In early December, about 35 people crowded into a small, noisy back room at the Laughing Buddha in downtown Sudbury to eat, to drink, and to talk about making change at the city level through organizing in the community.
The "Challenge the City!" forum was an initiative of the Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op, and it featured a panel of representatives from the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty (S-CAP), the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury (CLS), and the Sudbury and District Labour Council (SDLC).
All three of these groups engage in social change work that is, at least in part, directed towards the City of Greater Sudbury, yet they do so around different issues and in different ways. And it was conversing across those differences in analysis, tactics, and orientation towards the city that was the basis for the evening. The intent was to give participants and attendees an opportunity to learn, reflect, and share, in the hopes that people might come away with new ideas and new possibilities for taking action in the community, as the new city council term gets underway. As well, it was an opportunity to build relationships and solidarity.
The evening began with each group briefly introducing their approach, their choices, and their organizing. Then there was some back-and-forth between the panellists. And for the balance of the evening, people in attendance asked questions, made comments, and reflected on the many challenges that inevitably arise in challenging the city.
You can listen above to the first two of those three components of the evening. Christy Knockleby and Anna Harbulik give the introductory remarks for S-CAP between 0:45 and 8:50 in the recording; Jamie West, president of the SDLC, speaks from 9:00 to 16:20; and Naomi Grant of CLS speaks from 16:30 to 21:15. In the rest of the recording -- 21:20 to 38:30 -- Knockleby, Harbulik, West, and Grant exchange questions, comments, critiques, and ideas. And though the people in attendance were very engaged and the discussion thereafter was plentiful and lively, we are unfortunately unable to share the audio from the final portion of the event.
The Sudbury working-group of The Media Co-op is currently collaborating with S-CAP to offer another event that will focus on questions of organizing in the community in concrete ways. On March 1, 2015, long-time organizer, writer, and former Sudburian Chris Dixon will be in town to do a workshop on strategy and campaign planning -- see here for more details. People from all sectors of the community are invited to attend the workshop, where we will be able to strengthen our collective capacity and tools for making change in Sudbury.
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