Organizing Organizing for America in the Q.C.
Posted on 18 Jul 2009 by Rhi Bowman
Thursday, July 16, roughly 75 people gathered at the Teamster’s Local Union, at 5000 N. Tryon St., to be part of Organizing for America’s Listening Tour.
The purpose, said Lindsay Siler, OFA’s North Carolina director, was “to help them understand what Charlotte’s [OFA] structure should look like,” adding, “It’s about people having a say and empowering all of you to bring change to your community.”
The group is looking for community organizers who are willing to put in 10–20 hours per week to further OFA’s cause. Next month, said Siler, it’s all about heath care.
At the outset of the meeting, Siler thanked the crowd for their hard work during President Obama’s historic campaign. She then mentioned that, since his election, those who volunteered for the Obama/ Biden ticket have felt a little cut off.
“We need some fire from President Obama,” said a woman in the crowd, “There’s not the same acknowledgment of the grassroots efforts. We need him to acknowledge OFA.”
The crowd was divided into seven small groups. Each charged with discussing the following questions:
- How should OFA look in our community?
- How can OFA connect our national priorities with local issues?
- What resources do we have?
- What would volunteers like from OFA?
A Web site, of course. (One man said he’s disappointed the group doesn’t have one yet.)
Some people want to see more town hall meetings and rallies.
Others miss the direct initiatives Obama’s campaign gave them.
Everyone seemed interested in having more unbiased information, straight from Washington and Raleigh.
Shout-outs from the crowd included, “We need facts, not hearsay,” and, “We don’t want he-said-she-said.”
Once everyone had a chance to air their concerns and ideas, Siler said, “Everything you mentioned is doable.” She agreed the most important aspect of the groups infrastructure will revolve around communication.
The group’s next agenda item? Putting together a state-wide plan and installing a regional director in Charlotte. Siler promised the group an e-mail with more details, saying it would arrive in 48 hours. (It hasn’t.)
So far, some small projects are already in the works. They include “Happy hour for health” on Fridays, where members are encouraged to host meet-and-greet gatherings to discuss the latest happenings in the health care debate and President Obama’s current position on the topic.
“Talk on Tuesdays” phone banks are also in the works.
While a couple members of Charlotte’s city council and one of mayoral candidate Anthony Foxx’s team made an appearance, none stayed for the duration of the listening tour stop.
Siler’s e-mail arrived Sunday afternoon. Here’s what it said:
Listening Tour Attendees,
Thank you for joining Greg and I this past Thursday; we walked away with many great ideas on how we can establish OFA here in NC and more specifically, in the Charlotte area. What we heard loud and clear was that communication must be an essential piece to our infrastructure.
We will work to ensure that your voice is heard in Washington, DC and we will provide you with the talking points, training, and opportunities you need to give voice to the change that you want to see. With that being said, this will be a process in establishing an infrastructure that can meet all of our needs and expectations, so I look forward to working with you. I am certain that together, we can make an effective and sustainable organization here in NC. As we work to incorporate all of the ideas that we gather over the next couple of weeks into the North Carolina plan, we will keep you posted on our process.
As you all know, the President’s top priority right now is health care reform. Folks, the TIME IS NOW to bring true Health Care Reform to our country! In this pivotal time in our country’s history, we’re approaching a rare moment where the collective voice of Americans is needed to guide our country toward a health care solution that positively affects ALL Americans.
As you know, the people of North Carolina have the eyes and ears of some of the most influential policy makers in our nation, so our collective voice is vital. Organizing for America is planning a National Week of Action and is looking to North Carolina to stand up and make their voices heard.
Please consider joining us this week as we take to the streets and the phones to ask our neighbors to join us in this effort. If you are interested in hosting a phone bank (with cell phones!), submitting a letter-to-the-editor or organizing a “Happy Hour for Health!”, please contact Greg at [email protected].
If you are interested in joining our Charlotte canvass on July 25th, please register at http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/gpf5wh
Thank you and remember, the TIME IS NOW to bring Change to America’s
Health Care!!! FIRED UP AND READY TO GO?!!!! WE ARE!
Look forward to working with you!
Organizing for America | NC State Director