Resistbot at Six: Building a Community
Six years, nearly 10 million users, 35 million letters, and 450 million texts later, Resistbot remains an indispensable partner in civic engagement.
by Melanie Dione
In March of 2017, shortly after sending the first texts to Congress on International Women’s Day, co-founder and Executive Director Jason Putorti made Resistbot’s intentions clear: “The voice of the product is for the liberals and conservatives in opposition to the Trump administration.” Six years, three conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices, and a new administration later, the work of resistance remains essential. Even without “that” president in office, the ham-fisted work of saying the bigoted part loud remains standard in political discourse. “The work” stretches beyond just replacing their guy with your guy. Pursuing democracy and equity relies heavily on advocacy and holding politicians accountable. Supporting progressive organizers, particularly those who hold the line when our politicians veer off course, is vital.
At Resistbot, we extend ourselves, ensuring organizers’ needs are met with innovation and tangible support. Petitions and vote drives highlighting the issues and candidates that resonate with you are not only sharable within your network but can also be promoted to a larger pool of Resistbot members. You can organize a campaign from your phone in less than ten minutes. Our monthly members (we love you) can also build followings. That means whoever counts on them to keep them aware of current events and bills that need our attention can be kept in the loop simply by typing follow and then the person’s user name. The goal here is simple: let’s help organizers organize.
Though primarily a chatbot, our focus in the last two years has been to define our voice, heart, and soul by building a more robust community. This growth gave us a podcast, thanks in no small part to the dedicated Resistbot volunteers Athena Fulay, Christine Lu, Susan Stutz, and producer Angel Barrera. Our social media presence is ever-evolving, and the first issue of our Substack newsletter launches this week, so subscribe to catch every issue. We are also hosting our first instructive workshop with activist Jess Craven on our Discord server at the end of the month.
This past year we learned in real time how many activists, advocates, and organizers were ready to act when Roe was threatened and ultimately overturned. Activists like Texan Helmi Henkin wasted no time. She was such an excellent repository for reproductive justice information she got the nickname “The Abortion Donation Link Fairy.” Lift Louisiana appears in front of the state legislature in my home state more than any other reproductive organization. Social worker and activist Vilissa Thompson and Robin Wilson-Beattie discussed how a lack of reproductive choice impacts disabled people, adding unnecessary difficulty. Three of the four activists I mentioned are in red states. For every piece of backward, bigoted legislation, activists in southern and other red states are fighting against it with hands and feet.
Leftover sentiment from the previous administration lingers, still pushing for a society that penalizes our trans, unhoused, and disabled communities for their existence. That makes our support as an organization and community members much more critical. We will continue highlighting and supporting grassroots organizers on the non-bigoted side of history.
Even with the change in administration, the need for Resistbot’s services and community engagement has not lessened. Arkansas is going full speed with the LEARNS Act, Iowa believes child labor needs a reboot, and Florida needs help getting Ron DeSantis to say his name backward and finally get sent to the fifth dimension. Culturally, we’re too close to book burnings for my liking. The heavy lifting can’t only fall on the most marginalized among us. We can’t wait for Gen Z to save us.
So join us. I promise you; your reps are listening.
Follow or subscribe, text monthly to 50409, and become a monthly donor. Remember to register for our upcoming workshops. And finally, don’t forget to share your favorite Resistbot memory with the hashtag #ResistbotAt6. Let’s get to work!