WeROC August 2017 Meeting of the Whole

Join us for our next WeROC Meeting of the Whole:

When: Thursday, August 3 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Where: First Congregational UCC Church, 218 N Adams St, Ypsilanti

This month, we will discuss how we can best become involved in designing and passing a major county-wide millage to fund critically needed general mental health related services through the Sheriff’s Department.

Tad Wysor  – tadwysor@gmail.com

July ’17 Meeting of the Whole

Join us today for our July 2017 WeROC Meeting of the Whole:

Thursday July 6, 5:30 PM
New Beginnings Community Church, 4859 Ellsworth, Ypsilanti

(Light dinner provided.)
Here’s what’s happening: If you’ve been to any of our community organizing trainings, you know that the lifeblood of WeROC and MOSES is action…smart, collective, effective action, that lives out our values. Not only that, though, we design our action campaigns to create meaningful improvements and at the same time build WeROC as a powerful local and regional organization. Well, as you read this, WeROC leaders have begun seriously exploring how we can best become involved in designing and passing a major county-wide millage to fund critically needed general mental health related services through the Sheriff’s Department.

Tad Wysor  – tadwysor@gmail.com

WeROC Meeting of the Whole 6-1

Our June “first Thursday” Meeting of the Whole is Thursday, June 1, 5:30-7:15 pm, at Strong Tower Ministries, 134 Spencer Ln, Ypsilanti Township. (Light dinner provided). And isn’t this exactly the kind of time when, more than ever, we need good people from a lot of backgrounds and perspectives and experiences to get together and listen to each other? So much around us is changing so fast, and so much of it is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before — especially the rapid increase in major policy decisions being made or considered that seem designed to take more away from those among us who have already have been living with too much economic and racial and social inequity for too long.

WeROC May Meeting of the Whole

Thursday, May 4, is our monthly WeROC Meeting of the Whole:

5:30 pm – 7:15 pm
Community Church of God
565 Jefferson Avenue
Ypsilanti, MI 48197.

Light dinner provided. Learn of next actions on education (followup to meeting with Ypsi Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Edmonson) and on public safety (plans for Neighborhood Listening Campaign near Community Church of God in Ypsi).

Come learn how you can make these powerful upcoming actions stronger with your participation.

April 6 Meeting of the Whole

When:  Thursday April 6, 5:30-7:15 pm
Where: Beth Israel Congregation, 2010 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor (Building to the left of the main building).

Light dinner provided. Learn of next actions on education (followup to meeting with Ypsi Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Edmonson) and on public safety (plans for Neighborhood Listening Campaign near Community Church of God in Ypsi).

WeROC Meeting of the Whole 3-2-17

Don’t forget our monthly WeROC Meeting of the Whole, our chance to get together with other awesome folks committed to positive change in this community, and to catch up on current actions and plans.

Where: Ekklesia Fellowship Ministries, 123 N. Adams, Ypsilanti
When: Thursday 3/2/17,
5:30 PM – 7:15 PM

Three ways to experience how we’re building healthy collective power locally right now:

  • Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Edmondson will be present as we explore with him how our broad-based, collective voice can be best engaged in continuing to reduce suspensions and unnecessary expulsions. (Thanks to our Education Action Team for organizing this!)
  • Report from WeROC Training Event Planning Committee about the plans-in-progress for our major local community organizing training session set for Saturday, March 25 (to be rescheduled for another date).
  • Keeping the momentum going for all of us to set up and do short but serious one-on-one meetings with those we need in our web of relationships.
One more thing…celebrating community victories: EMU Administration dropped all charges against students who protested the racist grafitti on campus after hours at the Student Center. Broad support from WeROC clergy, local union leaders, allies, and the broader community were key to the University reversing its position! Let’s never underestimate our influence when large numbers of us are united around our bedrock values of community, caring, equality, and solidarity — especially when democracy seems to be in more danger than it has for many decades.


WeROC Monthly Meeting – Thurs Jan 5

As we move from the holidays into an uncertain New Year, let’s keep building human relationships, and some healthy strength in numbers, for the serious storms we’re likely to face together.  WeROC monthly Meeting of the Whole, Thursday Jan 5, 5:30-7:15pm, Church of the Good Shepherd UCC, 2145 Independence Blvd, Ann Arbor, between Packard and Manchester. 

