It all started with a Google Doc proposing a daring plan. Two million views later, “Indivisible” is a rapidly growing political movement taking the world by storm.
Initially founded as a response to the election of Donald Trump, Indivisible is a progressive grassroots network of people organized locally who work for a more equitable, democratic, safe and free world. A total of 5,800 groups have been formed across the nation, including two in every congressional district.
Now the small town of Castleton is among them.
Mary Droege, adjunct biology professor and greenhouse manager at Castleton University, is the driving force behind the group.
“I realized after this election that what I was doing wasn’t enough, and I needed to step up and do more to help with the causes I believe strongly in,” Droege said.
Droege stands for multiple social justice issues, such as equal protection under the law and voting rights, but admits her main focus lies in the field of science.
“If push came to shove and you asked me what I think is the most important issue right now, I would have to say climate change because it effects the entire planet,” Droege said.
Erik Kindestin, a freshman at Castleton University majoring in biology, echoes that notion.
“If we keep on the path we’re going, not only will the earth suffer, but we as humans will too,” Kindestin said.
Castleton Indivisible has a private Facebook group with about 150 members, but Droege says she would like to see more involvement from students.
“It’s your future,” she said, addressing the student body.
Kindestin, however, is skeptical of the prospect.
“I just don’t know how many are willing to participate given that there’s so many that claim they don’t believe it or just don’t care,” he said.
In order to spark more student interest, Droege reached out to Sarah Liell, a sophomore at Castleton and president of the Generation Action Student Voice of Planned Parenthood Club on campus, to propose a collaboration.
“I’m really excited for a group like this to get more student attention, because I think it’s really important to have a group on campus that looks at social justice issues,” said Liell, also mentioning how her group and Indivisible have “values and ideals that aligned.”
Liell first heard about Castleton Indivisible because of a candlelight vigil the group held in response to the White Supremacist Rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thirty-five people attended the event, including Droege.
“It was really heartwarming, and what was really cool is it was all walks of life in Castleton,” Droege said, adding that the attendees were all ages and ranged from town residents to people who just happened to be vacationing on the lake.
Castleton Indivisible has members from all around Rutland County, including Castleton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Poultney, West Haven and Pittsford. However, Droege continues to encourage more college students to get involved.
“I think it’s easy to feel like what you do does not make a difference, and I think a lot of students feel that way,” she said. “If I could wave a magic wand and say one thing it would be ‘believe that you can make a difference,’ because collectively when we work together, we can be quite powerful.”
Castleton Indivisible meets once a month at numerous locations around the area and is open to everyone who has a desire to work with others to strengthen our democracy. For more information, you can contact Castleton Indivisible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Droege referenced a quote that stood out to her from Jana Stanfield, a musical artist.
“You cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good you can do.”