July 2009 KTA: That Perfect Summer Day

Summertime in Oregon is about as good as it gets, with community parades, farmers markets, and fairs nearly every weekend. That’s why the July KTA activity is to take advantage of these community celebrations to celebrate the launch of a statewide Peoples Economy!
So, go to the market, hangout at the parade & get a table at the festival because this year we are Bringing our Money Home so that next year we can have strong local economies and bigger and better community events & something to really celebrate.
July KTA: July in Oregon + Hope for a People’s Economy = that Perfect Summer Day
Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly project of the Rural Organizing Project. Often building on quarterly themes, short actions are described in each KTA. The theory is that basic steps and tasks can lead to powerful collective results as small groups of people gather to complete the same action throughout the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep the basic tasks easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still manage to complete the KTA each month.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY? Reach out and let people know you are there! When the economy is all anyone is talking about, let’s offer some ideas on a positive vision for our communities. This is about sharing with folks why local economies are important, what the power is of reinvesting our personal money in our communities.
Table for your group, hand out fliers, or have something fun and eye-catching, like games or colorful displays. ROP has a packet of everything you need to take the People’s Economy to the streets, all you need to do is select an event, get your materials together, and recruit a few group members or friends.
WHY THIS ACTIVITY? It’s fun and an opportunity to connect with people you never otherwise see! Public events are ideal for finding regular folks who share some of our views but haven’t been brought into the movement yet. Community events provide a great place to recruit new volunteers and share information with potential supporters. This also can provide a fun assignment for volunteers. Taking a shift at the county fair, handing out materials at a parade, or hosting a game at the farmers’ market can be a fun way to get more involved.
1. Determine when and where there are events that your group can attend. Pick one to start, or create a calendar for the summer. Be sure to include commitments from folks who will attend different events, or make a list of who to recruit.
2. Decide what your eye-catching outreach tool will be, and how you’ll engage folks. Will you hand out flyers and chat with people while wearing Local Avengers outfit? Make some colorful displays about the economy and hang out at a table at the farmers market? Set up an economy-themed game (like a coin toss where it is as hard to get a coin in the glass as it is to get a job with benefits)?
3. Make a list of materials you’ll want. The only MUST HAVE for materials is a way to get contact information from people who are interested in learning more about your group or the Peoples Economy. ROP has some great action cards that would be perfect, or make something yourself! Depending on what outreach tool you choose, your list might include:
  • ROP’s “I Want to Build a Peoples Economy” Action Card
  • A brochure that describes your group and the work you do
  • ROP’s People’s Economy One-Pager
  • small-mouth mason jars labeled “heath care,” “a full-time job,” “a retirement fund,” “full funding for your child’s school,” and ping-pong balls or coins for passers-by to test their luck.
  • display posters that show economic facts about your local community, like how much stimulus money the county is getting and where that is going or how much the average person spends on health care a year versus the cost of a community clinic.
4. Get out there and chat up some new friends! Be sure to get their contact information too for your group database and to send in to ROP – contact information for those folks that are warm to our message of human dignity and justice are gold!
5. Once your event is over, get back in touch with new friends – send them information about your group over email or by mail, and let them know how much you appreciated getting to know them! Add their information to your database and listserve and let them know about the next cool event you’ll have!