Dedicated. Passionate. Knowledgeable. These are the words that best describe the 250+ Population Connection members across the United States who have been talking to their communities about the importance of family planning as a tool for development, empowerment, and population stabilization.
We’ve heard from our members for years that they wanted more support in reaching out to their communities with information about population challenges and solutions. With that in mind, Population Connection doubled down on supporting member activism by creating the Membership Engagement department in 2017. We started by working with committed leaders in local communities who were ready to broaden their impact — leaders such as Rebecca Lester in Portland, Oregon.
Last summer, Rebecca set up a table at her local farmers market. Other Population Connection members in the area couldn’t make it to this first outreach event, but that didn’t stop her. A month later, she again set up a table at the farmers market — this time, two local members joined her. Now, just one year later, this Portland-area group reaches out to the community on a monthly basis, raising awareness and gathering petitions on policies that matter for population stabilization, such as repealing the Global Gag Rule and investing more foreign assistance in international family planning.
Of course, when we started our membership engagement program, many members were already raising awareness in various ways in their communities. Many have written letters to the editors of their local papers. Some have distributed photocopied infographics from our magazine — one member, Paul Rodgers, even included one of our infographics in his annual holiday card!
Dirk and Bonnie Walters from San Luis Obispo, California, were among the ranks of members who were operating autonomously — in their case, since 1985! For the past 33 years, Dirk and Bonnie have set up an informational booth at the San Luis Obispo Night Market on the second and last Thursday of every month. After reconnecting with Dirk and Bonnie, we sent them updated materials for distribution and invited local members to join them. Bonnie says this gave their table a “major facelift”!
In 2017, we were floored by 80+ requests from members nationwide who wanted to table for Earth Day. And in 2018, Earth Day participation ballooned to 115 members volunteering in 53 cities across 27 states. Together, we reached an estimated 7,000+ Earth Day participants, based on the number of petitions we gathered and materials we distributed at each table.
These one-on-one conversations are a critical component of grassroots movements. When César Chávez was once asked how to organize, he responded, “Well, first you talk to one person, then you talk to another person, then you talk to another.” Population Connection members have mastered this skill, spreading the message nationwide that global population stabilization will protect our environment and improve the quality of life for people everywhere.
Whether you’re ready to start a grassroots initiative in your community, or you want to refresh your knowledge of population data and dynamics, visit our newly updated web page at
popconnect.org/getinvolved for videos and printable fact sheets that can help you spread the word about population stabilization. Get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll work with you to develop a game plan to get you involved in your community!