Hey, Madison! You have been knocking doors all over the place for Planned Parenthood and we are so happy to have you on our team! Could you introduce yourself to our supporters?
Hi there! I’m Madison Schillig, I use she/her pronouns. I’ve been in Detroit for 2 years now and I had been looking for ways to get more involved when I found myself at the Powering Change Action Summit in Lansing where I was introduced to the Detroit Community Organizer, Emily Clancy. Shortly after that I began volunteering and getting involved with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and the Planned Parenthood Legislative Action team and couldn’t turn down the opportunity to activate voters, educate about the upcoming census and continue the fight for health care in Oakland County.
What has your canvassing experience been like with Planned Parenthood?
Canvassing can be physically and emotionally difficult work, but ultimately, I think it has forced me out of my comfort zone in a lot of really great ways. I’ve had some really productive conversations and I’ve had some doors slammed in my face, but either way, people know that we are out in the community, we are educating people and doing the work, which is gratifying.
Were you nervous the first time you went canvassing? How did it go?
Nervous doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’m an introvert by nature so I typically avoid conversations with strangers. Doing something over and over again really forces you to become comfortable. Now I don’t even think twice about knocking a door!
What’s the best conversation you’ve had with someone while canvassing?
There was a middle-aged man in Hazel Park who wasn’t even on my list but we were walking alongside each other on the sidewalk and just started talking, he was very hesitant at first but after a really nice conversation, he ultimately had a lightbulb moment and ended up signing a supporter card! He also told me that I have the look of a future senator in my eyes so that helped too!
Why is it important for people to go out and talk to their neighbors about reproductive health and justice?
People need to go out and talk to their neighbors because there’s a lot of misconceptions about reproductive health and justice that is often realized in a simple conversation. A response I frequently get on doors when asked if they support Planned Parenthood is “I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it.” Which speaks to a level of privilege. They don’t realize that their support can help a lot of other people access health care. Bringing that to someone’s attention can be impactful.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to volunteer for a canvass for the first time?
Don’t sweat the small stuff! And treasure every individual who verbalizes their support and appreciation for the work that you are doing. Those are our people!
Sometimes it’s difficult to talk on a door and find someone who is anti-choice. But then I just remember the people who stand with us. I talked to one cute, older woman who gave the finger to Trump before signing the supporter card and told me to keep on knockin’!