Austin Democratic Socialists of America

Kim Varela-Broxson

Do you self-identify as a man?:
No

Do you self-identify as a person from a traditionally marginalized group?:
Yes

Please describe your involvement in Austin DSA:
I joined Austin DSA in January 2016, but became much more active in January 2017. I was elected to become a co-chair of the Feminist Action Committee (alongside Emma!), which raised over $9,000 for abortion access in Texas and led a take-over of the General Body Meeting to highlight gender disparities in the chapter. (At the same time, I co-chaired DSA’s national efforts for NNAF’s Bowl-a-thon as a part of the Socialist Feminist Working Group. We raised over $90,000 for abortion access across the country!) In July of 2017, I was elected to serve the remaining 5ish months of the Membership Coordinator role. During those five months, I worked to digitize check in processes and provide ample support to members to access our various digital channels, in addition to other LC responsibilities (and FAC co-chair responsibilities. Whoops.)

What strengths would you bring to the leadership committee?:
I have a strong work ethic and bring a year of experience organizing within Austin DSA. I am a good communicator, and work intentionally to share information safely, accurately, and as widely as is safe. I’m pretty organized, I multitask well, and I’m approachable and welcoming to new members to help them feel more comfortable. I’ve also been told I’m diplomatic and respond well in difficult situations.

If elected, what would be your priorities be for the leadership committee and Austin DSA?:
I believe the LC has a responsibility to dedicate resources to develop the next leaders for the chapter while growing and activating our membership. This means building up and building out – the LC should have a working group of 2 at large members specifically to hold political education & training events like “Secrets of a Successful Organizer” and “New Member Orientation” dedicated to both growing organizing capacity and bringing in new members. A specific LC member should head up an outreach committee, where we can actively reach out to potential new members. We need to make our current events more accessible to folks while also maintaining the security & privacy of our members. There are many other aspects to this priority, which I outlined in a priority I co-wrote with Mike Nachbar, titled “Building Up and Building Out”, which was submitted as a part of “Socialism From Below”.

What is your approach to resolving conflict and achieving consensus among differing viewpoints?:
Sometimes not everyone will get what they want in an organization where folks come from so many backgrounds and tendencies and experiences. To me what is important during these times is to give the time and space for folks to articulate their own thoughts and for each person to actively consider one another’s position. I find sometimes people don’t actively listen when in a discussion – they just wait to talk. By actually hearing one another out, we can find commonalities and make decisions that reflect as many opinions as possible, when possible.