--- Thomas Hill, Soil and Water Supervisor candidate, Cabarrus, N.C. (Healing Our Cabarrus (thomashill4cabarrus.com))
Spike Cohen, Vice Presidential candidate in 2020, activist, and devout lover of humanity, has started an organization, You are the Power (www.youarethepower.net), to take the individual power that we each possess and unite people across the country to push back against forces designed to make us feel small, weak, and vulnerable.
Each one of us is unique, a miracle of statistical improbability with thoughts, opinions, feelings, and life experience that differs from every other person who has ever lived. At the same time, we are all tied together as members of the human race, with a communal bond in our shared individuality.
We are bombarded by messaging designed to make us feel anxious, powerless, afraid, and reactionary, and this is by design. The political machine that seeks to consolidate and grow the breadth and depth of its own power is fine-tuned to strip you of your individual identity. It wants you mired in the belief that your fellow human beings are your enemy, and only it can save you.
Under the constant drum beat of fear-mongering driving us further apart, we fall into the trap of focusing so intensely on hating people with whom we actually have so much in common. In doing so, we ignore abuses and misconduct by elected and appointed politicians and bureaucrats, or even defend their actions if we believe them to be on our "side."
We each have the ability to make a difference in our communities. We need only take a moment to claim that power in ourselves, and demand that those who would seek to divide and control us are no longer able to do so.
The machine is massive, though, and adept at making us feel that any attempt to stand up against it is futile. Even when we are willing to leave behind fear and anxiety and take action in service of our fellow humans, knowing where to start is difficult. Laws and regulations are intentionally complex, elected officials and the dark money that supports them play gatekeeper, and solving what ails our country is a long and difficult journey.
Spike realized the need for a non-partisan, grassroots coalition dedicated to helping those in need, that would improve our communities through direct charity and mutual aid initiatives. He created You are the Power (YATP) to address this need, its success fueled by a belief in empowering people.
YATP is a nonprofit, membership-based nonprofit network of grassroots activists, community leaders, and candidates for elected office who identify problems and work to implement solutions. While the focus is on issues at the local level, YATP has a shared social media reach of over 50 million people, and a working relationship with activists and organizations in all 50 states.
Under the aegis of Spike, YATP walks the walk. While it is a young organization, in the short time it has existed, YATP has been hard at work, defending those whose voices might otherwise go unheard in local communities around the country, and it is already logging successes:
- Promoted and participated in regular protests that the Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) organized in defense of homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer, who was abused by police in Gastonia, NC, resulting in the death of his service dog. While the fight for justice is ongoing in this case, Spike focused broad national attention, which, along with relentless efforts from the LPNC, resulted in the successful release of the police body camera footage from the incident, despite strong pushback from the police, the city, and the district attorney. (To learn how you can help us fight for justice in this case, please visit http://sunshineprojectnc.com)
- Fought the seizure of private property in Russell City, KY, where the city council tried to use eminent domain to build a parking lot where people had their homes.
- Spearheaded a massive campaign, comprising a petition drive leading to a ballot initiative in Columbus, OH, so that voters will have the chance to end qualified immunity as part of the state ballot.
- Informed Mississippi voters of their state's overturning of a ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis through an aggressive statewide media campaign.
Spike brings star power and political gravitas, and garners broad and necessary attention for causes that would otherwise fade away. His selfless refusal to accept a status quo that sublimates people drives pro-human changes forged through the power of people untied in defense of the powerless.
Spike's presence at the Gastonia protests has boosted attendance at these events, with some activists traveling hundreds of miles to be there. The LPNC was able to catch up with Spike at the September 21 Gastonia City protest and ask him about YATP. He told us,
"We do best when we live in a society of mutual respect for one another, when we take the power out of the hands of those that took it from us and put it back in our hands where it always belonged. We find people who have been run over roughshod by their local governments and help organize them to get justice, like we’re doing tonight for Joshua Rohrer. We show them, their community, and the world that we can work together. We don’t have to live by the edicts of people who presume to have authority over us. We can live better lives, lives that are more prosperous, more peaceful, and happier, by working together to be more free. That's what You Are the Power is all about."
Membership ensures updates on events and ongoing activism and provides specific and actionable ways for each member to get involved. Members are integrated into the community, providing assurance of support with no concerns about being stranded in isolation against the political machine. Members can join these events, meet and forge relationships with people who have similar motivations, engage in online activism, or even organize an event in their area. For more information, details can be found at www.youarethepower.net.