Aug 2010 KTA: Town Halls – Democracy, Summer Style

As the summer adventures nip at our heels, many of us are taking roadtrips to the far reaches of Oregon – from Hells Canyon in Wallowa County to the Tropical rain forests of Curry County, rural Oregon is a destination.

This month, our elected officials will be doing the same thing, stopping in small town cafes and browsing books at the library as they prepare for the August tradition — the Town Hall.

This month’s Kitchen Table Activism is to get you and your group ready and attend your local Town Hall or if there isn’t one in your area give your Congressperson or Senator a call to ask them some questions about the important topics of the day.
ROP created a simple one-page toolkit that shares several focus questions about some of the hardest issues impacting our communities and brings a human dignity frame to our demands; we have the most affect when we act together.

What is the KTA Activity?

Attend your local Town Hall!
Town Halls hold the promise of democracy. They represent the potential for dialogue between our elected leaders who are often very removed from our communities and those of us who are living the struggles each day. We have a few minutes a few times a year to engage with electeds in this way, let’s be strategic about how we use it.
Take a unified message that our issues are interconnected.
Stop Wall Street’s raids on our local economy.
Stop ICE’s raids on our immigrant neighbors.
We want a fair economy, just immigration reform & the funding for human needs.
Why this KTA?
Our experience with the Town Halls in August of 2009 showed that we cannot be passive in our engagement with these classic events. To have our voice heard, we need to be well prepared.
We are trying to affect real change in our world – to stop wars, to demand just policy, to rebuild fair economies, in addition to being active members of our communities. To accomplish any of our goals we need to be our strongest selves and bring all of our power to the interactions with our elected officials. We are more powerful when we act together with a unified voice.
The strength of ROP is our ability to have a unified message that reverberates around the state and hits the ears of our Congresspeople and Senators again and again.
Steps to complete the activity:
  1. Get your group together and call your representatives to see if they have a local Town Hall scheduled. Here is the current list of scheduled Town Halls and the contact information for your representatives.
  2. Review the messages and the questions in ROP’s Town Hall Planning document. Is the group willing to take these messages and questions to the Town Hall? Or if there is no Town Hall, will you call up the elected official’s office and ask these questions?
  3. Choose your roles. Who will get there early and save seats in the front rows? Who will bring the sign in sheet for all the folks in the crowd that seem friendly? Who can print off stickers with the message and bring them? Who will ask the questions? Who will call through your group’s list to ask people to join you all at the Town Hall? Who will send out the email announcement?
  4. Go to the Town Hall. Get there early, ask questions, share your opinion & let the representatives know that we are watching their votes and we are organizing our communities! Be sure to let them know that you are part of a statewide network of people organizing for a just democracy – the Rural Organizing Project.
  5. Afterward invite all the volunteers out for a casual get together. Have iced tea or ice cream and talk about how it went and what you all might do next.
  6. Follow up. Let ROP ( know if you went to a Town Hall and how it went. Let’s keep track of what we’re hearing and learning.