE, and what she hopes to accomplish during GroundShift:

What are you working on now?
#VOTEPROCHOICE is a radically inclusive national political engagement platform focused on electing prochoice candidates in every election everywhere. Our team of nationwide activists focus on practical political action, as well as endorsing and supporting exceptional prochoice candidates in down-ballot races throughout the country where reproductive freedom is at stake. We mainly try to elevate women of color and up-and-coming leaders who will be long-term champions for women and families. Then in October, we released a nationwide prochoice ballot guide to give voters deeper info on their voting choices. There are elections practically every week somewhere, and we need to be electing prochoice candidates in every single one of them. That's what we do.

What do you think is the biggest challenge of the current political moment?
Those of us who have been political activists for a long time need to work very hard to keep our minds open to new ways of connecting people and looking at data. The fact of the matter is that we've lost too much over the last decade - elections, voters, messaging, hearts, and minds. Meanwhile, the majority of the American electorate is actually on the right side of policy. 7 in 10 voters are actually prochoice—but we keep losing. Clearly, we've got a systemwide problem. These same strategies and organizing tactics that got us into this mess aren't going to get us out. We're challenged with listening, cultivating humility and opening our hearts. Sadly, that seems to be an enormous challenge.

What excites you, if anything, about the current political moment?
That which has been hidden, ignored and suppressed can no longer be hidden, ignored and suppressed. Racism, sexism, denial, fear, economic crisis, climate change, and addiction have come to light in powerful ways. This requires us to deal with these issues head on. In the past, we've hidden behind 'coalitions' and 'working groups.' This time calls for more direct action. This urgency needs practical action both inside and outside of our government. This excites me because it means we have a chance to heal a little more. Wounds need to be tended to, or they abscess into something worse. Now we tend to our wounds by taking action.

What are three other orgs that you want to shout out for their amazing work?
New Founders in Chicago is doing some really open minded, no bullshit solution-oriented convening. I am also so grateful for the incredible work of women of color lead policy frames like reproductive justice and whole person politics. These frames are holistic, inclusive and brilliant.

Sister Song out of Atlanta and the Make it Work campaigns are doing extraordinary work in these frames, and I'm so grateful to them.

Why are you excited about GroundShift?
There is nothing more important than building relationships of value and trust with each other. That's what we've lost over the years for some reason. Maybe it's social media; maybe it's that we've all gotten so complacent behind our computer screens. A professor of mine once said that the issue with Congress is that they are only in session two or three days a week. That means they aren't having dinner with each other and getting to know each other as people anymore. It's a super systemic problem. We are not our Facebook profiles. Camping, hiking, and eating together in solidarity are powerful acts of building and sustaining authentic connection, and as a result building resilient resistance. I am grateful that GroundShift saw this need and is willing to take it on. We need it now more than ever.

If you want to learn more about #VOTEPROCHOICE, check out their website.

Want to get involved in GroundShift? We hope so! Sliding scale tickets are available here.

This interview was edited for brevity and clarity with consent

Duncan Wall