On July 3rd I had no idea what had been happening behind the scenes on the Unofficial HCR group, nor that all of us would be affected by it. It wasn’t until mid-evening, when I received a PM from John, that it became apparent.
In the almost three weeks since, those of us who were administrating and moderating have gone from normal activity in our original Unofficial HCR group, to being removed and blocked from group participation, to using this UnofficialHCR.com support website as a temporary home as well as staging and collection platform, to now having our totally new “The Real Unofficial Heather Cox Richardson Resource & Discussion Room Private Facebook Group” recreated, up, and running strong.
On Saturday, 7/16/22, the new REAL UNOFFICIAL HCR group launched with 1 member. As of this writing, seven days in, we have 196 active members and counting. There are now dozens of new posts, with some of them having to do with the functioning of the group. And everything is looking pretty much like our old hijacked Unofficial HCR – except the alarms regarding our country’s democracy now seem louder and more insistent than even three weeks ago.
These are difficult times – and the worst possible time to lose the connections we maintained in our group. Losing our place to post, which was my place to get much of the news (and thanks to those who post gift articles) there was a huge hole in my days, and in my information gathering and connections with others who see the flames as well. It was stark. It was infuriating. It felt hopeless and dark.
In the background, a small chat group gathered to express our sorrow, our outrage and our support for each other. Then we turned to action and launched our efforts to connect with others from the group who were likely to want to know what the future held.
John, who’d created this UnofficialHCR.com website awhile back to support our group, began thinking of how we might use it as a temporary gathering place. With each of us reeling from this sudden loss, the recognition of the huge legacy of writing, relationships, familiarity and interconnections that were now inaccessible, the 38,000 members – 38,000 – most of whom we would be unable to connect with, the awareness of how important gathering together around reliable information sharing and discussion are to our faltering democracy, ALL of it was hitting us really hard.
There was both a sense of urgency and a sense of not knowing how effective our efforts would be. But we were committed to staying the course, in a good direction, with noble reasons, and take the small steps we could. It was intense. It was invigorating.
We had our different ways of carrying the intensity. Melanie brought her sense of humor and long term knowledge of the original HCR group. I reported on reflections that came as I walked Jude (my adorable MaltiPoo who smiles) late evenings and early mornings. John lauded our efforts and did a lot of deep breathing while he pondered what resources, actions and efforts would take us back to where we had been as quickly as possible. Anita, as she was traveling, spoke to the sense of connection our working together was engendering. She literally spoke…..using talk to text….which made for some hilarious comments.
We learned again what we’ve all known – that we are better together, stronger together and more effective together. We leaned on each other as we began to realize the scope of our collective loss. Once our hopes of regaining the “old” group and it’s incredible history, heritage, interconnections, resources and members slipped away, we knew we had no choice but to start over. John amazed us all by having the REAL group up faster than we thought possible.
But now we need your help. You already know that the more members we have, the broader and more diverse the comments and posts will be, the deeper our interconnections, diversity and shared understandings will become, and the more we will learn and gain from our forum. That diversity has been one of our strengths – 38,000 strong. The sooner we can get those who want to continue the discussions we host back into the REAL group, the better and more informed, diverse and evolving our discussions, engagements and actions will be.
You can use the blue button at the top of the group to invite friends and people you remember from the prior group to join us. But it is most effective, due to the quirks of the Invite function, for you to message them a link to the REAL group directly. https://www.facebook.com/groups/real.unofficial.hcr.discussion.group Take ten minutes today, then 10 minutes tomorrow and before you know it, you’ll no longer miss the “old” group, because you’ll have everyone and everything here in our new group.