By Mark McDermott
In May and June, PSARA’s Education Committee sponsored two labor/ community workshops that brought together leaders from 35 labor and community-based organizations. We discussed our common ground of discontent and our shared values and vision for a better future. We also began to reflect on how our many organizations and movements might work together in more long-term strategic ways and present our shared vision and values more effectively in our many diverse communities.
At the end of the second workshop, many participants expressed the desire to keep these discussions going with greater focus. Several leaders offered to participate in planning next steps in this process. We are moving ahead with internal discussions about how to organize these discussions.
We recognize that we need to develop our own approach that reflects the economic, political and social realities in our region and state. At the same time, we want to identify and understand examples from across the country of permanent coalitions/alliances that have brought together many organizations and movements representing a wide range of diverse communities. Learning valuable lessons from their successes and failures can help us be more successful.
The following article focuses on the broad-based Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition in North Carolina. Their website is http://www.hkonj.com/ In coming months we will have articles about other strategic coalitions/
alliances in other states. We will gain valuable insights into how we can build more sustainable permanent power in order to create a more just, equitable and sustainable future in our state, nation and world.