By Pete Hackeman
Activism and change, like flowers and temperatures, are growing this season, as The 99% Spring comes to life next week across the country.
Hundreds of labor, student, environmental, progressive organizing and social justice organizations, ranging from national to local, are teaming up to help train 100,000 community members during the week of April 9th.
The trainings aim to educate citizens on how our economy wound up in its present state (and who’s responsible) and show how non-violent direct action like that of the civil rights era can be applied to today’s challenges to achieve meaningful change.
The group says the need for community activism couldn’t be more pressing: “Every day, the American Dream seems a little farther away…. Our mothers and fathers can’t retire because their pension funds tanked. Our brothers and sisters are burdened by student loan debt. For our children, budget cuts have resulted in crumbling schools, skyrocketing class sizes, and teachers being denied the support they need to do their best. Our friends and family are being denied collective bargaining rights in their workplaces and are falling further and further behind…. The numbers are staggering: in recent years, millions of jobs have been destroyed, homes foreclosed, and an unconscionable number of children live in poverty.”
More than 900 trainings are currently scheduled in 49 states (North Dakota is a work in progress) and upwards of 1,250 community activists and leaders are ready to help 100,000 of us learn how to create positive change in our communities. Find the closest local training to you here.
The training sessions are a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded activists and build bridges between groups focused on making our economy, our government and our schools work for all of us.
We’re at a crossroads, says The 99% Spring, and it’s time to make choices between greater wealth for a few, or opportunity for many; tax breaks for the richest, or a fair shot for the rest of us; a government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Participants will see how the lessons of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the United Farm Workers movement can inform today’s efforts to right the wrongs that have been perpetrated on the middle class and the poor. The trainees are presented with a menu of 198 unique methods of non-violent direct action.
“We know that change is only possible when our feet hit the street, our bodies rise up and our voices cry out,” the group has written. “This training is focused on helping you build the community, focus and skills necessary to launch your own local 99% spring efforts to hold both corporate interests and our elected officials accountable to create an economy and a democracy that works for ALL of us.”
NEA members can go to www.the99spring.com to find and RSVP for a local training, and to learn more about the diverse coalition of organizations working together on this effort.
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