“We’re the Northeast Kingdom, the center of the world, a beautiful 50 miles from the Canadian border. The area may be rural, but it’s amazing how many talented, thoughtful, progressive people are here.”
This is how Barry Lawson (who lives in Peacham, VT, population 732) describes the three counties around him. There, after the 2016 election, he, his wife, two other couples, and several others began to organize a fight for important issues: climate change, refugees, income distribution, and social justice.
As people got on buses to the Women’s Marches in DC and Montpelier, Barry & Co. collected names, creating a mailing list of 160. This formed the original corps of NE Vermont On Guard. As Barry explains, “We’re turning anger into laughter and a sense of we’re in this together.”
The NE Vermont On Guard 2020 Program
After the 2018 election, Barry and his team started what they call their 2020 program: a potluck on the 20th of every month where guests contribute $20. Everyone write letters and postcards, taking advantage of tools and campaigns from Swing Left, Indivisible, Go Left, and other groups.
“We were getting 50-60 people at every potluck. Even now, in this lull period, it’s 25-30,” says Barry. “We eat good food and talk about books, television, whatever’s going on. Then we get to work, doing everything we can to swing the Senate and defeat Trump.”