BUCKHANNON — There is a movement growing in West Virginia, a people-powered movement. On Sept. 29 and 30, Upshur County Indivisible-Votes will host the West Virginia Grassroots Summit at the Event Center at Brushy Fork in Buckhannon. If you are standing up for yourself, your family or your community, this summit is for you. People across the state are rising up to fight for equality for themselves, their families, and their neighbors – not for big donors on Wall Street.
In West Virginia, we believe in freedom for all people regardless of gender, race, class, orientation, disability or status. During the two-day event, participants will have the opportunity to join in trainings, workshops, projects, networking opportunities, roundtable discussions and more. The event is free to the public and breakfast and lunch are provided both days.
This free two-day conference is the work of more than 29 organizations in West Virginia that came together to plan, fund and man the event. Partner organizations include Our Vote Our Future, West Virginia Progressive Alliance, West Virginia Working Families, West Virginia AFL-CIO, West Virginia Citizen Action, Mercer Resistance, West Indivisible, Mountaineers for Progress, West FREE Action Fund, RiseUp West Virginia, Wood County Indivisible and Planned Parenthood Votes.
Guest speakers and invited presenters include West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, Our Children Our Future Safety Net Campaign, West Virginia for Affordable Health Care, Citizen Action Education Fund, NAACP, Sierra Club, ACLU-West Virginia Foundation, Planned Parenthood West Virginia, West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry, Kanawha Valley DSA, West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, West Virginia Fair Housing Action Network, Black Lives Matter West Virginia, Call to Action for Racial Equality, Partnership for Furthering Arts and Education (PFAE), Heritage Towns Museum Committee to End 21st Century Slavery, Poetik Entertainment, Metropolitan Catering & Entertainment and this is only the beginning.
Goals of the W.Va. Grassroots Summit are to build relationships, stronger ties and better communications among grassroots leaders and organizations in West Virginia, to provide concrete training (canvassing, issue campaigning, Get Out The Vote, running for office, issue advocacy, etc.) to leaders and organizers, to begin strategizing and unifying leaders and organizations toward the 2018 elections, and to promote the message that “Hate Has No Home Here in West Virginia.”
Registration and a light breakfast will take place on Sept. 29 beginning at 9 a.m. Welcome and Why We Are Here begins at 10 a.m. with the afternoon beginning work in participant selected tracks including Running Issue-based Campaigns, Impacting Elections, You Should Run for Office, Influencing Inside Party Politics and Hate Has No Home Here.
Running Issue-based Campaigns Track will look at what makes a successful campaign around problems that affect communities. Participants will hear real stories of winning campaigns in West Virginia — from victories around local ordinances to wins for safe drinking water. Participants will learn how to choose an issue, set realistic campaign goals, identify and put pressure on a particular target, build a strong campaign team and win! This is for those looking to make headway on an issue where you live.
The Impacting Elections Track focuses on the fact that election outcomes are rarely decided at the ballot box alone. Constituents have the ability to influence the stances of candidates and the perceptions of voters throughout election season. This track is for those who want to get their issues on the table and supported candidates in office. Participants will learn how to develop a strategy for influencing elections and how slates, canvasses, bird-dogging, town halls and other tactics can add up to desired changes.
You Should Run for Office Track is an in-depth introduction to running for office — built for candidates, campaign managers, and future candidates who want to know what it takes to run. This engaging training will include How to build a Campaign Team, How to Ask for Money and How to Write a Stump Speech.
Influencing inside Party Politics involves political party work that is critical, since political parties are a “vehicle” for getting desired candidates elected and desired issues addressed. Participants will learn how to participate, how parties work and how to change the rules... because some have known for quite a while. Party work is not for everyone, but if it important for those who want their party to represent their values, and want to know how to make that happen.
Hate Has No Home Here Track focuses on eradicating hate from the Mountain State through the lens of identifying and defining social justice issues and learning strategies to promote social justice in local communities. Participants will discuss the intersectionality of these issues so that regardless of how or why you entered into activism, you can find support in elevating and celebrating that passion. Participants will expand on intersectionality, learn about implicit bias and bigotry intervention, and experience more intense and specific deep dives into the issues of criminal justice, racial justice and Civil Rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights and refugee rights.
Day 1 ends at 4 p.m. followed by a Hate Has No Home Here Rally and March. The rally and March is to honor and claim West Virginia as a Hate-free Mountain State. Summit participants and anyone else are welcome to join the Rally and March, also hosted by Upshur County Indivisible-Votes. A campaign to spread the Hate Has No Home Here movement throughout the state will be announced there. Rally is set to begin at West Virginia Wesleyan College chapel for an inspirational line-up of music and speakers, including Chaplain Chris Scott, Mayor David McCauley, Vickie Bullet, NBA player and WVWC coach, local Katie Alicea whose story was recently featured in The Record Delta, student award winners of the Hate Has No Home Here Contest, Emily Thompson from Planned Parenthood, Dannie Stiles from Buckhannon Pride, Ryan Frankenberry from Working Families’ Party, a letter from Reverend Jim Lewis read by Dauna Hawkins, Antigona Mehani from West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry, and the dynamic Mary Ann Claytor, WVWC choir and jazz band will provide music and song.
Ralliers will leave the chapel and march through Buckhannon carrying free rally signs, to Buckhannon City Park where they can enjoy mingling, music, food, tabling, children’s activities and more! Dinner will be available for purchase at food trucks and stalls at the park and provided by Sam’s Pizza, the Donut Shop, Zul’s and Jaw’s Barbecue. 150 free Hate Has No Home Here yard signs will be handed out. Participants are encouraged to take these home and display them in their yards as a reminder that Hate Has No Home Here.
Day 2 will begin on Sept. 30 at 8 a.m. with morning yoga as an option and registration and breakfast beginning at 9 a.m. Workshops continue in the tracks described throughout the day. Day 2 ends with whole group sessions on Growing the Movement and Next Steps. The conference ends at 4 p.m. Participants are free to attend as they wish including both days, one day only, or just the rally only.
If any organization is interested in sponsoring the event, contact [email protected], Discounted lodging information is provided on the registration page along with full summit details. To register, go to actionnetwork.org/events/wv-grassroots-summit. To donate to the Hate Has No Home Here Rally, go to https://www.gofundme.com/west-virginia-grass-roots-summit or send a check or money order to Upshur County Indivisible-Votes at PO Box 104, French Creek, WV 26218. No donation is too small.
For questions, contact Edwina Howard-Jack at [email protected] For more information about Upshur County Indivisible-Votes, like our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/UpshurCountyIndivisibleVotes/, or our partner group at www.facebook.com/UpshurIndivisible/, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Upshurindivis1 or Instagram www.instagram.com/upshurindivisible/, or visit our website at upshurindivisible.wixsite.com/website. This weekend coincides with a Jewish holiday. All organizations apologize deeply for this conflict. Every weekend considered would have caused a major conflict with partners. To accommodate, workshops will be live-streamed and available on-line after the event. All workshop presenters are committed to a one-on-one with anyone who is unable to attend. For more information, contact Stephen Smith, [email protected]