Also, consider joining the WeROC table(s) at our “big sister” organization MOSES’ 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr Banquet — always a good program, always important for us to show our support for MOSES. Sign up on Eventbrite here .

Those of you who have participated in WeROC (or MOSES or Gamailiel) trainings will remember this simple, but often overlooked observation: that power comes either from organized money or from organized people.  We’re so used to thinking about power in terms of money that we can forget that second part — that WE have power, too — very substantial power if our numbers are large enough and our unity is strong enough.

Of course the difference is, when we build healthy collective power as grassroots people and institutions, it’s not power based on greed and division, disrespect, hate and fear — no, it’s power based on our best human values.  Values of community. Of caring. Of “we’re all in this together.” Values including — but broader than — our own personal interests. And looking beyond the immediate present to a longer-term vision for the future.  Although there are always those who try to paint these values as signs of weakness, we know that healthy, collective power based on these values and built on solid human relationships is actually the strongest force for human progress and development throughout history.

That’s why the congregations, organizations, and individuals who are joining together as WeROC, and others who consider becoming a part of WeROC, represent one of the true lights at this gravely uncertain time in our country’s and our state’s history. Organizing people is in our name!  We can expect the representatives of “organized money” to try to do what they have said they will do with the new powers they now find themselves with: That is, try to shift even more income and wealth upward, defund programs lower income people depend on, privatize public schools and other democratic institutions, create fear and divide us as working people, damage unions. Overall, they seem hell-bent on just making it harder for the majority of people who don’t share their values to get organized and stand in their way.

There’s no sugar coating it… the economic and social threats to ordinary people may be worse than at any time in a generation. But we come from traditions of faith and solidarity, and we already have a head start on working together. Come help us apply the tools of state-of-the-art community organizing to whatever we need to defend against… and, yes, to win positive victories whenever we can.

Meeting of the Whole 12-1

Please join WeROC for our upcoming Meeting of the Whole:

What: WeROC December Meeting of the Whole:
When: Thursday, Dec 1, 5:30 pm – 7:15 pm,
Where: Grace Fellowship Church, 1301 S. Harris, Ypsilanti (just north of Grove St.)

Relationships. Simple human relationships. At a time when we suddenly find huge, even overwhelming uncertainties all around us — when we can guess but really don’t know how things are going to unfold at the national, state, and, yes, local levels — don’t we need to be together, maybe like never before? And think about it… aren’t the human relationships we have built, and the new ones we choose to start building right now, aren’t they one of the few things we know — for sure — is a GOOD thing?

Some of us think it’s the most important thing at a time like this… probably always is, whether or not we’re actively paying attention to our connections with each other in a serious, intentional way. Depending on when you began paying attention to WeROC (and MOSES), and what your interaction has been, you may not know this: But THE fundamental building block that we use in our “state-of-the-art” grassroots community organizing model is just that — systematic, thoughtful, disciplined one-on-one relationship-building. And for WeROC, it’s time for another round of it.

The leaders of WeROC hope you will make a decision this week to be with us on Thursday. And not just as an observer, but prepared to agree to sit down with one, or three, or ten people over the next few weeks. People you know. People you don’t know. People who could be allies. And, heck, people who may be adversaries. Human beings all, right? People with deep stories and passions and hurts and gifts. People who may also be curious about who YOU really are! Thursday evening, we’ll have some tools, some tips, some partners for you in this simple, but critical, work together.

And we’ll also have some opportunities in the near future for us all to get back together and share and process what each of us is hearing. And begin piecing together powerful, strategic, collective action campaigns. Winnable campaigns led by people whose voices who aren’t heard enough and allies we help organize, to make real change happen in our area. We’ll probably have to play some defense for awhile, but we won’t let that prevent us from playing some smart offense whenever we can, to keep making forward progress together.

–Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer

November 3 Meeting of the Whole

Please join WeROC for our next Meeting of the Whole:
Time: Thursday November 3, 5:30-7:15 PM.
Place: Beth Israel Congregation, 2000 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor (Smaller building to the left of the main building).

