Building Change Saturday Workshops

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Workshops – Saturday, October 15, 2011

11:00 AM-12:00 PM

•    Action-Ready Communities No Matter Who is in Office– Celeste Taylor, Eleanor Jaluague (Regional Equity Monitoring Project)

Misuse of public funds adversely affects low and moderate income people.  Community-based equity principles create a culture of mobilizing.  Citizen monitoring creates a healthy democracy; the establishing accountability of public officials and agencies, and a check-and-balance mechanism that protects and upholds civil rights.

•    After Citizens United: Why the US Needs a 21st Century Democracy Movement– Eric Byler (Coffee Party USA), Frank Kirkwood (Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare), and Diane Sipe (Marcellus Outreach Butler)

What can we, the citizens, do to make our democracy work in an environment where our elected officials are dependent on and fearful of the large economic forces which finance election campaigns?  Reformers seeking economic and social justice discuss ways to fix our democracy.

•    Fracking: Regulate or Ban?– Marcellus Protest, Shadbush Collective, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

This workshop would explore the historical and philosophical roots for this tension, which is challenge for grassroots organizing in SWPA. we would invite participants to brainstorm strategies and tactics that could help give shape to a clearer and more resilient anti-fracking movement that is able to stand up to corporate power and its political influence.

Introduction to Restorative Peacemaking Circles– Marjorie Bing Stanislaw and Kristine M. Johnson (Strategic Circles Corporation)

•    Peacemaking Circles, a restorative practice, is a process used by many indigenous cultures.  It is a way of listening and speaking from the heart in an effort to reach a greater understanding of fellow human beings.  This workshop will include a brief overview of the process and participation in a Circle process.

•    Lighting the Spark: An Arts-Based Community-Building Dialogue– George Hogan (Diversity Footprint), Margaret Baco (Unity Through Creativity), Shari Mastalski (Dreams in Motion)

SeedSpeak is a listening project to discover diversity’s common immune response to social injustice.  This workshop uses the visual and active arts to model the message of the seeds of nature to ensure community sustainability.   Bring your uniqueness to help light this spark of transformation.

•    Police Accountability and Community Relations– Ngani Ndimbie (ACLU-PA), Mark Ozark (Black and White Reunion)

Police have the vital and difficult job of protecting public safety.  All police agencies need to respect the rights of individuals while enforcing the law. When allegations of misconduct arise, there must be policies and mechanisms to hold police accountable for their actions.

•    Queers Here– Dani Lamorte

Queer culture is often confined to “queer spaces” – places wherein non-heteronormative behavior is unproblematic.  Highlighting projects by Dani Lamorte, Queers Here focuses on how performance and art can undermine this status quo by injecting queer culture into the public sphere, uninvited and uninhibited.

•    Rules of Engagement: Healthcare Advocacy in Pittsburgh– Mikhail Pappas  (Policy Director, Sen. Jim Ferlo, PA-38)

Mikhail Pappas, Policy Director to State Senator Jim Ferlo (PA-38) will engage workshop participants in an active discussion and analysis of three regional health care advocacy campaigns, through the lens of a ‘rules of engagement framework.’

•    Single-Payer: National/State, Conflict or Collaboration?– Scott Tyson, Mary Pat Donegan (Healthcare 4 All PA)

Single-payer had become one of the most important topics on the political front, particularly after Vermont was able to sign into law a major step towards single payer, if not exactly single payer.  However, there are tremendous advancements being made at the national and state level to enact true single payer, and collaboration between groups has managed to take the process to levels never imagined even 10 years ago.  With the effort by the right to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, it is critical for progressives to understand what is at stake, how we can not only keep both of these vital safety net programs, but can strengthen them through a process of expansion and eliminating the insurance monopoly.

•    What Does Sustainability Mean?  Deconstructing, Discussing, and Applying Sustainability Principles to Our Organizing– Caroline Savery (Sust Enable: The Metamentary)

What does sustainability mean?  Let’s explore the many definitions and applications of sustainability as we examine how sustainability principles can improve our organizations and relationships.  Drawing from the diverse research and process of Sust Enable: The Metamentary, a holistic film all about sustainability, this will be an invigorating interactive workshop!

•    Women’s Economic Equality in a Post-Ledbetter, Post-Wal-Mart, Post-Bloomberg World– Heather Arnet (Women & Girls Foundation), Janice Pintar (Stember Feinstein Doyle & Payne)

Several recent high profile court cases involving large corporations (Goodyear Tire Company, Wal-Mart, and the Bloomberg Corp) have ended with the courts’ siding with the companies – and against the civil rights of workers. In this climate, how can women workers advocate, demand, and expect equal pay? How can we as social change advocates and champions work in our community to foster best practices aimed at decreasing our region’s drastic racial and gender wage gaps? How can we help defend workers’ rights, fight against discrimination, and work to advance protections and liberties for all? Join Sue and Heather for this frank and insightful conversation about the current laws, these recent court cases, the legal ramifications for us all, and the future path for all of us – employers, workers, and advocates – to work together as a community for economic equality.

