On March 26 2020, several MVA faith leaders held a virtual meeting, initially scheduled to plan a full Faith Caucus for April 8.
We used a “House Meeting” format to check in with each other on the impacts of the COVID-19 health emergency. We asked typical house meeting questions:
1. How have you and your loved ones been impacted by COVID-19?
2. What pressures has it brought to your congregation? What steps has your leadership taken to respond so far?
3. What is one or two things an MVA organized response could focus on that would be of most benefit to you and your organization? What kinds of assets and limitations are we working with? What are you willing to contribute?
We saw clear themes emerging in just 20 minutes of listening to one another.
Just as MVA is at a jumping-off point for moving forward, the COVID-19 pandemic compels us to pause and re-orient our work. This update is intended to honour the work engaged by dozens of our delegates, while respecting the needs of this new and unexpected context.
First, a proposal. A summary of the Feb 27-28 Summit Strategy and Action plans are here
The Organizing Cycle: LISTENING - STRATEGY - ACTION
Leaders throughout the Industrial Areas Foundation network recognize that this could be a time of need and even isolation, especially for our most vulnerable neighbours.
MVA leaders already know how to build a strategic network of support specific to local issues and conditions. Those skills are especially valuable now. In the coming days and weeks we have an opportunity to "practise community" through developing public relationships and identifying concrete, achievable responses.
As always, we begin with listening. In the intentional way we've learned through our community organizing, listen to family, friends and colleagues for new personal pressures or local issues arising from the COVID-19 threat or from community disruptions. Our leaders are encouraged to connect with each other to analyze these challenges and take local action. If you don't know who to connect with to get started, use our email and it will be forwarded to the right person.
Let this time of unprecedented challenge be also a time to practice community, creativity, and kindness.
MVA's Faith Caucus is turning its attention to a campaign for making social connections.
Institutional Leaders are invited to meet together to discuss coordinating resources and needs.
"STRONGER TOGETHER" Strategy Summit, SUMMARY
On March 12 leaders held a formal evaluation of the Strategy Summit to discern the energy and direction for next steps. But of course, things changed rapidly in the two weeks between the Summit and the Evaluation meeting.
In sum, MVA leaders' primary objective for 2020 is to grow our financial capacity to hire a full-time organizer, which equips us to take on the campaigns important to us all. The strategy includes:
REMINDER! This week Metro Vancouver Alliance is hosting 2 days of vision, strategy, and relationship-building to grow the power in our community Alliance.
After a pause for reflection and evaluation (and working on updating the website)... MVA is building a deeper and broader Alliance for the good of all who live and work in our region. Bring your voice - help us get started at our first major event of the year:
STRONGER TOGETHER: ORGANIZING FOR POWER 2020
MVA Strategy Summit, Thursday Feb. 27 & Friday Feb 28
Vancouver, various locations RSVP today!
A series of energizing sessions to explore why and how our organizations are Stronger Together, designed to ignite your vision for what is necessary and achievable for a more liveable Metro Vancouver.
We were very busy over the summer, organizing for the common good, of course!
And, here's the latest update from the Metro Vancouver Alliance.....
Strategy team meeting
Our strategy team meets on Tuesday, September 10, from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm, in Room 1209 of the Vancouver Community College health sciences building (Broadway campus). We'll be discussing our work for this fall and new opportunities for our research action teams to access grant money to pursue their priority issues.
Community Organizing Leadership Institute
Our introduction to the theory and practice of community organizing, including necessary skills you can use to strengthen your union, congregation, community group or educational organization. Join other emerging and established leaders for this in-depth workshop on Friday evening, September 27 and Saturday, September 28. Learn more and register here. The leadership Institute is free for folks from MVA member institutions. Participants from non-member institutions may pay $75 to take part. This may be applied to membership dues in the MVA if your institution later decides to join us. Please download the workshop poster here and share it.
Free workshop: Tough Conversations - keeping your cool when things get challenging
Our bodies respond instinctively when we feel challenged: the neck or jaw tightens, and the stomach gets queasy. Physical discomfort requires physical strategies. This training offers simple techniques to get you and your body working together so you can handle the challenge and communicate effectively in a way that feels better. Come prepared to ignite your curiosity and to explore new ways of taking care of yourself, especially in those tough moments. Join Shayna Hornstein, adult educator, counsellor and coach - and MVA leader - for this engaging workshop on Tuesday, October 29, 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm at the BCGEU Vancouver office. Find out more and register here.
Red dress gathering
The Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) an MVA member, is holding a red dress gathering to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls on Sunday, September 15 from 11.00 am to 2.00 pm in Bear Creek Park (13750 88 Avenue in Surrey (140th Street east side entrance). Everyone welcome. Bring a chair and a picnic lunch, some refreshments provided. Download the poster here and share it.
The coming federal election
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, an MVA member, is sponsoring an all-candidates forum for voters in the Vancouver-Kingsway electoral district on Tuesday, September 17, 7.00 pm at Collingwood Neighbourhood House (5288 Joyce Street, a few minutes from the Joyce Skytrain station). Everyone is welcome to attend. You can RSVP and even submit a question here.
MVA partner, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, will be weighing in on top voting concerns such as the rising cost of living, climate change, much-needed investments in health care and closing expensive tax loopholes. Let the CCPA know what you care about and stay up to date with their election analysis here.
Global climate strike
Greta Thunberg has landed on our shores just in time for the next Global Climate Strike. On Friday, September 27th, Vancouverites will stand together with people across the planet to demand climate justice. This global strike is not just for youth - this time, we need EVERYONE to demand dramatic and urgent action against the climate crisis. Vancouver City Hall (Cambie and 12th Avenue) from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
Promote the MVA!
We're building our social media presence and need your help! Please like our Facebook page and also take a few minutes to invite your friends to like it!
A recent article in America, the Jesuit Review, explores the impact of the decline of organized labour in the United States and the growth of inequality all through the lens of Catholic social teaching. Read The decline of unions is part of a bad 50 years for American workers here.
Amid the urgency of the climate crisis, many of us are experiencing what has been called "eco-grief." An article in The New Republic suggests that solidarity is the answer to the enormous challenge ahead. Read One for all: To avert global catastrophe, we urgently need to resurrect the ancient ideal of solidarity here.
As humans, we're hardwired to care, but we have to nurture it, writes Vivian Fellegi in Broadview magazine, formerly the United Church Observer. Read The science of empathy here.
The Georgia Strait published a Labour Day message from MVA leader and president of the Vancouver and District Labour Council Stephen Von Sychowski. Read Unions celebrate Labour Day by calling for a fair Canada for everyone here.