Meet Jason Baker. His goal: Save Arizona.
Jason is a quiet man, unassuming in his presence but with a passion that burns in his soul. We met for lunch in Portland recently, while he was visiting family. Nothing from his background in insurance, banking and management of Homeowner Associations prepared him for his current self-assigned role of community builder.
In early 2010, Jason was inspired by a Facebook post that birthed the Coffee Party calling for civility and reason to dominate the political conversation, find common ground and build a better future. Coffee Party USA was his passion for the next 7 months, traveling throughout Arizona nearly every evening, encouraging his fellow citizens to engage with each other. Unfortunately, the toll of SB1070 split apart many of the groups. (Arizona’s immigration law)
Throughout this process, Jason had noted that many of the political leaders at local and state levels, seemed to be detached from their constituents. At least, they were not representing Jason or the people he talked to. Jason also noted how many organizations were working towards similar goals, but in apparent silos. Each would talk to their own group or tribe, but their reach was limited. Jason saw a better way.
A possibility to Save Arizona was born. Jason started a Facebook page and began inviting everyone he knew in all the different organizations, groups and tribes to the Save Arizona Facebook page. In this online forum, people could communicate with one another and cross-pollinate. They could even (gasp) organize local meetings with each other to begin working together.
For Save Arizona, the next steps are to incorporate as a 501c3 and begin fundraising to invest in schools, homeless programs and youth programs. Eventually, Jason would like to see community forums, where people are educated about issues that impact Arizona. And for the long-term, he’d like to know that Save Arizona had something to do with creating a vibrant, connected culture where people live quality lives in Arizona.
FYI, Jason does all this in his spare time as he sees fit. It’s not a burden when it is driven by passion. Thanks, Jason.