Working Together in the Progressive Movement

As part of our efforts to facilitate greater communication between progressive organizations, here is a guest post from Kathryn Fitzgerald of Young People For about their recent brown bag lunch panel on interconnectivity in the progressive movement. Enjoy!

These past few days have been full of firsts for me; my first metro north ride, my first blogpost, and most importantly hosting my first Brown Bag Lunch! On Friday, after weeks of preparation, Renia, another YP4 intern, and I hosted YP4’s first Brown Bag lunch of the summer.

We had speakers from Earth Day NY, The Harlem Children’s Zone, Young Democratic Socialists, and The National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights. It was a fabulous opportunity to hear what work is being done in areas of the progressive movement outside your own and to find out how to get involved in the work of other sectors of the movement. We started with everyone slowly trickling in, eating some pizza and mingling, building those bridges...

At 1:00 when we kicked off the event, Marianne Engelman Lado from The National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights started our panel portion of the lunch by highlighting for us the importance of the courts in the battle for equal rights; she was followed by Paul Kendrick from the Harlem Children Zone who talked about the important work being done in Harlem for disenfranchised children. He explained how HCZ works to create an educational community to ensure children are supported through every step of their education, from pre-K to college and beyond. Next we had David Duhalde from Young Democratic Socialists speak about the economic justice work being done around the country. Betta Broad from Earth Day NY closed the panel addressing what can be done in your own back yard to help the environment.

After the panel was over we opened up the discussion to the whole group to explore the different ways our issues intersect and the different ways we can work together so we all accomplish our goals. We had a great conversation and came up with several ways for progressives to come together and even more reasons why they should!

More after the jump!

In order for the movement to be successful for all of us we must realize how connected our issues. Focusing on just Education, Economy, Equal Rights and the environment we can see the extent to which all of our work is intertwined. For example:

  • Education is the states largest expense
  • Discrimination is often based on economic standing
  • Only in a safe clean environment can people learn and work to their potential
  • Only through education can we understand our world, the people in it and our surroundings
  • Going green has costs both immediate and in the future.
  • Often impoverished areas have the most pollution and the greatest abuse of resources.

None of these problems can be solved by any one group, they have far too many components for one organization to address. Not only does collaboration allow for us to move more quickly and effectively but combining our skill sets and experience gives our solutions a greater chance of lasting.

Jason Richberg, an intern here at YP4 and former fellow, wrapped up the whole event with a call for more meetings like this one, where progressives can come together, so our relationships grow to be more than just alliances, so that the movement becomes a family, bringing in younger generations, becoming sustainable and making change not just today but for years to come. All in all I think it was a great start for a conversation that needs to both continue and be put into action.

The lunch was a ton of fun, I met a lot of great people, some interesting characters, and really enjoyed talking to everyone. To all those who came thanks again and I hope you had a great time, feel free to send me any and all comments. Hope to see you at the next one as well. To those who missed out keep looking on the website and facebook page to see when our next one will be!

If you want to be put on our mailing list so you receive updates about YP4’s brown bag lunches and other summer events let me know at [email protected]!