UPCOMING MEETINGS

Please find information on upcoming meetings, events, actions, and more on our Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/werocMI/

And info about past events below.

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WeROC January ’17 Meeting

WeROC Issues Convention, Thursday January 4, 5:30-7:30, Ekklesia Fellowship Ministries, 123 N Adams, Ypsilanti (Park on street, city lot across Adams, or First Congregational lot at 218 N Adams.) Light dinner provided.

The year is brand new, but there’s nothing new about the serious challenges that we and our neighbors are facing in 2018. Those of us who care about each other and our future together in Washtenaw know we have our work cut out for us, maybe now more than ever.
Thankfully, despite all of our differences — really, BECAUSE of those differences! — we have the ideas and values, the energy and numbers and unity that we need to make meaningful changes in 2018 for all of us in Washtenaw, especially our neighbors who right now are the most vulnerable and the most affected by policies of division and greed.
So bundle up this Thursday, and bring yourself and members of your congregation/organization/network to this extra-special “First Friday” Meeting of the Whole.
We’ll devote our time this month to carefully considering several issues that have risen up, each of which we’ll systematically consider together, and decide which will be best for WeROC to focus on in 2018.
Under our overall banner of County Equity — working to address in all we do the unacceptable inequities across our County — here’s the list of potential issues that some of you have already brought to the table for discussion this Thursday:

  • Mental Health Equity — The massive win for the Mental Health/Public Safety Millage in all parts of our County in November (great work everyone!) will make millions of new dollars available to address the many-sided crisis in mental health related services. At least 4 areas that WeROCers and our allies are already becoming involved in, as County officials begin to make decisions about how the new millage funds will be spent:
    • How the Sheriff’s Department and other local police departments can improve how they address mental health issues.
    • How the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health department can creatively deploy the new dollars.
    • How the system can better address the special mental health needs of our veterans, especially veterans of color.
    • How the system can better reach troubled young people earlier and better, and support teachers and parents, with more mental health and social workers for our schools.
  • Accountability and equity in local economic development projects, starting with the landmark Community Benefits Ordinance being considered by the City of Ypsilanti.
  • Keeping kids in school by reducing unnecessary suspensions and expulsions. Continuing to build on the work the WeROC Education Action Team in recent years, now with a strong bi-partisan state law in place to back up our grassroots efforts.
  • Plus, there are a few larger issues we’ll discuss how WeROC might participate in:
    • Earned Paid Sick Time (Statewide ballot initiative to make sure everyone has time off when they or family is sick without losing their job. WeROC led the 2014 effort in Washtenaw.)
    • One Fair Wage campaign (Statewide ballot initiative that would raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 per hour and phase out the lower wage for tipped workers.)
    • Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival – (Potential WeROC involvement/support in for Michigan piece of the 25-state campaign, including helping build “fusion organizing” for massive grassroots action on moral issues in Lansing and 25 other state capitols, beginning after Mother’s Day this year. More here )
    • Voters Not Politicians (Statewide ballot initiative has already submitted over 400,000 signatures; seeks a fair, transparent, and impartial process for drawing voting maps (that is, an end to partisan “gerrymandering”)).

I hope you’ll agree that there’s a place for each of you on at least one the existing or forming Action Teams and committees on these issues, or others that may be agreed on Thursday. Come learn more, help us decide our united direction, and find out where you might be moved to direct a little of your precious time, energy, and creativity in 2018!

WeROC Meeting of The Whole 2-2-17

WeROC Meeting of the Whole Thursday, Feb 2, 5:30-7:15, First Congregational UCC, 218 N. Adams, Ypsi, 48197, between Washtenaw and Emmet.  Light food provided.  We’ll continue our focus on relationship-building for the long haul, and planning a major local community organizing training in March/April.

