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Outreach or Reaching Out?

OK, you've been at those meetings. You know the ones I mean, where everyone is sitting around wondering how to attract "People of Color" or "Diversity" or "Constituency Participation" and not knowing how. There are 10 or 30 or 90 of you in the room. Now you remember, right? Well, we talk for a while and a few people have ideas, but months go by and the composition of the group changes little. Some members leave, new members start, but the "E (ethnic) Component" is unchanged. What to do???

Simple. Just remember what Howard Dean is fond of saying: "You Have The Power!"

Yes, that's right. YOU have the power to reach out to those communities, to participate in THEIR meetings and activities, to engage in THEIR communities. Want to have a better sense of what "minorities" need, want and feel? Well, then, BE ONE! With 30 of you in the room, you can easily target 10-15 new groups you can participate in and help. They used to call it Community Service. We call it Grassroots Activism. Get Involved. Stay Involved, and next time you get together, you'll have plenty to talk about to your own group! Too simple? Not really. It works for us in Marin, California. It can work for you at Anytown, USA!

I bet you can think of a few Unions, School, Church, Guild or other civic groups you can feel at home in. And don't forget to wear your "Progressive" buttons!

Posted by Ralph Miller on April 25, 2005 at 08:09 PM | Permalink

[Due to technical difficulties, this blog was originally posted on the Leader's Blog.  My sincerest apologies to those who missed it].  --Charlene Johnston

It sounds like you're saying that the real trick isn't to sit around waiting for people from the other group to come to you, but to instead get up and go to them. That seems pretty sensible to me.

I know a lot of people are reluctant to leave "the familiar." Are there any tricks for convincing people who are reluctant to leave their comfort zone to take that risk and try something new?

Posted by: Liane Allen | April 25, 2005 08:37 PM

Sure, that's it! The "trick," if there is one, is for people to find groups that they will like being in, such as a Church group, or a PTA, or Arts Guild, or Neighborhood Food Drive, or other such activity where interests and talents can be best used. If you're a Democrat, as many on this list are, you can go to those group meetings wearing your "Proud to be a Democrat!" button that can serve as your entre' for conversation. The "trick" is to stay involved, so that the folks you're reaching out to know that you are committed to THEIR cause, not just your own. It's the best way of building reciprocal TRUST. Pretty soon, they might just start coming to YOUR meetings, say, to give a presentation about their cause...

Posted by: Ralph Miller | April 25, 2005 08:42 PM


I'm really sorry I couldn't get here in time. This is posted on the wrong blog (this blog isn't linked to our site anymore). I'll see if Al can transfer it over to the main blog tomorrow.

Sorry, my fault for not being here earlier.

Posted by: Jessica | April 25, 2005 09:03 PM

Posted to the main site now, I think!

Posted by: Ralph Miller | April 25, 2005 09:07 PM

Nope. Still has the framing post up on the top of the main blog.


Posted by: Jessica | April 25, 2005 09:09 PM

Sorry I'm late. Thanks Ralph and Liane

Posted by: Phil*in* Iowa | April 25, 2005 09:41 PM

Dang missed you all.

Thanks for all you do Ralph.

focus is on Virginia this week?

Posted by: Phil*in* Iowa | April 25, 2005 09:47 PM

Focus IS on Virginia. Our new Community Outreach and Coalition Building training effort is framed around getting out there! (We introduced it in South Carolina last weekend during the SC Dem Pary Convention training and it was very well received, so I think it has applicability to other efforst, such as our own, meetups, dfa, etc.

Posted by: Ralph Miller | April 25, 2005 09:58 PM

Ralph, are you talking about the DFA Training Academy?

I noticed on BFA today, Tom Hughes posted:

"Ralph Miller and Steven Ybarra from California and the DFA Training Academy joined the action."

What is the DFA Training Acadamy exactly?

Posted by: Jessica | April 25, 2005 10:30 PM

Thanks for stopping back by Ralph.

Sorry, I thought the room was empty and went back over to DFA.

You guys do training THE BEST!

Posted by: Phil*in* Iowa | April 25, 2005 10:34 PM

Thanks so much for your time, Ralph. Sorry that I wasn't here to help. I'm going to post it on the main blog now, so the topic gets the attention it deserves.

Phil*in*Iowa is right. LFA does the BEST training. Everywhere you guys go, I hear your accolades sung.

Posted by: Charlene | April 26, 2005 07:35 AM

Posted by Charlene Johnston on April 26, 2005 at 07:37 AM | Permalink


Apologies to everyone for the technical difficulties last night.

The comments from last night are now embedded in the main post (scroll up from here).

Posted by: Jessica | Apr 26, 2005 9:43:13 AM


I live in a city where our minority population is so small that they don't have their own organizations for us to get involved in.

Any suggestions?

Posted by: Jessica | Apr 26, 2005 9:45:37 AM

Laundromats and Churches.
If there are Latinos, there will be Latino Churches!

Posted by: Ralph Miller | Apr 26, 2005 8:38:00 PM

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