GetOrganizedBK Working Group Updates

GetOrganizedBK Working Group Updates

Get Organized BK! does not pretend to have all the answers, or one winning strategy for resistance. What we do have are a lot of people eager to work together. So we have helped form 15 working groups. 

We’ll keep this page updated with summaries and (where we have it) contact information for each group.

Some of the groups meet primarily at our (approximately) once-a-month large group gatherings. Others are doing more active work together in-between, on-line (several have Google Groups of their own), in person, and in the streets. All these groups are volunteer-led. So get involved, take responsibility, work generously with others, and feel free to suggest & help form a new group if you see then need.  

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Fighting Trump appointments and future Supreme Court nominees

This group is focused on opposing appointments of concern -- including both appointments that get confirmed (De Vos, Price, Mnuchin), and appointments that do not get confirmed (Bannon, Flynn, etc.) They are identifying actions needed, including reaching out to influence moderate republicans, encouraging New York's United States Senators to be more outspoken, researching the nominations process and timeline for each appointment, connecting to national organizations/interest groups, and more. They will be continuing regular letter writing campaigns to Senators and are actively developing resources and media content to fight Trump’s appointments in the coming months.

Their Facebook page is Indivisible Nation, and you can follow them on Twitter at @indvisible_nat. Please email oneindivisiblenation [at] gmail [dot] com if you would like to join this group.

Free Press Group:

The group has been focused on both social media and traditional media.  The social media group focused on investigating groups that are already active on this front and aligning with them (including MediaMatters.org, Fair.org, Freepress.org, the media page on TellAllYourFriends.org). The traditional media group has already helped get great coverage of our efforts including  The New York Times, the Jewish Daily Forward and DNAInfo. To get involved, email Jennifer Friedlin: freepressgobk [at] gmail [dot] com

Organizing against bias, especially Islamaphobia and Anti-Semitism (including rapid response, neighborhood work in Kensington and creating a Muslim-Jewish alliance)

There are several sub-groups working to address issues of bias, especially Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, including groups focused on:

  • A rapid-response team, to respond to specific hate-crimes and hateful acts. This group has already organized two successful #NotInOurCity vigils in Grand Central Terminal, to respond to Islamophobic hate crimes and graffiti in the NYC subway system.
  • Working together with leaders in the Muslim community in Kensington, to build solidarity and support, most recently with the "Hate Free Zone" that launched in Kensington on January 25.
  • Building a large, visible Muslim-Jewish alliance to oppose Islamophobia & anti-semitism together, possibly including a large cultural event, and to work against a Muslim registry

To get involved in this work, email Ruby Abdul at RAbdul [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov

Standing in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors:

The group has been working closely with Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the New York Immigration Coalition, and Make the Road NY, with a focus on immigrants in the Sunset Park community. 

Members of this group will be working together to organize support and defense with our immigrant neighbors, including, creating a listing of lawyers and social workers, holding community dinners, creating a craigslist-like listing of translators, certified Adult Education classes for citizenship, fundraising for citizenship fees, conversation buddies and Spanish classes to create more fluent conversation buddies, civil disobedience preparations, and researching the Sanctuary Movement, among many other ideas.

To get involved in the working group, request to join the Google Group here! 

Civic Activism working group: Preparing for upcoming elections, including protection of voting rights

The group has a number of smaller breakout groups including 1) Identifying key races for 2018, 2) identifying candidates, 3) Big issues/long term thinking, 4) voter turnout/restriction issues.

This group is exploring deepening its relationships with existing independent political clubs in Brooklyn, especially the Park Slope-based Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, as well as Lambda Independent Democrats, New Kings Democrats, and Independent Neighborhood Democrats. 

To get involved with the Electoral Working Group, request to join the Google Group here!