Dear WeROC Colleagues…so glad that we’re together at a time like this…

 Using our WeROC/MOSES/Gamaliel way of thinking about the challenges facing us, we can see that the power of organized money is up against the power of organized people, especially those among us who were already hurting before the latest wave of attacks on working and lower-income families. Nothing new there, really, right? But it does feel different right now. The people that control huge and growing hoards of organized dollars are getting people who will do their bidding elected to office at all levels. It seems they are beefing up their old techniques and coming up with alarming new ones to try to get what they want — especially trying to keep voters fragmented, discouraged, and weak. And they are more “in our face” than we’ve seen in many, many years.

So what a wonderful blessing that, rather than roll over and wait 4 or 8 years, historic numbers of Americans who care about each other and our country are ALSO brushing up old organizing techniques and inventing new ones. And more quickly and in larger numbers and with more solidarity than most of us have seen, maybe ever. We are beginning to take powerful action together that is nationally coordinated, but also very local — even before the other side can settle in and fully get their footing,

Many of us are participating in these historic, ongoing democratic actions. Among the most important are:  The emerging next local action steps after the inspiring and record-breaking Women’s Marches in DC and 600+(!!) other places.  “Our First Stand” rally in Macomb County and 70 other communities 2 Sundays ago, to save health care (6000+ in the cold in Michigan alone).  The viral downloading of the brand new “Indivisible Guide” handbook, and the 1500+ local Indivisible groups that have already formed to put effective and constant pressure on Members of Congress in every District, Republican and Democratic.  And Rev. William Barber II’s “Restoring the Breach” coalition, building on the experience of the “Moral Mondays” movement in North Carolina, fusing together progressive movements for racial and economic and social justice in powerful new ways in many states. All of these have online portals for plugging in.

And we need you, and all of us, to be a part of figuring out how WeROC and MOSES can play our special roles as things quickly develop. Nobody has all the answers, but we in WeROC have some collective know-how. We exercise a disciplined focus on relationship-building, on building healthy grassroots power, on training ourselves and new partners in techniques shown to work (so we don’t waste that precious volunteer time and energy), and on taking powerful, strategic, smart action together around thoughtful local issues with larger connections.

Next Thursday’s monthly meeting will be our next chance together to “be the grownups in the room.”  We’ll keep fine-tuning our current plans to 1) continue our Listening Campaign to complete “One-on-Ones” with targeted new folks and potential leaders within our organizations and networks and 2) Schedule a major, in depth community organization training event for ourselves and our new and potential allies. Please try to be a part of this major new movement for justice and equality.

Blessings and Solidarity — Tad Wysor, Volunteer WeROC Organizer

Reflections on the Current Moment and WeROC’s Role

A message from a WeROC organizer, Tad Wysor, of Ypsilanti MI:

“Hello, sisters and brothers…

Late last night, after the phenomenal [Black Lives Matter / Police Task Force meeting at Ypsilanti High School] event that I was able to witness for a couple of hours, Jim Anderson (who gave a powerful personal testimony to the crowd and the public officials) called me, and we found ourselves unpacking a little of all the intense history-making that seems to be swirling around us in real time right now. For what it’s worth, I wanted to share one brief insight that emerged for me out of that conversation.

What was so amazing to me is what happens when power is more balanced, even if for a brief moment. In the YHS auditorium, filled beyond capacity, dozens of people who don’t share my background or privilege felt able to do something very rare, to speak, in public from their hearts and personal experience about how the deep insidious workings of the “dominant narrative” we’re all immersed in, but that people who look like me do much more than our share to maintain and benefit from. Given an opportunity to feel safer and more supported than usual, they were able to express their anger and disgust and frustration, and also wisdom, love, and hope, in a much more public and powerful way than is usually possible.

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Jim Anderson speaks of his experiences at Ypsilanti Black Lives Matter / Police Task Force Meeting, 7/11/16

There was also the widespread expectation that it would all lead to nothing. To me, this was not so much cynicism, but just a sickening fact. Potential wannabe allies like me most of the time go back to our comfortable realities. And whatever brief shift of power toward working people and lower income people and people of color they were able to create then quickly dissipates.