Easy parking, light dinner, courtesy of Beth Israel. One important task will be for all of us to take the major local survey “Prioritizing Race and Policing Policies”, prepared by our friends at Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice and the Washtenaw Faith Leaders Forum, to help us and all our area allies focus our collective action on criminal justice and structural racism.

Looking for ways to get involved in local electoral politics in the next few weeks? There are several different campaigns you can join:

1) Is FINALLY connecting SE Michigan together with 21st Century regional transit something you’re passionate about? Well, in that case, volunteers like us are making the difference in Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. Here in Washtenaw, the local YES on Regional Transit campaign is setting up these opportunities for us to plug into — Please call Tad Wysor (734 883 3225) to take a shift, link up with other WeROC folks, or to find out more.

Phone banks (at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor) Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday: there is a special big push for calling Wednesday. Volunteers can show up for any amount of time between 5 and 8pm next week and Monday November 7, 3-8pm

Canvassing Saturday 10-2, Sunday 12-4 and Monday before the election 3-7pm — people-to-people is our strongest tool,

Staffing key polling places to hand out YES literature on Election Day, early morning and evening.

Also, can we put a “YES” sign in your yard? They just got the signs in — show your neighbors they’re not alone in wanting serious, connected transit in SE Michigan!

2) And finally, please continue to distribute to your congregation, organization, or network in whatever ways you can our first-time WeROC Voter Education Packets, available at these links:

Ypsilanti Community School Board Candidates: [pdf]

Ann Arbor Public School Candidates: [pdf]

Washtenaw County Commission District 2 Candidates: [pdf]

Even if some of these candidates are not on your ballot, we urge everyone to read the carefully-selected WeROC questions and the different responses, and to spread the information far and wide. As always, the smarter each of us is about local affairs, the stronger WeROC will be in our future action campaigns. And if you or your organization can make use of hard copies, let us know and we’ll get those to you.

Upcoming WeROC Opportunities

Fellow WeROC Members and Supporters…

In the middle of an intense and unusual political season, it’s hard to also pay any attention to what happens AFTER the election, in the coming months and years. But isn’t that our special role as community organizers — to, yes, participate thoughtfully in selecting the best candidates and issues this Fall, but also to keep our eyes on the future prize?

By participating in as many of the following opportunities as possible, and encouraging others from your congregations, unions, organizations, and networks to join in, you become part of a stronger WeROC with the capacity to seriously tackle the root of the economic and social issues increasingly challenging our families and communities. Please organize your life to help these happen…

1) October “Meeting of the Whole”, Thursday October 6, 5:30-7:15pm, Strong Tower Ministries, 156 Spencer, Ypsi Twp. Light dinner provided. Come for camaraderie, solidarity, strategizing our next important steps together.

2) MOSES Annual Public Meeting: Monday, October 10, 7:00-8:30 pm , bus leaving Strong Tower Ministries at 5:30 pm (arrive earlier!). Our chance to help our partners MOSES win on major regional issues AND for WeROC to learn how better to act as a power organization locally. By attending, our leaders and members will be able to connect to issues that are impacting us all here in SE Michigan, including the need to choke the School-to-Prison Pipeline, create a connected public transportation system, and move toward more fair election districts.

We need your help in recruiting 50 people to justify a WeROC bus — you can promise people a rare combination of fun while helping real change happen. Contact Tad Wysor with tentative names for the bus as you talk to people.

3) YES for Regional Transit! Everyone in SE MI, especially lower income families, will benefit from supporting the Regional Transit Master Plan on the November ballot, and that’s why WeROC and MOSES were early endorsers of the campaign. Now WeROC is being asked to help the campaign win big in Washtenaw. Please help spread this opportunity for a fun canvassing event: Saturday, October 8 out of the Ecology Center Office, 339 E Liberty, suite 300, Ann Arbor .

4) WeROC Voter Education: This year, there’s only one contested race for Washtenaw County Commissioner, in District 2 in North and Northwest Washtenaw. As an aid to voters, WeROC sent 7 questions on issues that matter to our members to the both candidates. Look for a follow-up post that will include the candidate’s responses. Please think about how your congregation or organization can spread the word. Let’s help informed democracy work!

Also stay tuned! Our creative Education Action Team has sent out a questionnaire to School Board candidates.