Retake Joins Grassroots Community Conversations Partnership to Achieve Equity in Santa Fe

Comm Conv imageRetake Our Democracy is frankly sickened by the national political scene and not much happier with the state situation.

An Opportunity to Engage and Organize Around Equity.  So we are excited to be launching an opportunity to do something positive, something participatory, something community-driven. Retake is not leading this campaign, we are working with a tremendous group of partners– Chainbreaker, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, Earth Care, New Energy Economy, Indivisible, and Democratic Socialists of America.

organizing fishEach partner has its own constituency, its own outreach, engagement and organizing strategies. Each can have an impact. Imagine what we can accomplish together. And together we are developing a bold plan:  to organize the entire city, educate ourselves on the causes and possible solutions of inequity, and build an extraordinarily powerful base and that is ready to advocate for progressive candidates in Santa Fe in the City Council and Mayoral elections and then to be in a position to advocate strongly during the City budget process. We will build this base of power through a variety of really exciting outreach and education strategies, including:

  • block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood community canvassing and grassroots community organizing;
  • a series of panels and town halls focused on various aspects of equity, city policy, city budgeting;
  • an ongoing series of house parties that will serve both to educate our friends about gentrification and how public policy decisions impacts our most impoverished Santa Fe neighborhoods every day.

ListeningThis engagement, education and activism process is called Community Conversations and the best part of this process is that we are not entering it with the intent of pushing a specific agenda on anyone.  The first phase of Community Conversations will begin with something that we have done precious little of in the past two years: listening. The first wave of block-by-block canvassing, town halls, community meetings and surveying will be designed to hear from our communities, to find out more about their aspirations and fears and to learn more about what they are willing to do in and for their community and then reporting on what was found in posts on our blog and in community meetings and town halls.

EquityThe second phase of Community Conversations will include more canvassing, community meetings, house parties, and town halls but this time presenting programs and policies that could advance the aspirations identified in Phase I. Through a series of meetings Retake and our partners will work with the community to create a clear set of priorities founded on a vision of equity in Santa Fe.

Our overarching goal is to create a a citywide power base of well-informed residents who are firmly committed to equity and are committed to working with our elected officials to make equity the lens through which they make ALL policy and budget decisions. Individual policies are bandaids, a systemic solution is required and finding the elements to this systemic approach will be our journey. Join us on June 25 when we will kick off this campaign.

Take a standSun. June 25, 3pm-5pm. Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Community Kick-Off to Retake Campaign to Support Equity Summer. Equity Summer will be a transformational movement, and this is Retake’s kickoff to support the campaign. Go to our Facebook event pageant Click “Going” to RSVP. Or email me at paul@retakeourdemocracy.org.

Chainbreaker launches Equity Summer this month, and on June 25, Retake Our Democracy will kick off our efforts to support this important campaign. At this meeting, you will learn the many strategies to the campaign and the varied roles you can play. Among the roles:

  • canvassing your block and the four surrounding blocks using a research-based canvassing strategy called deep canvassing–a tool that will help you engage people and actually change minds when canvassing, when talking with friends, when testifying at the City Council, or when writing a letter to the editor;
  • hosting a house party with scripts, video, and Powerpoint provided (even projector); participate in a letter to the editor campaign;
  • attend and testify at City Council meetings and Planning Commission Hearings;
  • participate in book clubs and study sessions on policy issues;
  • conduct research into urban innovation and policies that effectively promote equity; organize town halls and panels; or
  • directly volunteer for one of our community-based organization partners.

You will leave with a clear idea of our goals, our strategies and the role you want to play. The communication strategies you will learn will prepare you for all forms of political activism and political conversation, from canvassing and participation in community meetings, to conversations with your GOP uncle. For details and to RSVP, click here. If you do not use Facebook, RSVP by writing to paul@retakeourdemocracy.org. 

We will also provide ongoing training in policy options related to affordable housing, public transportation, job development, rental supports, food deserts, and other issues related to equity.

This is certainly an ambitious project, but frankly Retake has heard again and again: ‘the world has gone mad, we want to do something.’ Our position is that you could sign petitions til hell freezes over and our state and national leadership will simply not care. So let’s work where we can have an impact. And the best part of this initiative is that we will have developed a process through which we can come together as a community, develop skills and relationships that will ensure that we can conduct the civic process in a respectful and dignified manner and we will have created a budget and policy framework with which we can hold our elected officials accountable to our voice.

Let’s do this here in Santa Fe and maybe, just maybe someone else will notice that politics doesn’t have to be dirty, doesn’t have to be about proving your point, but could actually be about trying to understand your neighbor’s point of view and working together to build a community focused on community, cooperation, equity, justice and sustainability instead of profit and competition.

More details are coming, but if you want to be part of something different, something dignified, something noble. It will be like taking the spiritual shower I think we all need.