Y’all, I have to speak on this. I hope you’ll read it, and maybe gather together over it.
I’m not in a good place to be a lead organizer, myself. I’m still in a process of healing and a self-care cocoon… but hopefully this will inspire a few awesome people with excellent communication skills and passion… people who can take these ideas and run with them. We are in a fantastic place, in regards to organizing, activism and new people getting involved in the movement for social equity. There is a fire under the ass of compassionate humans —effected peoples and allies alike— do do some big shit.
Over a year ago, social justice organizations began meeting and talking about a social justice leadership institute, network and communication structure. This conversation began because of a HUGE grant that actually hurt the idea of these NEEDED processes. I think there are enough people who are not paid organizers in Louisville to actually make those things happen without the reliance of a few million dollars or the leadership of organizations limited by mission statements and funders.
What we are in the prime time for doing is strategic organizing. Coming at the energy behind #BlackLivesMatter, and knowing that yes: Black Lives are in danger because of several issues:
- Lack of educational resources
- LOW WAGES
- Long hours and no benefits
- Lack of education and reinforcement around saving money
- Fiscal inequity due to hoarding of resources by those who have plenty
- Difficulty accessing quality healthcare
- Physical environments filled with pollution
- Disenfranchisement from our political system
- Discrimination due to how you pee or who you tend to love
- Discrimination due to being born somewhere other than the United States
- Discrimination due to physical or mental disabilities
- Institutional violence
- Lies and outright editorialism of our news
- Housing is expensive
- Food is expensive
- Preferred quality of life is difficult to sustain
- Disconnects between the Justice department and justice.
- (Name a cultural issue)
If we could gather together, and have a common conversation — Not quite a Network Nite, but be intentional about sharing FACTS, encouraging ACTION, and creating a long-term strategic plan (I’m talking about longer than 12 months) with goals, action steps and ways that we can create a collective louisville that looks different… we can do it.
These are some of the ways we could do it.
Hold an event and invite all of the folks we’ve met at these actions recently to elaborate on their ideas. Maybe Quaniqua has the ability to reach out to the zones of hope ppl, and the folks who attended the community conversations?
Darryl, I know you’re interested in making Civic Up happen. Maybe this is it? IDK. We can talk, I just can’t be the organizer, I’ll have a damn panic attack.
Mikal has been working on the Ali’s Louisville(?) stuff for two years, and WE KNOW what people have already been talking about. It’s in a document somewhere. This could be ground-work?
We need college and high-school students. Like Tom Moffett would probably remind us, and I know Jane Walsh would say too, young people make stuff happen. Organizing is hard work, and young folks have the energy to do a lot.
Everything should come from a place of sourcing from participants.
Ask powerful questions at this gathering-
What issues matter to you?
What action steps are you willing to take? (ie: direct action, organizing people to show up for conversations, lobbying, showing up at offices to talk to leaders, keeping communication moving)
What are the wins we want to see (And be lofty! More black male teachers of color, a 15 dollar minimum wage, more free health clinics, light rail that goes from Shawnee Park to Cave Hill cemetary, an ongoing healthy realtionship with organizers in other states, a kentucky statewide gathering of organizers… idk wild shit)
Build out work groups, and for the most part let people self-select (ie: housing group, jobs and wages group, group for citizens review board etc), and give people personal responsibility within their groups. Each group should have a lead organizer, note taker and someone responsible for communicating out. It’d be helpful if there’s at least one person in each group who is familiar with organizing culture, and is connected to an organization/department/group associated with their issue.
Set ground rules. Develop some ways that require people to step up and step back. Develop rules that center around ALWAYS respecting the voices of the oppressed — Black and brown voices, voices of women, etc, should never be shortened… but at the same time, be respectful of other’s time.
And be inclusive.
I’m sure this sounds a lot like shit we’ve done before. That’s okay. Those things worked— people showed up, took action and maybe something came of it. I’m also 100% sure that what I’ve outlined is imperfect.
I’m just worried that our silos (Which are of design, and keep us from moving forward) will be to our detriment. We should work together, even with people we don’t necessarily agree with. That’s a big challenge, but maybe someone like Ebony could donate an hour and remember that we are all creative resourceful and whole?
We learned A LOT from Occupy, and the organizing we’ve participated in since then. I think the time to strike is now, and get some serious shit planned for the spring of 2015.
Like I said, I am utterly incapible of sustaining this kind of work right now, but if someone(s) are willing to be the lead organizers, I’m happy to be a consultant and mentor, but that’s all I can commit to, as I’m in a healing moment righ tnow, but I think it would be downright foolish for us not to bring the entire city together to organize when EVERYONE wants to do *something*….
What do y’all think?