NWGSD Career Talk

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NWGSD Career Talk

NWGSD president Ali King

NWGSD president Ali King

Clarion photo Jordan Sindelar

NWGSD president Ali King

Clarion photo Jordan Sindelar

Clarion photo Jordan Sindelar

NWGSD president Ali King

By Ally Keefe, Reporter

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You may not have heard of Nasty Women Get S— Done (NWGSD), but you’ve probably seen an “In Our America…” sign in someone’s yard or window. NWGSD is the organization behind that. They donate the money from sales to other groups that are upholding the values on their sign. 

Ali King and Margaret Foley, the president and communications director respectively for NWGSD, visited Cleveland to talk about their experiences with NWGSD and their careers in politics. King is the political director for U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland). Currently, Foley is working in communications for the campaign of a secretary of state candidate.

The organization started when King was upset with the results of the 2016 presidential election and she wanted to do something about it. A few days after the election she made a Facebook event inviting people to her house to talk about politics and activism. King was shocked when 40 people turned up. The group ended up being called Nasty Women Get S— Done, partially as a reference to Trump having called Clinton a “nasty woman” during the election. They soon formed a board and became a 501c4. 

After only three years, the group has around 8,000 members and supporters in multiple other states and even a few other countries. King said that she “didn’t ever think it would become this big.” Since starting out, they have grown their reach and capabilities. At this point they regularly organize rallies and other protests. When the group was just starting out, they couldn’t do much, but “today that’s possible for us to do,” said Foley. 

After getting the organization started, they wanted to send out a positive message. Someone had seen a similar version with different phrases and the background was a rainbow flag. They came up with an idea to make one of their own with their own phrases on it. The artist agreed to let them use it and said that he wanted to get the message out so that more people would see it. NWGSD had a hard time deciding what the background could be. The American flag was considered, but they didn’t like the association it had with conservatives. King said that eventually “we decided to reclaim it, it was our flag.”

They began selling the image in the form of stickers and signs at various local businesses.They started donating all of the profits to other organizations that upheld the values on the sign. After three years, they have donated $150,000 to various organizations. They have also hosted conferences and meetings and have hosted Oregon senators at their meetings, as well as two Oregon members of congress and many other Oregon representatives. NWGSD has been behind many marches, rallies, and they organize postcard writing groups for people to share their opinions with their representatives.

There was little discussion about turning interest in political activism into a career. However, it is likely that doing something similar to the “In Our America…” signs could be a successful way to spread an activist message and support a career. The technique would be to appeal to the political beliefs of people and provide them a way to present those beliefs to others by purchasing something like a sign or sticker. 

Aside from working with NWGSD, King also has a career in politics. She works as the campaign director for Congressman Blumenauer. After a couple years of mutual support between Blumenauer’s team and NWGSD, King realized how much she enjoyed political work. A few months after mentioning that she was looking for a political job, she got hired as Blumenauer’s political director. She works in campaign, while others work with Congress. Her job includes connecting the campaign to local organizations and arranging assistance for them from the Congressman. King also handles email and social media for him along with other ways for him to learn about the interests of the community. She recommends getting an internship under a politician as a good way to get a career in politics. 

Foley has had lots of experience in her work with communications and networking, which she says is very important in politics as well as activism. She says that working in political and social justice communications requires an awareness of everything that is happening in that field. There is a need to constantly adjust your actions depending on current events or opponent actions. You can have a long-term vision, but it is important to not let it get in the way of what is happening currently. Foley says that some of the best parts of communications, politics, and social justice work is the wide variety of things involved in the job like photography, article writing, and meeting lots of different people.

 

The talk, held in room 225, was set up by Cleveland junior Yanling Joslin, who used the connection Cleveland science teacher Ami Fox had with King and Foley, to organize the talk. She then got in contact with Emily Hancock, the career coordinator, who arranged a time and place for it to happen at Cleveland. 

Hancock said about the event, “I thought it was really successful. We had a packed room and the students had really good questions. The speakers gave a really good talk.”