The Charleston Huddle – How We Became a Think Tank
by Ellen Wolcott, The Charleston Huddle

It started with the Women’s March on Washington. Women, men and children came from all over the country to make a statement. For some of us, this was our first protest. We experienced a glorious day, and, yes, the crowd size actually did exceed all expectations. A few weeks later, the march organizers challenged us to keep going and suggested “huddling” in small local groups to follow a 10-week action plan. The Charleston Huddle was born, and we’ve been meeting every other week at the Charleston Carnegie Library since February 2017.

During that 10-week action plan, one action was “learn”. We started doing a lot of reading about the issues. It was soon apparent the group had a lot of interest in discussing our readings, to much to include in our regular meetings. Our solution was to hold evening discussion sessions in addition to our regular meetings. Reading George Lakoff’s book, Don’t Think Like An Elephant, was a turning point. Something about his idea that using Republican wording reinforces their position even if you are trying to do the opposite really hooked us. Lakoff also talked about how much money Republicans spend on wordsmiths at Think Tanks to hone their message. Since Democrats spend money on poor people instead of Think Tanks, we decided to try to be a Think Tank. Our group came from a variety of backgrounds and each of us had issues we were passionate about. We had lively discussions, learned from each other, and enjoyed every minute of the process. It took us nearly a year of meeting almost weekly, but the result is the document that we are now sharing with you.

We feel that our country needs to act on progressive ideas if we are to save our democracy. By using progressive frames, we can raise public awareness of progressive ideas. It is our hope that our frames provide the words to express progressive ideas whether you are running for office, writing a letter to the editor or just chatting with friends at the coffee ship. As we say in the Huddle, “Keep the Momentum Going” and feel free to share our framing document.

Click here to view the Charleston Huddle Framing Document.

To learn more about the Charleston Huddle or to find out how to start your own local “Huddle”, please contact Ellen Wolcott at