Yesterday we spent a rainy afternoon in the gathering place of the Intertribal Native American Counsel in Shannon, North Carolina. This was a follow-up to an initial meeting, so we saw familiar faces as well as several new ones. The gathering was unique in the fact that we essentially talked about similar issues as the first meeting, particularly voting rights, but we had the opportunity to speak about the issues on a more personal level. Everyone around the table took the time to express their concerns and opinions on how the issues should be resolved. Opinions and views varied but amongst the thunder and lightning roaring outside, we were able to engage in conversation in a climate of mutual respect for one another. Rediedre and I opened the meeting with a discussion of fusion politics and the meeting itself proved to be a clear example of that theory.
We are aware of the importance of maintaining contact with the groups that we meet with. The benefits of follow up meetings and remaining in contact we evident in this past meeting. The longer I talked with these community members the more I began to learn about their families, their careers and their interests. Once we pass the initial phase of meeting a group, we are awarded the opportunity to get to know the people individually and discover where their interests lie. Once those conversations were initiated we were able to connect people with organizations and events that relate to the issues most dear to their hearts. We discussed issues involving ex-felon rights, voting policies in rural counties and other community services.
Like many relationships in our everyday lives, the relationships we create with other organizations and communities while organizing are fueled by frequent communication and contact. I believe that maintaining contact and truly getting to know the people we are partnering with are essential to effective organizing. Getting to know THE PEOPLE is what counts.
Khristian Curry – Fayetteville Team