A Gift that Lasts Forever
Christmas as a kid in Lafayette, Louisiana was always magical. It’s one of my favorite holidays we celebrated growing up.
My family would always start off by going to Christmas Eve mass. My Mother would dress my brother and I in a new outfit (oh, yeah!) and we’d get to church early to get a good seat. We actually paid attention to what was being said in the homily because there was a prize at the end- presents. But get this…the presents were in New Iberia, Louisiana. We’d leave Christmas EVE mass and head over to my paternal Grandparent’s home where Santa Claus passed a DAY EARLY because he couldn’t get to every city in a day. You got it, right. The Broussards didn’t believe that Santa makes it to every city in one night.
The drive back would always put me to sleep and my Father always did the driving. Many times we’d listen to KJCB, an AM station and I remember all the soulful Christmas tunes by artists like the Temptations and Luther Vandross. Christmas morning, we’d open our presents and eat gloriously- lots of creole and cajun dishes. There was always a nap involved and lots of people coming over to spend time with our family.
My Family is in the Movement Building Business
It wasn’t until I was older that I began to see the connection of this family tradition with movement building. The belief that we were family is what brought us together based on shared values and goals. Each person had their role to make the day a success. My Dad as the driver. My mother as the family stylist and lead cook. My Brother and I as the brats (we were angels until the sugar kicked in). Our family and friends as the supporters. It’s not very different when you begin a campaign to change public will or behavior. Who is going to drive the campaign? Who will organize activities and tactics? Who will be those that take you off track or your opponents? Who will be your supporters and always there for you?
As we begin to build our movements and issue campaigns for 2018, let’s put this lens on things. It’s a construct we know and we’re comfortable moving in. It’s also one that will allow us to bring more authenticity to the work and we know when we do that we show up in a bigger way. I hope to help you unpack these things in the New Year so that your campaigns can be strong ones.
Celebrating Smoke-Free Air
For me the biggest presents always come in the forms of large smoke-free air ordinance votes. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I couldn’t tout this campaign win enough. A round of applause one more time for Fort Worth with implementation beginning on March 12, 2018! However, in 2006, I led a team that made most Louisiana workplaces smoke-free (bars were exempted). It was a hard-fought campaign that included tears, a coalition breakup, real-life friendships lost and a hard reset needed. I’ll blog about it one day and tell you more. But the day that then Governor Kathleen Blanco signed the bill into law clearly felt like Christmas. Everyone had smiles on their faces, wore their Sunday best to the bill signing ceremony and had a meal to celebrate. And the gift of smoke-free air is one that keeps on giving. That moment keeps me believing; just like Santa Claus’s visit. Keep building movements and fighting for the things that matter most to your community. And every day will be like a visit from Santa with shiny things to unwrap.
Don’t you just love these pictures? It’s the Broussard Duo in their uniforms from St. Genevieve Catholic School in Lafayette, Louisiana. Circa 1987. And another at my Dad’s parents home in New Iberia, Louisiana most probably 1983 or 1984. Spot my fabulous holiday leg warmers? Of course, we managed to dodge all photos together today! And if you didn’t get enough of my crazy childhood pictures, there’s more on Instagram!
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