Kitchen Table Activism: No Special Duty

Background: Kitchen Table Activism (KTA) is a monthly activity by the Rural Organizing Project. The idea is that small actions can lead to powerful collective results when groups of people gather to complete the same action across the state of Oregon. ROP works to keep each KTA easily achievable so that groups with other projects or groups with limited immediate energy can still complete the KTA each month.

WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?

A few months ago, we heard of an awesome project that organizers in Corvallis took on and this seemed like just the time to share it with the network! Organizers with the Mid-Valley Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) chapter in Benton County hosted a teach-in last fall, where they invited community members to join them to listen to and discuss the RadioLab episode “No Special Duty.” This episode uncovers multiple stories of policing across the US where the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement has no special duty to protect people. This month’s activity is to use the Teach-In Guide they shared with us to host your own discussion on the episode! Your group can decide whether you want to invite the broader community to participate in the teach-in or host the conversation within an upcoming group meeting. Reach out to us at Emma@rop.org if you want support making a plan for your teach-in! 

Screet shot of Radio Lab website with details about the episode

WHY THIS ACTIVITY?

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed too many people murdered by police across the country, from Daunte Wright to Adam Toledo, from Ma’Khia Bryant to Andrew Brown Jr., and Robert Delgado right here in Oregon. We have also gotten the news that Derek Chauvin is guilty on all counts of murdering George Floyd. While we know people in every county in this state have taken to the streets in the last year to demand Justice for George Floyd and in defense of Black lives, understanding the problem is also an important piece of creating real solutions. This podcast episode discusses one part of the problem, and we think it is one great way to kickstart a conversation about what true safety could look like in communities across our state. 

HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:

1. Check out the Teach-In Guide put together by the Mid-Valley International Workers of the World (IWW). This document includes a facilitation guide, suggested discussion questions, and even a sample letter for contacting your local law enforcement!

2. Make a plan for who to invite to the conversation. Is this going to be just your group’s leadership team? Your book club? A virtual event open to the entire community?

3. Listen to the podcast episode by Radio Lab: “No Special Duty”

4. Discuss and make a plan for what your group wants to do next to engage around true public safety in your community! Want support in making this happen? Contact your local ROP organizer or email emma@rop.org!

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