For those who don’t know, NYRA, for the first real time in its history has an official office. Last year we spent a few months sharing some space with Fairvote but we were on borrowed time and the office was never truly ours. But now with our new grant NYRA has at long last found a place of our own.

As someone who has been with this organization for seven years now it is difficult to explain how it feels for this day to have finally come. This organization – and myself personally – have waited and dreamed of this day for a long time.

Anyone who has been around NYRA long enough knows very well the many challenges we have faced over the years. Running an all volunteer organization has many pitfalls. It has proven exceedingly difficult to rely on a volunteers you only know through the Internet who are spread all around the country. For most people the responsibility of volunteering virtually never feels the same as volunteering face to face and thus many people put it on the back burner. This movement is simply too important to be put on the back burner.

Even for more committed staff, like myself, it has proven exceedingly difficult to work from home and stay on task and productive. Working in an isolated environment with dozens of distractions is a recipe for frustration, loneliness and laziness as I have found out over the last many years. For everyone involved an office gives us that face to face, daily interaction that fosters a professional, productive work environment that we need to move to the next level.

But an office isn’t just a place to work, it is a sign of legitimacy and a physical place for the organization to call home. NYRA has been dismissed in the past as an amateur, flash in the pan organization, or just a do-nothing website full of whiny kids. Now we have a professional office on the 9th floor of a downtown DC high rise, a conference room, a copy room, and everything else. So the next time someone chuckles when you mention NYRA, show them our office and tell them we are here to stay.