When Mary Allen attended a Latino orientation through e is for everyone, she felt a little bit out of place. As the only non-Spanish speaker in the room, it was hard for her to follow the meeting in a non-native language.
“I felt very uncomfortable, but it also was so good for me to think about the fact this is how [non-English speakers] feel daily,” says Allen.
A member of the e is for everyone “Thread” group, the core group of community members who organize and operate e is for everyone, Allen says looking at things through a different lens is a big part of what the e is for everyone initiative is all about. Since launching two years ago, the group feels like awareness of the brand is high. Understanding of the movement, however, is not at the same level.
While the business community in Evansville has latched on to the “e” brand, recreating the e logo and making it their own, relating to community members on an individual and personal level is a harder challenge.
“All too often terms like branding are misunderstood,” says Thread member Matt Wagner. “You would think connection and branding are two different things, but they’re not. They should be the same thing.”
He says a key function of e is for everyone now is to act as a grassroots organization that highlights the people and groups in the community who feel disenfranchised and to give them a voice and space to be heard. While connecting with local businesses and organizations is important, the focus always has been on connection with people.
“It seems like with most initiatives or projects, that’s not how it works,” says Thread member Darin Lander. “It is, ‘We’re going to tell you why it is’ — not, ‘We want to hear from you why it isn’t.’ Because of that, more people have embraced it, because they’ve been given a chance to speak up.”