Trainee Spotlight: Linda McDaniels from Cowichan Intercultural Society

linda.jpgOn March 11 and 12, 15 mid-Island organizers from One Cowichan, Cowichan Intercultural Society and Dogwood BC spent two days learning about the power of storytelling, relationships in organizing and how to build a winning campaign strategy. 
Linda McDaniels from the Cowichan Intercultural Society tells us about her experience at the Organize BC Core Training and organizing for inclusion in her community.

What is your organization or campaign trying to accomplish? What are you going to be applying your training to?
The Cowichan Intercultural Society’s Stand Up for Inclusion initiative (SUFI) is working in collaboration with other local organizations and volunteers in the Cowichan Valley who have committed, as part of Organizing to Address Racism and Hate, to develop a Community Commitment Statement (CCS). Once the CCS is developed we will invite more leaders from diverse organizations, institutions, businesses, and community members, to become signatories of the CCS. By working together, signatories will aspire to role model the values imparted through the CSS, participate in awareness and education campaigns, and develop the capacity to be a response-able community that addresses incidents, and works to extinguish the normalized behaviours of intolerance and hate that weaken our community.  

 

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Introducing Tahia Ahmed and Firelight Campaign School

tahia.jpegTahia Ahmed recently joined the Organize BC team to coordinate our newest program, Firelight Campaign School! Get to know her and the new program.

 

What brings you to Organize BC?

I moved to Victoria, BC in August 2016 from Vancouver where I spent several years doing community organizing work with youth and racialized communities. My work in Vancouver involved many of the things Organize BC focuses on such as campaigning, theory of change, and capacity building. I felt burnt out after the 2015 Federal election both professionally and personally which led me to take a break, travel, and recharge. Since moving to Victoria, my interests and work have been in direct service provision and community development. But the organizer in me was missing the sense of community and collaboration that I had in Vancouver. My renewed energy and enthusiasm for political engagement and organizing is what brings me to Organize BC and what makes me excited for our upcoming Firelight Campaign School. 

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Big Changes at Organize BC

2017 is going to be a huge year for us!

Three years ago, Organize BC was given a gift. Our funding was granted by a single funder who believed that we could train a new generation of effective organizers in BC. Hundreds of British Columbians (730 to be exact) have accessed our programs, almost all of them completely free of charge. We would not be where we are today without the generosity of our funder. Unfortunately, nothing good lasts forever. While there is still great need to keep training and keep developing leadership in BC, our grant term is expiring.

We think that the community we've built and the leadership we've supported over the last three years is just the beginning. Our work is far from over. So we're taking a leap of faith - Organize BC is going to keep offering a similar slate of programs that got us to where we are today, while designing programs to help fill in the gaps in support for progressive organizers across the province.

Here’s how we’re going to do it.

 

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Trainee Spotlight: Sarah Graham from Retail Action Network

download.pngOn September 24 and 25, 38 Victoria-based organizers from Retail Action NetworkDogwood InitiativeSierra Club BCIron & Earth and Social Environmental Alliance spent two days learning about the power of storytelling, relationships in organizing and how to build a winning campaign strategy. 
Sarah Graham from the Retail Action Network tells us about her experience at the Organize BC Core Training and organizing for workplace justice.
1) What is your organization or campaign trying to accomplish? What are you going to be applying your training to?

The Retail Action Network brings together workers and labour activists to fight for workplace justice, increased wages and better conditions for retail and service workers. I hope to apply the Organize BC training to support the planning of our $15 & Change campaign (for a $15 minimum wage, an end to on-call shifts and more) as well as to internal organizing processes.
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Coming this Fall!

IMG_9659.JPGAfter a super busy June, Organize BC has had time to regroup and plan this summer. Most campaigns aren’t trying to grow their grassroots teams in July and August, and no one wants to compete with camping trips and music festivals to try to get organizers and volunteers to spend two days inside for a summer training weekend.

When we talk to organizers about what they might need, invariably, people say “the Fall would be great though! September? Or maybe October?” So, we’re running 5 Trainings this fall!

 

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Trainee Spotlight: Laurel Collins from Divest Victoria

13164286_1729960953959560_4604303203735933499_n.jpgWow, what a weekend! I was one of three Divest Victoria core organizers who attended Organize BC’s training in May, and I came away with lots of inspiration, tons of concrete tools and some important shifts in perspective.

Divest Victoria has been organizing to get the City of Victoria to take our money out of fossil fuel funds and put it into socially responsible investments for just over a year. We had a huge amount of success in our first year, passing two divestment related motions at Victoria City Hall and one at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities. But, after a quiet winter, as we started to build up our latest campaign focusing on the Union of BC Municipalities, we needed to rethink our team’s structure and strategy.

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Campaign Start-Up

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UPDATE: We piloted this workshop last year, and now using it to help launch campaigns and refine organizational strategies. If your organization or campaign need help setting their strategy, get in touch!

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Over the last two years, we’ve noticed that when we bring organizers and campaigns into our trainings, a lot of folks love the skills they learn, but struggle to apply it to their work because their campaigns aren’t designed with organizing in mind.

Enter the Campaign Start-Up Workshop: based on a similar workshop from our friends at Ahel, an engagement organizing project in the Middle East, Campaign Start-Up is a two-day intensive workshop designed to help a constituency of people select a goal, design a campaign strategy, select tactics and create a team structure to effectively implement it all.

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Highlights from CanRoots

2016-Catalogue-0087.jpgOn April 21st-23rd, over 150 organizers, activists and campaigners met on unceded Coast Salish Territories in Vancouver, BC to connect, learn and be inspired.

Starting with the opening welcome from Khelsilem all the way till the closing party looking over False Creek, CanRoots provided us with an opportunity to step away from our day-to-day and think about some big questions: How can we do our work more effectively? What would it look like to collaborate in new ways? And how can we leverage our power to win?

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