This is huge, and complex, and deeply rooted, I know. But, really, it may not be as complicated as we usually make it, you know. Last night, in just a few hours, people who haven’t had nearly enough voice showed me how quickly they can build a sense of community solidarity and power, and how effectively they can get the serious attention of public decision-makers, if only briefly.

That’s where WeROC and MOSES come in, right? No local organization is better situated right now to help turn this flash of healthy grassroots power into something more long-term. Maybe we need to consider finding the time and leadership and resources for a major, well-designed community organizing training event (or events), where a lot of people personally facing these issues on a daily basis have a rare chance to explore together these issues of how power really works, how to more effectively build it in healthy ways, how to strategically use it, when and how to join with potential allies who aren’t directly affected (like me) — and how to help each other generate and support powerful and savvy new community leaders. And how to make this a long-term enterprise, not just a brief reaction to a horrible moment.

That’s the kind of thing that will be on my mind as I try to listen and learn tonight. To the extent that some of this makes sense to others, I hope we’ll consider some serious conversations soon about some kind of action like this. I’m obviously motivated to do what I can to help it happen, but I’m wide open to suggestions. Our unique WeROC project may be needed right now as much as we ever have been. — Tad

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Pastor Jeff Harrold reflects on structural racism at ICPJ/Faith Leaders Forum rally at Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor 7/12/16

 

Next WeROC Meeting – Thurs Jan 7 5:30

Hello, WeROC Leaders and Supporters….

WeROC Meeting of the Whole, Thursday Jan 7, 5:30-7:15, Ekklesia Fellowship Ministries, 123 N Adams, Ypsi (Park on street, in city lot across the street, or mid-block on Adams at First Congregational UCC).

After our amazing success together at the November 15 Public Meeting, we need to make sure we keep that good momentum going in this new year.  Our first Thursday “Meetings of the Whole” are where we “cross-pollinate” among the Action Teams and other work, to keep us on the same path and learning from each other.  Then as we gravitate to the Action Teams or other committees to do the actual community organizing work on our key issues, we can all have the bigger picture in mind.

Looking forward to beginning 2016 with you (and your congregation/organization, as appropriate) as we continue to build healthy community power in effective new ways!

Caught the Buzz? Last Call for WeROC’s Major Public Meeting THIS Sunday

You know what to do! Make sure you are with hundreds of kindred souls on Sunday afternoon to experience what real grassroots democracy feels like for yourself. And bring along some members of your congregation, organizations, family, and network to experence it with you (and make sure the room is full to impress our local decision-makers!).

THIS SUNDAY, Nov 15, 3:00-5:00 pm, Emmanuel Lutheran Church ELCA, 201 N. River St, just east of downtown Ypsilanti near Michigan Av.

Flyer and Letter
Facebook event

NOTE we need all WeROC participants and volunteers who are on the Agenda or have roles for Sunday to come for the “Dry Run” Rehearsal: Noon tomorrow, SATURDAY Nov 14. Also at Emmanuel Lutheran.

  • We’re so proud of our Public Meeting Planning Committee, who have been working non-stop for weeks to create a meaningful and memorable program for the community, and to help all of YOU to help US fill the room!
  • Our speakers, presenters, and musicians are excited (including Mark Fancher, the “You Can’t Stop Us” Project, Darius Simpson, Marilyn Watson White and Ahmid Alexander.
  • And our amazing WeROC Action Teams are ready to go with their “asks” for our public officials and decision-makers and their future plans on Earned Sick Time, regional transit, keeping our students in school, eliminating mass incarceration and mass deportation, and supporting early childhood development.

ALL WE NEED IS YOU! See you Sunday!

Contact: Tad Wysor, tadwysor@gmail.com, 734 883 3225
Facebook: facebook.com/werocmi