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Outreach and potluck committee meeting minutes July 21, 2009

In attendance: Ahmina, Nisa, Steph, Rich, Ron L., Andre, Dessa, Derek, Andrea, Derrell (national), Rocio, Priscilla, Kelty and Alex from Wisconsin, Harlan and Paris.

1. DLOC meeting debrief and Q&A: Ahmina gave a summary of the structure for local organizing committees as presented at the July 14 DLOC meeting.

a. Rich suggested – use 15 minutes to talk about issues going on in the city (including committees, not just the D-LOC), perhaps during the introduction section. Ahmina thought it would be a good idea to suggest this at the next D-LOC meeting.

2. NPC meeting: Ahmina reported that at the national level for USSF 2010, there are working groups complimentary to our own at the local level. Ahmina was on the first conference call. Would like one or two people to be on those calls (once a month). We can discuss this further at the next meeting.

3. Nominating outreach chairs: The group discussed duties of the chairs (see structure for local organizing committees sheet). Eg. Announcing committee meeting dates/times, agendas, facilitating, etc. Rich suggested that the chair also should look around the table and seek feedback after/before meetings to ensure maximum participation of all members.

a. Ahmina is stepping down as outreach chair.

b. Seeking nominations? Dessa was nominated by Derek. Also, Nisa would like to continue as co-chair. 4. Committee workplan: Dessa created a draft timeline/workplan for the outreach committee, using the Midwest Academy organizing model/strategy chart. Dessa explained how this chart works. We want to ensure that people we reach out to are invested in the process, not just coming to the social forum.

a. Dessa went over some examples of tactics listed and talked about how many of the tasks may need to take place in Summer 2009.

5. Discussion of mission/goals:

a. Rich asked about the mission/scope of the outreach committee. Ahmina talked about developing a kit for outreach, provide tools for D-LOC folks to do outreach… Rich talked about outreach to take place in Detroit and also Southeast Michigan. We should set goals for numbers of people from various regions, backgrounds, ability, etc. Rich noted that going through organizations may not always bring the people.

b. Priscilla noted that we had talked about Detroit/SE Michigan as the focus of outreach and that the national outreach committee is doing national outreach. What about the rest of Michigan? Include also our neighbors across the border.

c. Rocio raised the issue – when we outreach to people, what are we asking them to do? To move social movements or to come to meetings. We should be clearer on these goals. Not just potlucks. Eg. Outreach that Black Panthers did… popular education. Should we be doing more types of outreach?

d. Rich is working on a subcommittee: people around the country who will be doing the caravan to Detroit. How advance caravan from 2007 to 2010 and include “work brigades,” intergenerational dialogues, etc. Priscilla talked about having spaces for people working on similar issues to come together and meet/etc.

e. Derrell talked about his experiences doing outreach for the first USSF in Atlanta, starting with a braindump --- each individual and their networks – events, festivals, locations, etc. We can define our own regional area. What is our baseline? Also, we should consider cosponsoring other groups’ events as a form of outreach. We want to look for people that want to come to the table that can’t come to meetings.

f. Future meetings will be focused on tasks, etc.

g. Ahmina noted that we now have a list of block clubs. Should we break out into potluck/outreach committees.

h. Ron L. about the need to develop a good database for outreach, and set a goal for the number of people we’d like to add to our database each month that are interested. Eg. 10,000 “touches” and “IDs” as supporters. Keep mentioning the U.S. Social Forum to build momentum. Similar to electoral campaigning – counting voters in support along the way as you approach Election Day.

i. Dessa talked about how the workplan she drafted falls in line with what Ron L. talked about. We need to funnel people into other committees, doing the orientations, etc.

j. Rich noted that touching people is different from engaging them in the social justice work. It’s not just about numbers – need to keep the conversation moving, and take the time to have real conversations in a transformative way

k. Derek agreed that we need to use outreach as a way to talk about “another world” being possible. How do we engage people and change their lives. Not just about getting people to come to meetings.

