When I took on this role as Wellstone's first Director of Movement Technology, I came from six years as a Wellstone adjunct and six years as an NOI guest trainer. I had taught computer programming in DC and grassroots organizing in neighborhoods across the Midwest – and across those moments and 15 cumulative years as an organizer, I've watched my home movements grow, change, awaken, and reckon.
So when I say Rootscamp is back, I mean we're a month away from an event that is the best of its NOI origins plus some additions that reflect Wellstone's values and the movements we serve.
So what's new in 2016?
Wellstone believes in local wisdom. Our work focues in on local and state organizers on issue and candidate campaigns, because local base-building, policy, and election wins are central to how we think about making change for our communities.
We believe that progressive conferences should honor and invest in the local organizing ecosystems of the cities where they are held. So in 2016, we're honored to welcome 100 community organizers working on local and native DC issues
to Rootscamp. Alongside The Future Foundation
, we're building a program that will launch pre-meetings, a caucus, and a plenary to highlight the work of long-time District residents and put them in dialogue with attendees who are guests in their neighborhoods.
Wellstone is in its 13th year of building the capacity of progressives across the country. So we've added a Training Track on Saturday and Sunday
of RootsCamp where we're offering customized trainings from across our Movement Tech, Public and Political Leadership, and Movement Building work.
And finally, the experiences of Wellstone's leadership are those of people of color, working class and poor folks, immigrants, women, and queer people. We know firsthand that working and living in the progressive movement is an experience heavily impacted by race, class, gender, nationality, sexuality, and disability and that our conference spaces too have work to do in becoming safer and more accessible to everyone – no exceptions. Our 2016 plenaries reflect an intersectional framework for building power and winning.
We've added a caucus and meetup for our trans* colleagues and family members to honor work and needs that are not shared by the full LGBTQ movement. And in acknowledgement of the often unrecognized realities of misgendering, anti-Black, and/or anti-immigrant incidents in conference spaces, we'll be offering a closed room for queer and trans people of color for informal dialogue or just decompressing.
As in years past, a hosted safer space room and parenting/breastfeeding room will be available to all attendees as well.
See you November 18!