Welcome to Louisiana Lefty, a podcast about politics and community in Louisiana, where we will make the case that the health of the state requires a strong progressive movement fueled by the critical work of organizing on the ground. Our goal is to democratize information, demystify party politics, and assist the coalition building we need to win.
Who am I to host such a podcast?
Well, my name is Lynda Woolard. My on-ramp to political life came as our region was struggling to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the levee breaks that caused the Federal Flooding of New Orleans. It was clear to me then, that we needed an ally in the White House.
So I started organizing in Louisiana with Barack Obama in 2007, in a campaign and advocacy relationship that lasted through his second presidential inauguration in 2013. I went on to lead statewide organizing efforts for the Louisiana Democratic Party, Governor John Bel Edwards, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Unanimous Juries Coalition's work on Criminal Justice Reform, economic justice advocacy at the state legislature, and various national progressive groups that coordinate actions for initiatives like advancing a fairer tax system and stopping GOP repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
While I am a devoted member of Team #FieldWins, and I'm best known for fieldwork, I've also gained significant experience in political and constituency outreach, as well as communications and digital organizing. All forms of campaign and movement work require similar, but not identical skill sets. In each instance, building relationships and fostering trust is key. None of this can be manufactured, bought, or created overnight.
I never intended this to be my life. I started with that very specific goal of helping rebuild my city, and I believed one day I would return to the world I'd previously known. The thing is, once you build community around your work, it becomes a part of your world. You forge bonds over the shared mission, and you can't waste the relationships you built, or the knowledge you gained. You cannot abandon your partnerships. There's good reason to take breaks for self care, but there's no permanent off-ramp.
In the year before this podcast was launched, we lost two of my heroes, likely heroes to you, too. John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg each fought the good fight until their last breath. In fact, both assured their legacies would go on past their time on this earth through modeled behavior and mentorship. Congressman Lewis went so far as to leave an inspirational op-ed to be published the day after his death. Justice Ginsburg left a call to action in her dying words. If the notion that the work is never done has ever seemed exhausting, the examples of these heroes is energizing.
Not only does the work continue for the rest of our lives, it's incumbent upon us to create more of ourselves to carry on for us when we're gone. Just as important, we need to build an army of ourselves today, so that our knowledge ripples out in all directions and starts to take effect immediately. We always need more boots on the ground, injections of fresh energy, and innovative responses to an ever-changing political landscape.
With that in mind, I decided to reinvigorate my own commitment and dedication to the work by launching this podcast. And since I've been less inclined to just talk about things and more interested in getting things done, Louisiana Lefty is created to include an organizing component, a training component, and a polling component, wherein we can contribute to goals on which I've long lobbied our state political institutions to focus.
So that's my backstory, but Louisiana Lefty isn't meant to be about me.
The podcast was born out of a weekly statewide progressive table call I facilitated in 2017. As we were all finding ways to push back against the worst assaults from the Trump administration. The calls were productive for those times, but it occurred to me that much of the information we passed amongst ourselves would be more useful shared with a wider audience. So this space has been created to help inform and grow the networks we need to be more effective.
I want to ensure that when we have a viable candidate in our state, they have a trained campaign staff, because without infrastructural support, even the best candidate will struggle to win. I want to make sure that we have the right messengers with the right message for the right audience. I want to help us have conversations that move beyond our own little confirmation bias bubbles. And I want to make sure we're including young people in our work, so we're developing the next generation of leaders.
Now, obviously, that would be ambitious for one entity to undertake. So our goal is to implement the programs that we can, fill in blanks where it makes sense, connect folks to their own on-ramps to political or civic engagement, and perhaps most importantly of all, highlight the incredible efforts of the organizers who are already doing the work in our state, because I believe organizing is what gets us to where we need to go. We've seen the proof of this time and time again, from the Obama campaign, to the Unanimous Juries amendment that changed our state constitution, to our Governor's re-election, to Georgia flipping the senate a mere month before this podcast launched.
If you see a theme of superheroes running through the iconography of this media enterprise, it's because to me, organizers are superheroes. So we'll be speaking to them, we'll be lifting them up, and hopefully, we'll be creating more of them.
Please follow Louisiana Lefty on your favorite podcast platform, and join us on this journey that will be intentional in its development. Starting from small beginnings, we will always work to be more inclusive, to make information more accessible, and to play our role in moving towards our current Governor's aspiration of a Louisiana as good as her people.
You can also follow Louisiana Lefty on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thanks to Ben Collinsworth for producing Louisiana Lefty, Jennifer Pack of Black Cat Studios for creating our Super Lefty artwork, and Thousand $ Car for allowing us to use their swamp classic, Security Guard, as the Louisiana Lefty theme song.