This year’s Rural Caucus and Strategy Session is all about, “Organizing with Hope in Times of Crisis.” In preparation, Human Dignity Groups around the state will root outexamples of Hope and Crisis in each of our communities, and collage them together to build the peoples’ story of struggle, courage and new models of survival in rural Oregon.
Think of it as a scavenger hunt, a show-and-tell, or a group crafts project. Bring your stories to the ROP Caucus coming up in a few short weeks and together we’ll build a visual representation of hope & crisis with pictures, brochures, art and news stories.
If you worked on last month’s KTA interviewing local service providers about the community’s most pressing needs and most creative solutions – include that information in your project this month. Build on that information to create a visual and engaging representation of what your community is facing, and the grassroots response.
What is the KTA?
This month’s KTA asks you and your groups to share with your fellow ROP activists and organizers how the economic crisis is affecting your community by bringing a visual representation of what is happening to the Caucus (or sending it to ROP so we can bring it!). This could be newspaper clippings, photos, notes or anything you can pin to a wall!
Two questions that we might want to ask ourselves while doing this exercise are:
– What are indicators of the effects of the economic crisis, and how is this being felt at the grassroots?
– What solutions are our communities developing, or in what ways are we organizing to confront these acute challenges?
You might find that the food bank is running short or that local businesses are shutting their doors, laying off workers, or that home foreclosures are on the rise.
You might discover that your neighbors are starting community gardens, or that parents are organizing to demand funding for education, or that community-run libraries are opening. Don’t forget to include how your group is speaking out about the issues that affect your community.
Why this Activity?
We are all experiencing economic pressures in our own way, inside of our own communities and families – and the more that we can share about what this feels like, the more we can strategize about how to take advantage of the opportunities that this crisis also brings. There are also great solutions out there already, and we want to hear about them!
What better place to bring these all together than at the Rural Organizing Project Annual Caucus and Strategy Session!
Steps to complete this Activity:
This month’s activity can be done by any one member of your human dignity group, but like all things, is much more fun when completed with friends!
1. Reflect on the pressures that are affecting your community, and what your neighbors and community leaders are doing to confront these challenges. What examples have particular relevance for you, tell a rich story or seem to encapsulate the experience of your community?
2. Decide how you want to communicate this information. The end result should be something visual that can be combined with the things brought by communities across the state and put on display at the Caucus on March 15th. Some ideas are:
Basic: Clip articles out of your local newspaper. An article with statistics about how many children in your county have no access to health insurance could serve as an example of the economic crisis. Alternately, clip stories about an inspiring effort of neighbors coming together to start a community garden to show how this crisis has caused folks to work together for the good of everybody.
Mid-range: Don’t just read about these things in the paper – go out and investigate! Go to the local humane society and snap pictures of the pets that have been dropped off as owners are unable to afford to keep them. Go down to the new community-run library with your camera, and bring some library brochures with you for others to peruse at the Caucus.
Advanced: Take your results from last month’s KTA about the Listening Project, and dress them up for the public. Do you have notes from your interviews? Emails exchanged with service providers? Pictures of the people you visited? Get ready to take your work on the road.
3. With all of these ideas, feel free to go as big or small as you want. Bring your mish-mash folder of newspaper clippings and scraps of paper to pin to the wall at the Caucus, or prepare a posterboard that presents your findings in an organized science-fair style way.
4. Most importantly: come to the ROP Caucus and Democracy Bailout Day in Salem on March 15th and 16th to share your stories with the rest of us, and hear stories from around the state during our “Organizing with Hope in Times of Crisis” conversation. You will also have a chance to share these stories in personal visits with your legislator. Register for the Caucus today at www.rop.org.
5. If your group is not able to send a representative to the Caucus this year, send your stories by mail in advance. The timeline is short though, so get busy! You should send stories by March 7th at the latest to be sure they get to us in time!
6. As always, tell your favorite ROP staff person that your group is working on this. That way we can provide assistance and make room for your visual at the Caucus.