A diverse crowd of nearly 300 organizers and activists from across the region gathered in Richmond earlier this month for the fifth annual Virginia People?s Assembly (VPA). Timed to coincide with the opening of the Virginia General Assembly, the VPA offers a chance for individuals and grassroots groups to come together, learn about the connections between issues affecting our communities and explore ways we can engage struggles for justice with greater unity.
Wayside trainers provided the language access with simultaneous interpretation in English and Spanish during all of the plenaries and several of the issue-specific workshops. And our Immigrant Justice Working Group coordinated several workshops exploring the intersections between immigration issues and other struggles for justice. One of these, ?Organizing Across Borders? was developed cooperatively with Southerners on New Ground.
While energizing and inspiring, the day was not without it?s challenges. The meeting space and delicious meals so generously provided by Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church were happily stretched to accommodate the record crowd that turned out for this year?s event. As we become more successful at organizing across the lines that divide us and drawing so many unique constituencies together in one space, the need to keep anti-oppression work at the core of what we do is ever apparent. But the biggest and most exciting challenge ahead lies in moving this annual networking conference towards ongoing collective action implementing a People?s Agenda.
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To learn more about the VPA including how to engage the process next year, check the website (still under development) and sign up for the mailing list there.