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January 23, 2009

Facebook Tools to defeat English Only in Nashville TN

Last night the supporters of Nashville for all of us celebrated the results of the defeat of English Only. This election was a test of the will of the city; an elected city councilman Eric Crafton against immigrants and their supporters. To defeat this ballot the supporters reached out to all their networks. Mayor Dean, the Chamber of Commerce and many groups and individuals joined the fight. The Nashville for all of us was a display of all of the groups of the city.

The tools of the web were put to good use by the opponents to English Only. I created an event on the first day of voting on Facebook;

http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/event.php?eid=57046083205

The Facebook group Vote No to the Nashville English Only Referendum on January 22, 2009 for all of us helped link the event to its supporters. This grew by itself as the youth of the city joined and told their friends.

I had planned on being in Nashville for the holidays. However at the last moment my wife Iris and her sister Alma convinced me that we should go visit Alma’s husband in Key West. There we spend the Christmas holidays swimming, fishing, eating and relaxing. I would log into the web every day to see how the event was going. The list on attendees grew from 4, to 6, to 8, to 14, 16, 24, 28, 41 and then 48. Iris and Alma laughed and told me that we are going to lose because the projected necessary vote to win is 25,000. When the event reached 100 none of us could believe it. On 12/31/08 when I last checked the event was at 219. So after having a great Cuban meal at midnight and celebrating on Duvall Street for the New Years we went to bed at 1:30 am. We woke at the break of dawn to a beautiful sunrise in Key West. We drove back (17 hours) and returned to Nashville at midnight on 1/1/09. On 1/2/09 at 7:50 am I was in line to vote against English Only. First in line was a rabbi “against”, 2nd a very serious young man “Yes” in support of English Only, 3rd was Councilman Sean McGuire “against” and me in 4th. I know this sound like the start of a bad joke. On January 2, 2009 my Facebook event had 265 confirmed guests; maybe attending 82; not attending 195 and awaiting reply 547.

This was the first time I used the event feature on Facebook. My purpose for the event was to motivate the opponents to English Only to start voting early and then take family and friends during the early voting period up to 1/17. The election was held on 1/22/09. With so many things to do during the month this way we can vote and not lose the opportunity. To win we need all the attendees to take others to vote. At dinner at our house on 1/5 my mother Renee asked where can she vote? On the following Friday at lunchtime I took Iris, Alma and my mother to vote “against”.

The result of the final having registered as voted on my Facebook event for January 2, 2009 astonished me with a grand total of 808 confirmed guests (2% of the 41,752 against English Only) versus yes vote of 32,144. 316 registered as maybe attending; 1,133 not Attending 718 and awaiting Reply. To put this in a different perspective the 808 was roughly 10% of the total early vote of 8,725 against.

As I discussed with John Lamb, creator of the Nashvilleforallofus.org website at the election event last night these Facebook tools were not available until recently. Facebook allowed the Nashville for all of us to link the individual networks together into a larger network. The result was a combined show of power which turned defeat into a victory.

Posted by VisaLawyer at January 23, 2009 12:06 PM

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