On Saturday November 1, 2014, the ROCkers (Regional Organizing Committee) met for their first in-person gathering to discuss increasing resilience in the New England region. We were hosted by Greg Sankey and others at Revive the Roots, a Transition initiative based at a beautiful farm and common space in Smithfield, RI.
The day was divided into three main parts. After introductions, we discussed “Our Story and Our Network.” Secondly, we focused on two key values: Equity and Resilience. After an amazing lunch of soup and eggplant parmesan–made from eggplants grown right there at Revive the Roots–we discussed next steps and hosting a Spring Gathering for the full network.
Our Story and Our Network
The New England Resilience & Transition network (exact name yet to emerge) has met four times over the past two years. We thought a bit about this history and what led to the formation of the ROCkers. We also delved a bit into “network theory,” noting that networks are based in connections, and can then move into alignment, and finally into action. Trust is the basis of a functioning network, so “whatever else we are doing, we had better also focus on building trusted relationships,” as one ROCker put it.
Our Values: Equity & Resilience
Next, we did an exercise to learn a little bit about each others’ class backgrounds. The exercise highlighted how complex and idiosyncratic our backgrounds are. We also had a wide-ranging and rich conversation about the race and class dimensions of our organizing. We used the following statements as prompts:
- Equity is intrinsic to true resilience.
- In order to succeed, we need to build a diverse, cross-class movement.
We noted that there are challenges to increasing diversity within our local initiatives, and with building alliances with groups doing related work who come from different class and race backgrounds (such as environmental justice groups). We discussed these challenges and also the successes some initiatives are seeing, as well as the importance of forging authentic relationships.
After lunch, we discussed the need to create a “network map” of both the initiatives involved in the bigger network and the greater landscape of activity in the New England region.
We also began a conversation about convening the full network of New England grassroots groups for a full Spring Gathering. We considered where and when to hold this gathering. A subcommittee is forming to examine this question further – please email Sarah@localcircles.org to join it. We’d love your input.