Feeding the Organizing Soul

As organizers and activists, we have an important vocation, and we take it seriously. Sometimes this means that we have to put our heads down and get caught in a flurry of meetings, actions, and activity. But it is also important to take time to celebrate the cycle of organizing – to celebrate our victories, reinvigorate ourselves, and feed our organizing spirits.

There are a few opportunities – 3 to be exact – for this organizing “food” coming up that we wanted to share with all you ROPers. These are great opportunities to network, meet new folks and learn new skills from some of the best. Please contact cara@rop.org or call 503-543-8417 to let us know if you’d like to attend any of the marvelous events below!

1. Community Strategic Training Initiative (CSTI)

Every year, ROP is invited to participate in CSTI, organized by Western States Center and held at Reed College in Portland.  This year it is from July 30th – August 1st.  The training consists of 3 days of workshops taught by organizers and movement leaders from across the country – and topics range from basic organizing skills to training in specific issue areas to technical skills.  Most exciting is that we get a chance to learn from experiences of organizations that are doing great work.

To tickle your curiosity, some of the workshops that we’re especially excited about this year are:

  • Surviving and Thriving in Challenging Times, taught by fundraising guru Andy Robinson!
  • Beyond Marriage: The LGBTQ Agenda, which will look at the many fronts of LGBTQ movement
  • Together in the Struggle: Working as an Ally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
  • 1 + 1 = 10: Base Building for Stronger Organizations and Healthier Communities

Workshops cost $60 a day, which is just a fraction of the cost that it takes to put on this 3 day event.  But since Western States Center knows that we’re not in this for the money, they are offering a GREAT work-trade option, where you can volunteer 4 hours in exchange for attending a workshop at no charge. So whether you’re able to pay or not, please let us know by Thursday, June 10th at the latest if you’re interested in attending and we’ll get you on our list! As an extra perk, you can plan to see much of the ROP staff and board over the course of this weekend. Reply to cara@rop.org

2. Politicorps training project, brought to you by the Bus Project

Next, a series of absolutely free trainings is offered to us by the Bus Project, a fabulous young-people-led organization based in Portland. The first of these trainings is called The Art of Persuasion in Politics: Developing and Managing Your Message to Win. This is a rare opportunity to learn from some of the best messaging and communications folks in the Northwest, and will give any organizer a couple of extra tools in the toolbox.

This will be an all-day event also at Reed College in Portland on Monday, June 28th. The ten speakers and trainers will include Prof. Larry Wallack, Mark Weiner, Kari Chisolm, and Jake Weigler. For more information, go to http://politicorps.org/art-of-persuasion/. And let us know if you’ll be there.

3. Out of Balance: Through the Gender Lens

Last, for those of you interested in taking a look at our national budget through the lens of gender justice, Women’s Action for New Directions has teamed up with the National Priorities Project on a presentation addressing just this question.

The event is in the format of a webinar, meaning that you can join in from anywhere in the state, as long as you have access to a phone line and internet. You’ll get access codes that allow you into the call, and be able to follow the information from your computer monitor. The webinar will critique the 2011 budget, and look at how federal policies can have profound local impacts.

In the midst of a recession, cuts need to be made – and too often those cuts push already vulnerable communities further out into the cold. This webinar will help participants to understand and be able to talk about why funding priorities – human needs over wars at home and abroad – are even more important today than ever.

The webinar is offered at both 10am and 5pm on Wednesday, June 16th – pick your time – and will last one hour.

And you know who to contact to get on this call: cara@rop.org.

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P.S. & Reality Check: We realize that many training opportunities are difficult to take advantage of for folks who live far from Portland and other population centers. One of our life goals at ROP is to make organizing skills and resources accessible to believers in human dignity across the state. If you choose to attend one of these Portland events, we can help you find local housing if that makes your participation possible. And remember that ROP staff are often on the road supporting our member groups to develop strategy sessions and organizing skills. Just give us a call.

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