I am proud to introduce you to my friend Sarah Bonk, a true renaissance woman with a vision for reform. She has cofounded a group called Team Democracy which is fighting the influential power of special interest groups pumping money toward politicians in elected positions of power, which compromises the integrity of our democracy. Sarah is an inspiration and fearless. Team Democracy is based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and is working to bring the local intellectual capital in design, technology, and marketing together to help solve this issue. Please read the letter I recently received from her (below) and consider donating or contributing to her cause #TeamDemocracy however you can.
Onward and Upward,
Sarah Bonk’s Letter:
Dear family and friends –
Like most Americans, you may be concerned by the farce that is the U.S. federal government. Special interest groups with deep pockets have a stranglehold on our electoral, legislative, and judicial processes; the result is the needs of the people are ignored. It doesn’t matter whether your political viewpoints are left, right, center, or other — the system does not represent any of us or serve our best interests, nor that of our children. This is not the government of, by, and for the people that our founding fathers intended.
So last year, I decided I was going to help fix it.
I started by donating to and volunteering for non-partisan organizations working to reduce the influence of big money on our government — Rootstrikers, Move to Amend, Wolf PAC, Stamp Stampede — but knew I wanted to do more.
That’s why with a few friends I’ve co-founded a group we call Team Democracy, dedicated to the cause of restoring democratic institutions in the USA. After months of discussion, research, networking, brainstorming, and organizing, we just completed our first major effort: Hack for Democracy.
For two days, 42 programmers, designers, and marketing professionals designed and built tools to organize volunteers, donors, and voters, and created campaigns to increase public awareness of this issue. We partnered with the New Hampshire Rebellion (a project of Professor Lawrence Lessig and Rootstrikers) and the California Clean Money Campaign, working on projects for their organizations as well as new ideas. And Professor Lessig spoke at the event via Skype! It was productive, fun, and inspiring. We made new connections with people who want to continue working with us on this issue. It’s hard to express how profoundly grateful I am to have found so many brilliant, dedicated collaborators in the effort to reclaim democracy for the people.
It’s ironic that we need to raise money to get money out of politics, which ultimately is the purpose of this note. Because of our success, we want to have more hackathons, we want to support the hackathon project teams on an ongoing basis, we want to become an official non-profit, and we want to plan other events to support this cause.
I’m reaching out to you now to ask for financial support to help cover existing expenses and allow us to build for the future. Whether you can donate $5, $50, or $500, it will help us towards our 2014 budget goal of $10,000. The California Clean Money Campaign is generously hosting a Hack for Democracy donation page for us so you can make a tax-deductible donation online.
And if you can’t contribute financially, I hope you will support the cause in other ways. Educating yourself, talking about it with family, friends, and colleagues, spreading the word online, and voting for reform candidates will help a LOT in the long run.
Thank you deeply for your support — whether financial, emotional, or metaphysical. Thank you for supporting government of, by, and for the people.
Donation CCMC-hosted donation site
For more on how bad the problem is, Lessig explains in this TED talk.
And Lessig’s TED update from last month about a few thing we can do to fix it.