I am excited to announce six slideshows in March about my travels from the last year! Each show will be filled with accounts about what’s happening in the world as well as creative opportunities to relate it back to your life and work here at home. The shows will consist of photos, videos and stories weaved with lively discussion. See below for detailed descriptions of all the shows!
**Sunday, March 9th 7-9pm, People’s Coop (SE 21st and Tibbetts)**
Grassroots inspiration: Tales from a traveling organizer
This is the Big Picture show from my travels. Please come, bring a friend and a maybe a pillow to sit on (chairs will be provided, too)!
**Tuesday series, 7-9pm, Red and Black Café (SE 12th and Oak)**
This will be a sneak-preview of the Sunday 3/9 show…
This show is for folks who love the nitty gritty of organizing! We‘ll use some selected examples from my travels to explore the opportunities of change-making organizations in the world, and tools for linking them.
This show will be a fun adventure of specific learnings from many of the projects I encountered, both in Tucson and in Africa!
**Wednesday, March 19th or 26th, Office of Sustainable Development staff brown bag lunch**
Sorry, there’s no room for more friends, but I wanted to let you know about it anyway!
**Wednesday, March 26th, Portland Peak Oil meeting, 7-9pm (St. Francis Church, between SE 11/12th and Pine)**
This show will be about the “layers and players” of social change as well as specific tools and ideas for building sustainable systems. Note that the slideshow will be at 8pm, after a showing of the movie “Power of Community” at 7pm.
**Friday, May 23rd, Village Building Convergence Opening Night**
A big show!! Details TBA.
(Tuesday March 4th and Sunday March 9th)
Please join me (Jenny!) in an evening of celebrating grassroots changemaking! After six years of sustainability/community organizing in Portland, I took a year to explore the role of “full time cross-pollinator among grassroots movements”, beginning by weaving through Portland, Tucson and Boston, and then through East and Southern Africa, connecting with changemakers that I met at the 2006 World Social Forum in Nairobi.
Overflowing with stories from my travels of successful grassroots organizing models, ranging from a locally-powered, globally-impactful organization of “slum dwellers” to permaculture education in a devastated post-dictatorship Malawi to community empowerment through a creative net of collectives in Zimbabwe to fascinating efforts in balancing indigenous knowledge with new age techniques for collaboration and re-rooting, I am thrilled to share these tales and others with Portland’s critical mass of changemakers.
I witnessed the complexity among the existing “layers and players” of social change today, including NGOs, funders, government efforts, community organizations and social movements, as well as the emerging network of a creatively intertwined “movement of movements”. By actively embodying the yet-to-be-formally-recognized role of “cross-pollinator” (people who create critical links between changemaking community efforts), I have lots to share about the implications and practices of cross-issue communication and collaboration.
I’ve now returned to the Portland community to spark conversations and action about local cross-pollination, and dive deeper into my work with The City Repair Project and Tryon Life Community Farm. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-548-8459. For stories and photos of my year away, check out: http://journeydejenny.blogspot.com .
2. Ideas for Organizers: diving deep into grassroots social change and cross-movement building
(Tuesday March 11th)
Let’s get into the nitty gritty of grassroots organizing! Building from my year of traveling through the U.S. and Africa (see above), I’m excited to bring ideas back to Portland and host a conversation that delves into the complexities of social change today. Overflowing with inspiring stories, reality checks and ideas for spicing up our social change work, I will offer a make-your-own adventure slideshow.
I’ll begin the show with an analysis of the “layers and players” of social change, including social movements, local and international NGOs, non-profits, government efforts, collectives and coops, community groups, networks, informal groups and everything in between. Then, I will offer to the group choices about which stories to hear in more depth, providing plenty of fodder for the conversation. Stories include: meeting the Zapatistas during their “Other Campaign”; wisdom from an incredible women-led, bottom-up international movement of “shack dwellers”; snippets of social movements across South Africa (where there is active, living history of revolutionary popular movements); creative permaculture education and community empowerment in Zimbabwe and Malawi; connecting local and global efforts at the World Social Forum; and lots more!!
Across the globe, among the thousands of distinct social justice and environmental projects, there is a growing feeling of being part of a something larger. Recognizing ourselves as an emerging ecosystem with momentum built by the interactions among the individual components, we can discover coherence within the chaos. A tactic to achieve this is to connect people who make up different organizations, movements or communities to each other, directly. This way, we foster powerful linkages of communication and understanding without having to formally align organizations in mission, value or language. I’ve been experimenting with filling this role of “cross-pollinator”, practicing the art and science of linking groups, ideas and community power. I’ve noted a dozen intriguing patterns in this role, and am excited for other organizers’ feedback so that together we can foster better communication among changemakers here in Portland and afar.
The emerging dance of humanity’s work grows strong when it is agile, root-focused and non-hierarchical. This show is for organizers and activists who feel this call– let’s dive into it! I can be contacted at email@example.com or 503-548-8459. For stories and photos of my year away, check out: http://journeydejenny.blogspot.com .
3. Tools for the Trades: Appropriate Technology, Permaculture, Natural Building, Popular Education and more!
(Tuesday March 25th and some within PPO show on Wed. March 26th)
Portland prides itself on sustainability, but we have a lot to learn from around the world! People are discovering all sorts of creative solutions to the vital human challenges of providing food, shelter, energy, community empowerment, etc. In my travels, I met countless innovators who are utilizing these tools in remarkable ways, blending age-old wisdom with contemporary circumstances.
In this slideshow, we will meet heroes like Brad Lancaster, rainwater harvester and permaculturist extraordinaire, who ripples life-affirming action in two dozen ways from his home and neighborhood in Tucson, AZ. We will travel to Malawi to explore the creative application of permaculture courses in elementary schools. We will go into “informal settlements”—shanty towns—in South Africa for three different stories of inspiration for retrofitting urban density into eco-villages.
Of course, appropriate technologies are only as useful as the community’s embrace of them, so each story will be deeply intertwined with the cultural practicalities of encouraging changes in behavior, and the resulting lessons for broad-scale education about these tools. The details are intriguing, and the global movement towards sustainability exciting!