Monday, May 4, 2009

Southern New England Afd'ers meet

On April 11, AfD members from Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island met for a day-long conference entitled "Maintaining Democracy: Undermining the Corporate Agenda from the Bottom Up." It was an opportunity to find out more about member and supporters activism, and to hear from groups allied with AfD about their work, with special focus on climate change and localization, healthcare, and media.

Invited speakers included Nancy Lee Wood, who has been working on peak oil education and preparing her community and university for a post-carbon future: Jill Stein, from Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, speaking on climate change: local radio hosts Stan Robinson and John Grebe on media: and Katie Robbins, from Healthcare-Now, discussing the national push for single-payer health care. Barbara Clancy from the Alliance office talked about AfD’s work for single payer, focusing on state level work in New York, Pennsylvania, California, and Massachusetts. Member-educator Mary Rossborough discussed her work on economics; Garrett Whitney
introduced Concord (MA) actions on climate change and the transition town concept, and David Lewit talked about economics and localization, Cynthia Whitty gave a short history of her town’s long-term community-building activism, and Ruth Weizenbaum recognized the volunteers who keep the “Other Voices” video project on the air. Raging Grannies provided the music!

It was a full day, with, sadly, less time for open discussion than had been originally planned. A “post conference” chapter meeting is in the works to consider follow-ups to the event, including a possible New England conference in the fall, and a roundtable on localization and building local and regional economies.

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