Not sure what to say to your team leading up to Election Day? Below is an email sent from Corinne Kisner (Executive Director, National Association of City Transportation Officials) to all staff a week out from Election Day. Corinne has kindly given us permission to share this as a sample.
During a year where our sense of time has been so distorted, and campaign season has been so prolonged, it’s almost hard to believe that Election Day is now just around the corner. This year’s election is certainly historic—occurring in the context of an ongoing pandemic, racial inequity, economic pain, and natural disasters intensified by climate change—all of which compound the stress and anxiety surrounding the election itself.
I want to acknowledge that for many of us, this week and next will be acutely challenging, and that we will experience it differently based on our identities and how we respond to stress. Some of us may want space and time to process and reflect; some may actively seek the distraction of work; and others may have a difficult time focusing on the regular routine. We also know that communities of color experience the disproportionate impacts of both COVID-19 and police violence. That experience, coupled with the uncertainty about what the election results will hold, may combine to create even greater stress and anxiety around personal safety and well-being for many of our colleagues.
Given all this, it may be difficult for us to focus on work. I understand that, and want to lift up a few points as we move into the next week:
- NACTO’s office will be closed on Election Day (November 3) to give us all time for voting and civic engagement (and those in NYC and many other states also have the option to vote early or by mail — here is a hub for more resources on voting).
- Personal leave is available if you would like to take additional time for action or self-care. For those of us who may join a protest, here are some safety tips.
- Our regular Tuesday standing meeting will be rescheduled from Nov 3rd to Nov 4th. Recognizing that we may or may not know the results of the election at that point, this meeting will be a completely optional space for anyone who would like to connect and process together.
- Your colleagues may be experiencing election stress differently than you are; please be thoughtful about any internal or external meetings that you schedule next week.
As we all move through the next couple of weeks together, let’s do so recognizing the stress of these moments, and work to support one another. In addition, I’m also here for you.