GATHERING THE TRIBES
Grassroots activists from across the country will be convening in a rural camp setting near Des Moines, Iowa, August 22-25. The gathering, according to activist/organizer Karen May, “is tailored to address the needs and challenges we face as grassroots organizers, vs. a top-down vehicle for a national organization or an impersonal mega-conference.”
The national assembly is organized by dozens of volunteers from multiple organizations, including Andrea Catone, co-founder of the Action Together Network, which connects and supports leaders of progressive grassroots groups across the country.
The NNA exemplifies an organizing paradigm that has taken shape among activists since the November, 2016. Instead of top-down, command and control structure, new activist coalitions emphasize collaborative leadership, horizontal networking, and the surrender and distribution of power.
“While we build power, community, and capacity together,” said May, “We’ll also have the chance to get to know fellow organizers from across the country in person, build relationships, share lessons learned, and strategize together. We are taking over an awesome summer camp, with a great mix of unstructured networking time, skills training and best practice sharing, movement strategizing, and FUN, including great outdoor activities, music, campfires, etc.”
The conference will feature workshops lead by Heather Booth, Beth Becker, and Reyma McCoy McDeid, and program tracks include Organizing, Elections and Direct Action; Collaborative Leadership; Coalition Building; Technology; Policy and Issues; Organizational Design and Operations; Communications and Marketing; Arts, Culture, and Activism; and Wellness and Resiliency
Admission to the conference is limited, but space is still available. The camp setting enables a low cost of $185, which includes air-conditioned accommodations (with wifi) as well as meals for all four days. Scholarships and transportation assistance available.