Corcoran: Journey to the Center of California

The three hour drive down I-5 is bad enough. Now throw in gusts of wind and a dust storm so thick at times I had to turn my lights on and struggled to stay in my lane.

I was heading down to Corcoran to help conduct my first organizing training with the training expert herself, Vanessa Marvin. Now, I am a little shy and a little nervous when it comes to public speaking, so driving through a dust storm certainly didn’t help ease my nerves …but so it goes.

Thankfully, the next morning, the sun was out and the dust was on the ground. I was excited, still a bit nervous, but ready to go.

Shortly after setting up the room, coalition members began trickling in, all ready to make TRL happen in their community.

All with the exception of one gentleman.

Quickly, the long time community member piped up, claiming shop owners would police themselves and that he had talked to each and every one and they all PROMISED they were not selling tobacco to minors. Right.  

After Vanessa fielded most of his comments, I felt something bubbling up inside of me and I had to speak up. I felt like a mother hen protecting her chicks…only my chicks were this group of community members that had taken time out of their day to strategize with us.

I think I kept my cool (even after he told me to “Listen lady”) and I think he actually helped break the ice and get everyone talking, including myself. After speaking up to him, I was comfortable and ready to tackle the rest of the training.

So, in the end – thanks Mister.

You gave the coalition a real world opposition example that could never have been replicated by the likes of Vanessa and me. I think it is safe to say that you lit a fire under this coalition; I know you lit one under me.

–Erin Archer


  1. Megan
    Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    way to turn a negative interaction into a positive experience! something we all can learn from as we face challenges in the fight against tobacco.

  2. Posted Jun 16, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    It was really an interesting experience, especially being new to trainings. But in the end, the guy was an example of just what the coalition was facing.

  3. Raveen Sharma
    Posted Jul 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    It seems like that guy came only to be a disruption, I’m glad you turned it around on him.

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