A Summary from our December 10 Community Meeting
On December 10, well over 100 RHRI activists came out to talk about what RHRI had done well in 2017 and what it needed to do better in 2018. People had a lot of ideas for the future, and to be able to put those ideas into action, Resist Hate RI needs your help.
What RHRI members want to focus on in 2018
At the meeting, we asked people to write down three issues they felt were the most important things to focus on in 2018.
2018 RI elections, and National Policies
People overwhelmingly said that electing progressives in RI was the most important to them, along with fighting against the federal administration’s policies. One said having legislative ‘scorecards” would be helpful and one suggested support for traveling to elections outside of RI would be good to do.
Issues people want to work on
The other top issues people cared about working on in 2018 included: environment, racism and civil rights, voting rights, immigration, reproductive rights, economic justice, education and healthcare.
How RHRI did in 2017
In the small groups, people reported on things they liked, things they did not like about Resist Hate RI, and what could be done better as we move forward.
RHRI as a connector
Many appreciated RHRI’s role as an “umbrella,” “clearinghouse,” or “funnel” that they could use to learn to plug into different groups and actions, and felt RHRI had the potential for being able to bring people together to learn and make connections.
Rallies, Community Meetings, Education and Actions
People had varying opinions on the events we held throughout the year.
Some found the educational workshops and trainings helpful, but that RHRI lost momentum with education-only community meetings that lacked breakout/discussion sessions. A few felt we needed more focus, and one said that they loved meetings with direct actions.
One member said RHRI should hold regular community meetings that are consistent and should distribute agendas in advance. At those meetings, one said there should be “issue leads” that report back on what they’ve done and what they need. Another said there should be translations created for written communications and meetings.
One person felt more informational workshops on lobbying and introducing people to legislators was important.
Some supporting attention-getting rallies to show that citizens care, and said they had both expected and wanted more of them planned. One member thought that there were too many marches.
A few felt social, community-building events are important in addition to actions and suggested events in other towns (other than Providence), like the house parties RHRI members hosted this summer.
Leadership & Direction
Some felt RHRI’s leadership should be stronger/clearer and several disliked the use of Trump’s name in RHRI’s new statement of purpose. One member felt we spent too much time on thinking about what we do and who we are.
One member noted they they were active, attending meetings and rallies, but didn’t feel a part of the group and said they struggled with the one-way exchange of information, and lack of discussion or thought on what to do. Another said they’d learned a lot but were dissatisfied with the lack of leaderships on where to go with their activism and what they should do with the knowledge they get through RHRI. A few mentioned they felt RHRI was too fragmented and going in too many directions at once.
Several appreciated the moderated Facebook page and its ability to allow people to connect and do outreach. One noted that the Facebook discussions were messy but helpful, and that the comment shut off in the spring was harmful, and that the discussion had still not yet recovered.
One suggested that if RHRI needed assistance that they make very clear asks, not just on Facebook, for help.
One noted that there was no forum for open discussion of the group’s problems — like lack of diversity. Another suggested having some of the other community groups give RHRI feedback on how it is doing.
Communication with Other Groups
Several felt that we’d worked well and closely with other community groups, but others said RHRI should do more to collaborate with activist groups and have more of a shared vision, or at least cross-community education. One said we need to have conversations to communicate across lines of race and class, being wary of labels like parties or group affiliations. One suggested we need both discussion and guidance to activist groups.
Attendees had many ideas for 2018 and the future. They wanted to keep promoting activism, and noted that RHRI members have limited time and patience and that discussion must lead to action. One person suggested creating a youth group. Another wanted to ensure we keep on our federal delegation and another said we needed to make connections between national and local issues. Another said we needed to help meet the psychological needs of members who feel battered by the federal political landscape. One suggested knitting and other craft groups that could create things in support of others. Another said we needed to plaster the state with posters.
Others said RHRI needs to work to inspire others, include the voice of feminists, become more diverse and get more people involved, reach out to more of the population and work on building trust. One suggested weekly actions and another suggested a newsletter.