Call to Restart Common Ground Collective
by jimmy dunson
Friday, Jun. 13, 2014 at 5:07 PM
Call for a Common Ground Encuentro at Malik's house on the 9 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
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After Hurricane Katrina, many of us around the country were shocked at the inaction and inability of government and large non-profit organizations to respond effectively. We had to act.
Beginning with only $50, but rich in consciousness and commitment, we built off our years of social movement organizing. Using these skills and contacts, together with our vision of a better world, we created Common Ground Collective and with it a health clinic, legal clinic, eviction defense project, roof-tarping project, a community garden, a woman’s shelter, tree-cutting service, community media centers, and bioremediation. We stopped house demolitions, distributed aid, documented police abuses, created a tool-lending library, gutted thousands of houses, cleaned up debris, created free after school educational programs, started a radio station and most importantly we listened.
However, we were the victims of heinous acts carried out by provocateurs such as Brandon Darby, who sowed seeds of dissension, pitted volunteers against each other, and used his position of authority in our organization to sexually take advantage of women. We believe this was part of a C.O.I.N.T.E.L.P.R.O. type covert operation against nonviolent anti-authoritarians and nonviolent black revolutionaries.
We apologize for allowing a person like Brandon Darby into a leadership role in our organization. In so doing, we failed ourselves, we failed our volunteers (especially female volunteers) and we failed the people of New Orleans. We are older and wiser and now realize that an anti-oppression/anti-sexual violence policy with community accountability towards perpetrators is critical to our movements.
We propose a Common Ground Encuentro in New Orleans on the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
3 Principles will guide our work:
1. We are nonviolent.
2. We are consensus based and community driven.
3. We prioritize the leadership of historically marginalized voices summed up in the motto “solidarity not charity”.
Another way of saying this is we organize based on the principles of solidarity, autonomy, and nonviolent direct action.
Solidarity means we check our class, race, gender, and other privilege at the door. It also means we prioritize the voices of historically marginalized individuals and communities including but not limited to: people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ (especially QT), women, people who are undocumented, and indigenous peoples.
Autonomy means we act separately but together, recognizing and celebrating all our differences, united not by hierarchical control or threat of violence, but by our freely chosen adherence to these principles.
Consensus means we strive for the full participation of individuals in our movement based on horizontal decision-making. However, given our movement’s’ past and current infiltrations by militant provocateurs like Brandon Darby, this is an ideal we cannot approximate too closely. Some people usually our elders, have important wisdom and insight gained from experience giving their lives for the struggle for peace, justice, and liberation. We do believe that we are all leaders. But please be patient with us as we strive to find a balance between effective leadership and consensus-based participatory decision making.
We do not seek to seize power. We do not seek to overthrow power. We seek to organize ourselves in pursuit of our own people’s and planet’s needs and desires, and by doing so, discover how powerful we already are.
August 29, 2014 - September 5th (Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina)
331 Atlantic Ave. New Orleans, Louisiana.
Please email email@example.com to register
p.s. If you were a member of Common Ground Collective, Common Ground Clinic, or Common Ground Relief and you wish to support this call to action, you can do so by leaving your name in the comments section beneath this article.
6502 Brahman Dr.