Outreach Out-of-State Partnerships & Cultural Exchange Group: 

This group is working on outreach to other states, with a focus of PA. They are having Livingroom Meetings once a month and exploring ways to reach out to our sisters and brothers who voted differently from us. We hope to maximize and share information with our Allies in PA communities, and establish ways to reach out through community venues in PA municipalities - including churches/synagogues, scout and school groups, community centers, libraries, while finding ways to share experiences with members of diverse communities. Contact shirasam [at] gmail [dot] com for more info.

Threats to safety net programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and ObamaCare:

This group is working on opposing appointments including HHS Secretary; local/state issues; media/video/communications, reducing stigma, universalizing; mobilizing response; congressional mobilization and support; and identifying potential allies. They have also been collecting stories from people positively impacted by the ACA. To join the Safety Net effort, request to join the Google Group here

Developing programming in our schools – for students and educators:

The group identified key priorities and projects they would like to work on, and focused on goals moving forward. These include developing approaches to connect schools to form partnerships/projects that would be supportive to school communities and provide a network for student engagement; join and learn from higher ed efforts; create curriculum ideas and share; youth leadership and supportive needs; bullying/hate crimes against targeted groups; and integration. Campaigns/projects include (A) developing a platform to conceive of schools – from early to higher education – as spaces of sanctuary/spaces of empowerment, and (B) addressing the destructive/harmful changes that are likely to take place at the level of the Federal Department of Education."

To get involved in the Education/Schools work, email Vicki Sell at vsell [at] council [dot] nyc [dot] gov

Women’s Health: Working against attacks on women’s health and reproductive rights:

#GetOrganizedBK Women's Health is focused on raising awareness for women's health issues, protecting access to healthcare, and defending reproductive rights. They currently have three active, dedicated working groups focused on:

  • Protecting our Rights: We are involved in protection of woman’s access to healthcare and to preserving the protections offered by Roe v. Wade, understanding the legislative challenges and threats, for long and short term, and supporting actions aimed at defending these rights. 
    (Co-Chairs: Jane Madell & Sarah Person)
  • Outreach - Building Networks: We are identifying relevant organizations at the national and state levels who are already working on similar issues, looking for ways to leverage and support their work. We are also actively exploring innovative ways to connect with and support organizations in states or areas where threat is greatest. 
    (Co-Chairs: Tracy Agerton & Robert Jaffe)
  • Education and Fighting Stigma through Stories: We are committed to raising awareness and correcting misinformation about women's health issues and reproductive rights. We are exploring ways to use the power of story telling and story sharing - people speaking from personal experience - to mobilize action. As the feminist rallying cry of the 60s so aptly put it, "the personal is political." 

For more information about joining our fight or connecting with our working groups, request to join the Google Group here

Racial justice: Engaging in deep and challenging conversations about race in the context of a Trump presidency:

The group discussed a wide array of racial justice topics following the election, including the threats to the Black Lives Matter movement, the need to continue to recognize systemic racism, identifying racial code words, having discussions about diversity and racism with white privileged students, supporting policies that are anti-racist, and removing whiteness as the default. 

Art as activism: Working with the creative community to develop tools for resistance:

The group generated a google doc of over 100 creative people and their resources available to the GetOrganizedBK efforts. To access the document or if you have a creative need, email karinamw [at] gmail [dot] com

The group also formed break out group discussions on the following areas: 1) Symbols, Icons and Images. This group is interested in developing compelling visual, slogans, and signs that send a message to Trump and our communities about who we are and what we stand for.  They are interested in helping other groups create signs and images for their work. 2) Arts and technology. This group is exploring how to use to use technology and social media for resistance. Right now, they are working on building a website/communications hub for GetOrganizedBK. Other topics of discussion were arts and healing and arts and education.    

To join the Arts as Activism working group, request to join here!

Climate Change

Mission: Advocate for individual, local and State actions to fight climate change. Reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions at the individual, NYC, and NYS level.  Focus on the main contributors such as power generation, transportation, industrial and agriculture.  Increase the use of local renewable sources of electrical power.

Contact Stewart Pravda to learn how to get more involved in this group: PIKES38105 [at] mypacks [dot] net

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