We started a Neighborhood Action Group
You know the quote from Gandhi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world?"
Since the 2016 election, I have been craving an action group to be formed, one that might offer support and ideas for engagement and resistance, meet each other for marches, one whose members would encourage and share ideas for engagement. Somehow that never happened on its own, until I realized that I had the power to make that change happen myself.
So I did! And you can do it too!
How it started
I posted a message on my neighborhood Facebook group, to see if there was similar interest with my neighbors. There was! I set a date and time and this morning, just under a dozen neighbors and I met up in my living room to talk.
What we did
In the end, we followed a simple agenda which helped structure a lively discussion and keep us on track:
Welcome/Introductions. We went around the circle and learned a little bit about each other, including a short statement about why each of us were there.
Vision/Principles. What did we expect out of the group? What did we stand for?
Actions. Discussed ways in which we could help.
Simply having a place to voice our concerns in a safe place helped some of us to feel less alone. We discovered that many of us were already doing a lot to help and there were many ways in which we could engage and improve the world (and our own outlooks). The realization that our actions could lead to positive changes was immensely empowering.
Think globally, act locally
One of our mutual discoveries was that building up community was important to all of us. As a result, we've already set a date for an April brunch potluck to which we'll invite the entire neighborhood.
We are also discussing meeting for postcard parties, organizing to help local charities (food bank, providing supplies for refugees), banding together to march, encouraging calls and sharing resources.
Before we broke, we agreed to communicate via Slack, which would allow participation even by neighbors not on Facebook and help us to keep our communications and tasks focused.
Available resources to help you get started
Ready to get started? It's not as hard as you might think! Take the first step and set a date and time for your first meeting!
There are many resources available that make it easy for anyone wanting to start an action group!
Our meeting was loosely structured around the ideas presented by the Indivisible Guide Group Leader Toolkit. Among other things, it includes a sample kickoff agenda (which we mostly followed) along with ideas to help the meeting succeed.
I also looked to the the Women's March site, which offered suggestions on how to host a huddle.
Share your story!
Have you already started an action group? Are you planning to try it? Tell us about it in the comments!
Molly Lee is a long-time resident of SE Portland, Oregon and the mother of twin teenage boys. She would like to leave this world a better place for them. She is proud to act as the Web Director of NWGSDPDX.