Chop Wood Carry Water with Jessica Craven

By Jessica Craven

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Jessica Craven is a mom, veteran activist, and the author of daily actions email “Chop Wood, Carry Water.” She's also the creator of both "Activism 101" and "Democracy 101," free workshops that have activated and engaged thousands of new-to-politics Americans. Jessica's also a TikTok creator who explains civics and activism in easy-to-understand one-minute videos. She's committed to teaching all Americans how to use their voices to strengthen and shape our democracy. You can learn more about her at

Episode Date
Use Your Dash Well

Jessica talks Lyndon Johnson and the Voting Rights Act, where we’re at with Joe Manchin, and what’s next with the For the People Act. Plus Trump gets reversed—a lot--and Stacey Abrams needs a favor.

Jun 15, 2021
Bitter to Have Loved

Jess covers victories in rooftop solar, healthcare, carceral justice, and on Facebook, then tackles Joe Manchin…again, and tells you how to help pass a bill preventing sexual assault in the military. Plus, a quick meditation on loving a dysfunctional country.

Jun 08, 2021
Take to the Oars

Jessica has thoughts—and some nautical metaphors--on Congress’s stalemate, the filibuster, and why each of us needs to start rowing hard, now. Also, a bad environmental bill in California and lots of good gratitude.

Jun 02, 2021
Step On the Train

Jess talks Heather Cox Richardson talking Frederick Douglass, shares gratitude for progressive victories last week, revisits the abortion question—do you know where YOUR state stands?—the importance of down ballot races (yes, again), what we mean by “call your reps,” SCOTUS’s thin skin,

May 24, 2021
You. Are. The. Hope.

Jess talks about becoming the superhero we seek, what went well last week, (including defunded private prisons in Alabama, Medicaid expansion in Mississippi, Native representation on federal courts, NRA’s judicial slapdown, Biden’s wind farms, dropping COVID deaths, and more!), a special election in New Mexico, and an attack on reproductive rights that’s--yikes!--going all the way.

May 18, 2021
What Would John Lewis Do?

Jess discusses: activism as “the struggle of a lifetime,” a local victory for clean air, adventures on a votercade, and lots and lots of small victories. Plus voting rights, bill markups, and many reasons for gratitude.

May 11, 2021
Choice. Soapbox. Persistence

Jess covers the results of a special Congressional election in TX-06, attacks on abortion rights in GOP legislatures, more bad donations by AT&T, and what writing and activism have in common. Plus, your weekly gratitude list.

May 04, 2021
Drive-Through (Voter) Blues

Jess talks about special elections in Texas and Pennsylvania, voter suppression bills in the Lonestar State, bad-behaving corporations, and a couple of ways you can help. Plus, relational organizing, the politics of stop signs, and a gratitude list featuring…Dr. Drew?

Apr 26, 2021
Introducing Couchtivist!

Jess tackles burnout and despair, invokes Marcus Aurelius, explains why DC Statehood matters, and gives a tiny bit of homework involving three bad corporate actors. Plus this week’s gratitude list!

Apr 20, 2021
Arizona's "Hold My Beer” Moment.

We discuss the next state-level voting rights crisis, this time in Arizona, as well as Senator Sinema’s strange opposition to reforming the filibuster. Which brings us to the For the People Act—AGAIN. Plus, how corporations joined the fray and why it’s a good thing. Plus a GIANT gratitude list and a democracy pep talk!

Apr 14, 2021
Et tu, Texas?

In this episode, Craven covers more state-level voter suppression, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, ATT’s bad choices, and Texas’s upcoming Congressional election. Plus: Wind power! Legalized weed! Diverse judges! And lots more reasons to celebrate.

Apr 05, 2021
Mad about GA? Action is the antidote

In this episode, Craven breaks down what the filibuster is and why passing voting rights legislation—and so much more!--depends on getting rid of it. She also tells us what we can do about voter suppression bills that have passed in Georgia, and that are coming down the pike in Arizona. Finally, why YOU should help win an election in Wisconsin on April 6th. Let’s do this!

Mar 29, 2021
Feeling down...ballot.

In episode 2, Craven highlights last week’s small victories, discusses GOP opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, unpacks the “Boyfriend Loophole,” talks Louisiana outcomes and spotlights an upcoming Wisconsin election. Let’s #DoSomething!

Mar 22, 2021
What's With the Name?

In this inaugural episode, Craven talks about the podcast’s title, how activism can save us, and why each person’s actions are critical to positive change. Then she covers Biden’s spectacular cabinet nominees, HR1 the For the People Act, a special election in Louisiana, and the part corporations like Coca-Cola are playing in voter suppression.

Come to listen, stay to get fired up.

Mar 18, 2021