Resilient Communities

 

Hometown Strategies for a Democratic Economy are locally focused projects or programs that human dignity groups are using to both build a strong community that can survive our new economic reality, and work towards the longer-term goal of making a democratic economy a reality. 
Hometown Strategies are designed to expand our movement, connect together and build relationships for the long haul.

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At the ROP Annual Caucus in April, the self-reliant communities workshop tried to name "What does it mean to be ‘a resilient community?’ We listed at least 30 different elements — from living wage jobs to prosperity from within and from eliminating systems of oppression to disaster preparedness. The theme that emerged from each wonderful addition was interdependence. We decided to kick-off our series on Hometown Strategies for a Democratic Economy with that particular theme — interdependence & interconnectedness of people, communities & social movements is the undercurrent for all of the change that we are trying to create.

A useful tool for building your local resilient community is the first Hometown Strategy that ROP share over the next several months: The Common Security Club (CSC). The Common Security Club, often referred to as a Resiliency Circle, offers a vision beyond the troubled times and enables you to build the community that many of us are missing.

Often the communities that are closest to our homes, hearts and most related to our own power were deprioritized over the last few decades. Fortunately, for those of us who see every crisis as an opportunity, the CSC is a program that makes the problems clear, the solutions achievable and turns acquaintances into thoughtful friends.

The MacLeay Grange, friends of ROP in rural Marion County, were some of the first to make use of CSC. As Randi Embree says, resilient communities are about interdependence, “I think that [interdependence] is what’s at the heart here…[Building community] really is a matter of re-membering  (putting back into action ) what we’ve always done. How we see beyond our differences is about seeing how much better we all are together and how much we each bring to the table.” Contact Randi to learn more about the Grange’s on going projects with CSC.

 Resiliency Circles tackle three main areas:

  • Learning Together: What is our vision of a healthy sustainable economy?
  • Mutual Aid: What makes people secure? What can we do together to increase our ‘security’ on a local level?
  • Social Action: Coming together, what can we do to reclaim our economy from the casino capitalists?

View and download the one-page resource sheet that will get you started.

The beautiful thing about these Resiliency Circles is that the process is the goal.   Building community and thinking about growing the seeds of justice in our world should be enjoyable! The CSC gives us a framework to use and adapt to our own communities: blending our enthusiasm for social change with whatever format works for you. Have the CSC be a weekly potluck or have each week be hosted in a different backyard garden (or in the community garden!).

There are many people who are willing to support you in developing your own CSC or Resiliency Circle; we have materials to print and small-town peers who are ready to talk you through getting started.

CSC is only one spoke on the wheel of self-reliant communities and strong local economies. This is a starting place for those that want to build community using a good tool to help till the soil to plant the seeds. It’s yours! Use it.

Let us know if you want to learn more or want resources, contact Kari at cara@rop.org or 503.543.5417

 

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