Indivisible Nantucket, a local grassroots political advocacy group, has quietly built up a significant following of progressive supporters on the island, supplying institutional support and publicity to various causes.
Part of a loose national collective of activist groups under the Indivisible umbrella, Indivisible Nantucket was formed in the wake of the 2016 election. “After the 2016 election, 52 people attended our first meeting, and it was a pretty panicked scene back then,” Alison Forsgren, the group’s leader, said. A decentralized movement of volunteer-led groups, Indivisible aims to promote democracy and social justice, though the specifics of what that advocacy looks like differs from group to group.
“Indivisible isn't one thing; it's whatever the groups want it to be,” Forsgren said. “We don't have to follow anybody else's rules.”
Indivisible Nantucket has been involved with many political efforts on the island, including the two recent rallies for reproductive and abortion rights. They have also helped with efforts to combat local food insecurity and income inequality, promote immigration reform, and advocate for gun control legislation. Additionally, Indivisible Nantucket has organized significant voter outreach efforts, coordinated phone banking and text banking operations on the island, and co-sponsored the Dreamland’s “Panel for Democracy” featuring award-winning New York Times and CNN journalists. Even when not actively involved with organizing events, Forsgren tries to publicize as many as she can through her sizeable newsletter.
“I look at [Indivisible Nantucket] as a vehicle to get shared goals out to the people who want to do something about it,” she said. “We try to coordinate with other groups...publicize their events and provide support around getting people together.”
“I'd like [Indivisible Nantucket] to be a sounding board to get the word out to people about important issues,” she added. “If anyone has an issue that they'd like to have a platform for, I'm more than happy to get that out to the mailing list and help them organize something. Anyone can step right up and say 'here's something to do, we need your help'.”
Forsgren does this all as a volunteer, balancing Indivisible Nantucket’s operations with her career in real estate, the field she has worked in since 1980, and her numerous other volunteering efforts, including with Our Island Home.
To Forsgren, the most important thing is voting. “It’s all about voting,” she said several times, pushing islanders to get out to the polls.
Forsgren also had a warning for the people of Nantucket. “The eroding of individual freedom is something that is not going to go away, ever,” she said. “Be prepared for how to react and protest or teach and share about what could possibly happen so that we aren't blindsided.”
She also emphasized that everyone can and should step up to do their part, not just those passionate about civil rights and politics. “You don’t have to be passionate to realize your individual liberties are being eroded,” she said.