l. Derrell talked about not considering it exclusively our burden to change everyone’s lives – we can refer people to other organizations, etc. The first point needs to be to get people comfortable and feeling connected to us. Eg. Atlanta USSF – folks were surprised. Our job is to get people excited so other people feel it! 

m. Rocio noted that we need to have our purpose written down and develop a budget. Also, we can be creative about ways we do outreach – eg. go into communities and clean up, volunteer, knock on doors, etc. There are multiple ways to do outreach.

n. Ahmina noted that Derrell, etc and the national outreach committee has done their purpose statement. To have predominant composition of ---- people of color, LGBT, people with disabilities. And non-organized participation – not just at the forum but also in the planning process. 30,000 people to come to Detroit. 15,000 will be from Detroit.

o. Ron L. noted we need to expand the committee because there is a lot of work to be done. Need to do this early. Will be based on personal relationships.

p. Priscilla was thinking about having a potluck toolkit so we can pull together potlucks quickly.

q. Dessa noted that outreach committee’s job is to develop the tools, other people can also be doing outreach, not just us!

r. Ahmina talked about the need to figure out how to deal with the multitude of community events we are requested to be at. Also, need someone to take the creative ideas (eg. Flower bombs, etc.) someone out side of the chairs. We could have a volunteer corps. We can build up our name – as an entity that people get excited about (branding).

s. CIVICCRM – some tool. Interactive website people can add themselves on – database. With tags.

t. Nisa suggested creating a website with a calendar of events that people could sign up and say they are going to x or y event. On Sunday, July 26, Mallory is coming to train on how to use it. Ahmina suggested communications committee should be in charge of database management.

u. Andrea noted they use Razor’s Edge at her work.

v. Purpose:

i. Inform people that the USSF is coming, its purpose and how it relates to their lives.

ii. Empower/enhance/fortify individuals in their work! Help people build the momentum in their work. Solidarity… reenergize.

iii. Get people invested in the process of creating the social forum.

w. Priscilla noted that coming back from WSF 2003, Detroiters coming back talked about new ideas, etc. Explaining the USSF process to someone is difficult.

6. Outreach list: Nisa suggested everyone to come up with contacts, names, organizations, etc. corners of the community to have in mind for actual outreaching. Ahmina noted there is now a list of block clubs, etc. Ahmina suggested we get people scheduled to go to different meetings and speak. Derek suggested we call block club leaders and invite them to our meeting (DLOC). Ask when their meetings are.

a. Dessa noted that there is a list already of 100 orgs but we haven’t done anything with it yet. We need to have a system that works and a living list.

b. Ahmina will be in charge of developing the system/living outreach list. Maybe ask Leeann or Rachel to help out.

c. August 1st to have the system done by! Get everything compiled by then. 7. Individual interests:

a. Derek and Andre both mentioned being willing to talk. Also, engaging people in talking about issues in their lives, get them involved, etc.

b. Andrea: data, and used to outreach, flyering, postering

c. Priscilla: potlucks and connecting people and kits. Wants to have a supply of materials.

d. Paris: wanting to figure out ways to help out.

e. Nisa: face to face interactions, tabling, etc.

f. Ahmina: getting stuff in order, liaison to anchors or national, database, etc.

g. Steph: Potlucks and creative ways to engage people (eg volunteer corps), tabling and okay with presenting, etc.

8. Printing/materials:

a. Nisa talked about printing posters for kits. Union printer as a high cost, high quantity.

b. Ahmina talked about union printing as a must.

c. Are we doing tshirts, banner, etc. Nisa talked to Design Collective – they are working on a design right now, and it’s on the horizon. May have it done by early August.

9. Harlan talked about the million father’s march he helped organize and the fact that there are connections made there. We should keep the momemtum going with an outreach arm, to feed people directly in. He’s meeting with Grace Boggs tomorrow evening.

Next meeting: Tuesday, August 4th, 6:00 p.m., @ location TBD. Potentially at Café Con Leche.