Semester One Final Assignment:
Building Community to go from a Moment to a Movement
Thank you for being part of Resistance School this semester! We understand that Resistance School students are at many different phases in their organizing journeys -- that’s okay!
As Assemblyman Blake shared in Session Four, community is fundamental to making this a sustainable movement. So before semester two kicks off, we’re asking you to either find, begin engaging, or engage more deeply with your community. Please follow the steps in the worksheet below based on where you ended Semester One of Resistance School.
I. I watched the sessions alone, and I’m not clear how to find that community.
Before Semester 2, start collaborating with others locally!
Often we just need an excuse to start engaging with others in our community to discover shared values. So here is your excuse! Use the videos, readings, and worksheets from the first two sessions to help you get grounded in your own values and get creative about where you might find people nearby with whom you can connect.
Make a list of 10 people you know and call them each to schedule time to get coffee and talk about your interest in forming a local group. Ask lots of questions and listen for what their values are! What do they care about? Why do they care? What’s their story? Share your story too. Be transparent about what you care about and why. Use the worksheets below for support.
II. I watched the sessions alone but have a group of friends I think would make a great community for this work
I watched the sessions in a group, but we didn’t have time to formally launch as a team.
Before Semester 2, launch your local team!
We know that real change comes when strong teams stand together, lead together, and pursue a shared purpose together. If you have a group of people who you are already working with, or who are interested in working with you, then schedule time to meet in person together (around 5 - 7 people usually works best) and go through the team launch exercise using virtual coach and worksheet from Session 3. We can’t wait to learn your team name, shared purpose and chant!
III. I am currently working with an established group.
Before Semester 2, engage your community to set a strategic goal!
Organizing begins with two key questions: Who are my people? What problem are they facing? Engaging your broader community enables your team to determine a motivational and concrete goal to work towards that speaks to a real, lived problem in your people’s lives (and to start finding more people to work on this goal with you!)
Semester 1 final assignment: Decide on a strategic goal with your team after each member of your team talks to at least five people from the community to exchange stories, values, and interests. This requires scheduling two meetings with your team: 1. Planning meeting and 2. Strategic goal meeting. Complete this worksheet during each meeting as indicated below.
1. Planning Meeting
When will you have your team meeting to decide on a strategic goal? ______________
Working backwards from that date, what’s the deadline by which you will each have 1-1 meetings with at least 5 members of your community? How many 1-1s will you have? Who will you be meeting with? Complete the community engagement worksheet below for support and accountability. If you’ve done your team launch, the constituencies should correspond with the roles you determined.
You might also consider some additional research questions to assign across your team to add to your base of knowledge about your community:
Are there any local elections coming up that will impact your community?
Are there any statewide elections coming up that will impact your community?
Are there other active groups in your community with whom you could begin to connect around common values and shared interests?
Community Engagement Plan
Use this tracking spreadsheet to keep detailed notes and hold each other accountable.
2. Strategic Goal Meeting
After all members of your group have had at least five 1-1s, at your next team meeting discuss what you heard people say. What problems are folks concerned about? What changes are they interested in? Based on the values and interests of your community, what is a strategic goal that you may want to focus on?
Criteria for selecting a strategic goal:
1) Specific Focus: It’s concrete, measurable, and meaningful. If your constituents win, achieving this goal will result in visible, significant change in their daily lives. This is the difference between “our goal is to win reproductive justice” and “our goal is to ensure that every student has access to free, round the clock contraception on our campus.”
2) Motivational: It has the makings of a good story. The goal is rooted in values important to your constituency, requires taking on a real challenge, and stretches your resources: It isn’t something you can win tomorrow. Think David and Goliath.
3) Leverage: It makes the most of your constituency’s strengths, experience and resources, but is outside the strengths, experience and resources of your opponent.
4) Builds Capacity: It requires developing leadership who can organize their own constituency to enhance the power of your organization.
5) Contagious: it could be emulated by others pursuing similar goals.
Brainstorm a list, discuss it, then decide! Note: You will likely refine your goal as you move forward and get feedback. You may even decide to change it altogether, but it’s important to have a clear sense of direction to get into action and learn from experience!