TELEM Teen Community Organizers have an awful lot on their plate, and have been super busy acting on their passions. Here's a backstage pass to what they've been up to!
TELEM teens from Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester, Beth El Temple Center in Belmont, Temple Emanuel in Newton, Temple Israel Boston, and Temple Shalom in Newton joined forces with teens from across Greater Boston and built a coalition called YMORE (Youth of Massachusetts Organizing for a Reformed Economy). They hoped to connect and build meaningful relationships with their peers of diverse races, classes, neighborhoods and experiences, and to work together to effect change in their community.
Since an organizing campaign has many steps, we've broken it down into five stages:
The first step in any organizing campaign is (1)listening, where the members of a community gather to tell stories about what issues are most important to them. So the Y MORE teens began their organizing process by coming together in small groups, called (2)house meetings, to share stories. They talked about wanting to make change in their communities, and told stories that illustrated why they cared.
After dozens of house meetings, the teens engaged in a process of (3)interpretation, digesting the stories that were told and identifying the common themes that resonated throughout all. Then they set out to do (4)research, to identify concrete political campaigns that could connect to the themes that they surfaced. They made phone calls and met in person with experts, and they analyzed the feasibility and potential impact of each campaign by considering the likely outcomes:
After deliberating together, and grappling with all sides of the campaigns, they agreed to focus on the following two issues:
1. Youth Jobs: working with the state legislature as well as local businesses to increase employment opportunities for teens
2. Air Pollution: working with local institutions to "retrofit" their buses and trucks in order to significantly reduce the amount of toxins that are emitted into the air
What remains is for the TELEM teens in Y MORE to move into the (5)ACTION phase! So SAVE THE DATE and check them out on May 23rd at Temple Israel in Boston, at 5:30PM!
Five Stages to a Successful Organizing Campaign:
(1) listening: members of a community gather to tell stories and identify what issues are most important to them
(2) house meeting: community members come together in small groups (often in someone's home)
(3) interpretation: stories are analyzed for common themes
(4) research: current political campaigns that connect with the common themes are identified
(5) ACTION: collective power is exercised to address issues (SAVE THE DATE!)