Our Story

The short(ish) version.

It all started in the summer of 2023 when two friends, Ben Kaplan and Seema Sri, reconnected after years of pandemic-fueled chaos, social distancing, and friends moving out of the city.

Ben and Seema wondered, what if we created a reunion and brought together all of those still in San Francisco?  Could we reinvigorate a sense of friendship and community in the city we love?

When 70+ people showed up at the event on three-days notice, things seemed promising.  When multiple friends in attendance kept saying they were dismayed at what had happened to San Francisco and wanted to do something about it, Ben and Seema convened a smaller meetup — 6 people, a few bags of Doritos, and a vague idea that we could do something to impact change.

Ben brought his professional expertise in viral marketing, his long standing interest in movement building, and the resources of his successful marketing agency. Seema brought her involvement in civic and political issues in San Francisco — including at the building, neighborhood and city-wide level — and her knack for forming alliances with other individuals and organizations in the city.

As new members joined, including Jeremy Kranz and Brandon Au, they brought their own unique sensibility, professional and personal networks, and experience rallying communities around shared purpose to catalyze change.

6 people turned into 35.  Those 35 people became 80 strong.  Those 80 founding members soon numbered 250.

All in a matter of weeks.

When Ben’s wife, Virginie, shared with Ben the story of En Marche, a French grassroots movement that engaged thousands of concerned citizens from outside the system and ultimately catalyzed a political revolution in France, our group had a clear model of the potential impact it could make on San Francisco’s future trajectory.

Ben wanted to give the movement an identifiable name — something that was short, catchy, and communicated that we’re stronger together than we are apart.

He wrote down a simple equation on a sheet of paper:  WE > ME

And with that, WE was born.