Workshops – Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 1:00-2:00 PM

•    Asserting Community Rights: Prerequisite to Creating Sustainable Communities– Ben Price (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund)

The 1 hour workshop will be an introduction to CELDF’s Community Rights organizing, exploring the failure of conventional regulatory organizing and offering a new organizing model that helps citizens assert their right to local, community self-government against the usurpation of that right by corporations, licensed and chartered by the State. Learn how the rights of communities, people, and the earth have been adopted into local law, and corporations subordinated to those rights. Learn about the dramatic recent organizing in Pennsylvania and elsewhere by communities confronting corporations attempting to impose fracking, factory farms, sewage sludge, and other industrial catastrophes on communities against the consent of the people.

More information can be foundhere.

•    Building Community Assets through Cooperative Economic Development– Lisa Stolarski (Keystone Development Center)

This interactive workshop explores the many ways that local economies can be improved through cooperative enterprise.  Using examples, participants will learn about the basic co-op models: worker, consumer and small entrepreneur-owned, and which models fit which industries. Basic co-op development steps will be explored.

•    Building Mass Resistance in a Collapsing Economic/Political System– Mel Packer and Patrick Young

This workshop will focus on an honest assessment of the current economy, failures, and non-sustainability of same and the inevitability of its collapse and how folks must once again begin to build mass resistance across all lines that separate us.  It will recognize that those who currently run our economy will increasingly attack our living standards and attempt to undermine all support networks and social service benefits in order to continue increasing their profits and control as the economy declines.  The only answer is to build mass resistance that takes on those powers and confronts them in every way possible in massive bottom-up organized rebellion.

•    Community Organizing 101– Wanda Guthrie (Marcellus Protest)

  • How do we effectively organize for social justice?  Learn from dedicated activists what has worked, what hasn’t, and share your own visions for action.

•    How Can Adult Adoptees Change the Law to Get the Right to Their Own Original Birth Certificates?– Marianne Novy, Suzanne Polen, and Amanda Wolston (American Adoption Congress)

Since 1984, adults adopted in Pennsylvania have been legally denied access to their own original birth certificates with their own original name.  The presentation will explore the history and current state of this issue, with assistance of  a 22-minute You-Tube show and participation of speakers with varying experiences.

•    The Impact of War on Women and Children– Joyce Wagner (Iraq Veterans Against the War), Scilla Wahrhaftig (American Friends Service Committee), Edith Bell (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom), Francine Porter (Code Pink Pittsburgh)

This workshop will use dramatic readings, storytelling and art to graphically show the impact of the wars on women and children both in this country and in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There will be a time for all members of the workshop to share their own stories of how the war has impacted them.

•    InterPlay: Bringing Play and Fun to the Work of Changing the World– Toni McClendon, Sheila Collins, Pamela Meadowcroft, and Shari Mastalski (InterPlay Pittsburgh)

InterPlay is a global social movement connecting people, noble purposes, communities and lives. Learn some InterPlay tools to: 1) help advocates connect through their stories, 2) experience a community ritual that impacts participants and witnesses, 3) measure your successes, 4) and insure that everyone, including the community organizers, have FUN!

•    LGBTQ: Know Us, Understand Us, Accept Us– Susan Haugh and youth from Dreams of Hope, Vanessa Davis (GLSEN Pittsburgh)

GLSEN Pittsburgh and Dreams of Hope combine to bring you this interactive/informative presentation.  The youth will perform pieces about what it is like to be gay today and each will be followed by GLSEN information and statistics from the National Survey.  We will then open the floor for discussion.

•    Reproductive Justice 101– La’Tasha D. Mayes and Bekezela Mguni (New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice)

Reproductive Justice 101 is the standard training for the Reproductive Justice Movement.  RJ 101 trains individuals in their own communities on the fundamentals of the Reproductive Justice frame and its basis as a Human Rights approach.  The topics covered include defining Reproductive Justice, understanding Reproductive Oppression, the eight categories of Human Rights, intersectionality, movement-building and application in one’s own life, family and community.  Workshop activities include Self-Help, RJ Jeopardy, Identity Chart, Stand Up for Human Rights and the Intersections Dice Game.  RJ 101 is designed for those who are doing Reproductive Justice for the first time and for those seeking more information about our movement and New Voices Pittsburgh.

•    School to Prison Pipeline– Ngani Ndimbie (ACLU-PA), A+ Schools

The “School-to-Prison Pipeline” is a disturbing national trend wherein children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Students of color are especially vulnerable to push-out trends and the discriminatory application of discipline.

•    Vision to Connection to Community Action– Allen Goodman (Holistic Living Quest)

Our intent is to provide a friendly atmosphere where participants experience and become aware of how best they can serve society and who in their community might provide networking opportunity to enhance the realization of their vision.  The core assumption is that the experience of this session might be a catalyst for awareness, connection and a call for collective community action.