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 manage to complete the KTA each month.
WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?
This month’s Kitchen Table Activity is to gather your group together to debrief the election. Votes will soon be counted, and as results come out we need to gather together to make a plan of where we go from here. We might be celebrating powerful ballot measure victories! We will certainly be getting a new Governor! No matter what happens, we know that we will need each other to figure out how the results inform our local organizing plans for the year ahead.
While this KTA focuses on how we build momentum following the election, we know that many groups are hard at work carrying out election plans that run through November 8th! Check out October’s KTA for ideas about how to get out the vote and talk about issues on the ballot with your neighbors.
In the crucial period immediately before, during, and after Election Day, many human dignity groups, as well as election officials, are on high alert for threats, misinformation, and voter intimidation. We’ve seen some concerning activity already, including unidentified people knocking on doors claiming to investigate election fraud in Oregon and armed militias monitoring ballot drop boxes in Arizona. Here are a few resources to support your group in staying vigilant:
- Sign up for Protect Our Elections Movement Briefings with Anat Shenkar-Osorio Communications, which begin Friday, November 4th (tomorrow!) at 8:30 am Pacific Time / 9:30 am Mountain Time. These national briefings will discuss how to navigate the immediate post-election period and provide guidance on how to best discuss and defuse election threats. Briefings will also be held on Wednesday, November 9th and continue daily after that as needed.
- Check out the Protect Our Elections digital toolkit for suggested narratives and content to neutralize false claims about the election.
- Please contact us for support in responding to election intimidation, ballot box monitoring, or any other threats that you hear about in the coming days!
WHY THIS ACTIVITY?
It’s been a year full of surprises and the polls have people biting their nails. Whether in celebration or commiseration, coming together to debrief election results will be essential for building hope, safety, and a sense of community for the long haul. At the ROP Board meeting last weekend, board members shared that it was so worth the extra effort to meet in person because of the joy and energy that comes from being in the same space together and breaking bread.
HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
1. Gather your leadership team together to plan the debrief. Share this KTA with your group. Consider inviting 2 or 3 new people to help with planning – everyone loves food and discussion.
2. Figure out the details:
- What are your goals? Just to talk, to meet all those campaign faces and keep them involved, to thank everyone who worked so hard, or to remind folks that even though the election is over, we still care about the issues?
- Who will you invite? Should it be medium (core + active folks), bigger (core + active + members + everyone on your lists), or open to everyone in the community?
- What is your style? What will your debrief be like? What’s right for your community? See below for ideas!
- When? After November 8th, some people might want a little break to have time to process. Other folks may want to process while the moment is still fresh.
- Where? Think comfort! Consider having it in a home or at a cozy cafe where you can get tea and all sit together.
- What will be your next move? This event will attract your old human dignity group friends and new community allies. How will you stay connected to these folks after the event and keep them engaged?
- How will you describe the event and get people to participate? Plan out a catchy title, a short description, and how you will get the word out. For example “Post-Election Celebration and Potluck. Come reflect on this year, the election, and our political future with [HUMAN DIGNITY GROUP]!”
3. Reach out to folks to invite them to the debrief! Personal phone calls to everyone you brainstormed work best.
4. Plan what will be on the agenda. Check out the suggested discussion questions below!
5. As always, let ROP know what you’re up to, and let us know how we can support your organizing! Over the phone, over email, or maybe even in person, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
What is your style?
High energy, down-home, glamorous, structured, or food-based? Pick what works for your community. Here are some of our suggestions:
- Reflection Round Table. What about the issues? We work all year on the issues that we care about deeply, then the election comes and candidates get all the attention. Bring it back to the issues we care about, like public schools, immigrant rights, racial justice, queer rights, and affordable housing. Have a discussion about the work you did this year, the election, and how it all fits together. Invite people who were election-focused activists that you want to keep around for the long haul and invite those who were turned off by campaigns to get re-engaged in the issues they love!
- Welcome Wagon Express. An event with the specific goal to get all those great new faces into the room to share in the reflection and excitement. Welcome them to the post-election community! Reflect on the election. Discuss how this election season affected your group, all the great work that you did, and where you all might want to go from here. Have nametags, sign-up sheets, and hot apple cider.
- Year End Celebration. You all did a lot this year. Do you have newspaper articles, videos, radio clips, flyers, or other media that express your success? Did you do a lot that hasn’t been documented yet? Make signs with the number of election guides distributed and handmade posters about other events that you held. Show them off, talk about all the great campaign work, invite people to reflect and reminisce on a fruitful year, invite new folks to come reflect on the election year, and talk together about what 2023 holds. Add an extra spark by hosting ROP’s exhibit, Bridging Divides, Defending Dignity, to broaden the history you’re reflecting on!
- Post-Election Potluck. Everyone in the community is invited to come debrief and reflect on the elections, enjoy food, and talk about what the next year might hold for progressives in this country and in your community.
Questions to get the discussion rolling:
No matter what your style, pick someone from your group to facilitate the discussion. Ask open-ended questions and let people respond and be inspired by each other! Start off with a go-around to give everyone a chance to introduce themselves and share before a free-for-all dialogue. Here are some ideas for questions that will get the conversation rolling and keep you on track to move through the election into the future.
- How do you see your election work relating to the long-term social justice movement?
- What is one thing that inspired you about this year and one thing you are looking forward to in the next year?
- How do the statewide ballot measure results affect our group and our work?
- What are you most proud of from this year, a campaign, or the election?
- How did the election build our group this year?
- What issues are you most interested in working on now that the election is over?
- What is our next move? Where do we go from here? Should we have a planning meeting to map out all our visions from tonight?