While The Gathering was happening in Burlington, VT this past weekend, another event was happening that slid under the radar of most reporters and tweeters. RootsCamp 2018 is the [now] biennial, progressive unconference held by Re:Power (which is the rebranded, revised Wellstone Action; some of the story is here: Wellstone is now re:power). Unlike some conferences, the focus for #Roots18 was not the 2020 presidential election but the work that must be done in 2019 and beyond:
RootsCamp is the major conference where you’ll get to debrief the midterm elections – what we won and what we’ve learned. You’ll be alongside progressive leaders from all parts of the movement – organizers, campaigners, data directors, you name it – on setting the tone for 2019. (What is RootsCamp?)
Although Re:Power handled the nuts and bolts of putting the conference together, this is very much a grass-roots driven gathering similar to Netroots Nation. As an “unconference,” the sessions are devised and led by the participants, with discussion moderated by session creators.
At this unconference, The Board is where the conference schedule is set—right in front of your eyes. It is a giant grid of times and locations in the middle of the conference center that a team of volunteers fills with sessions dreamed up and submitted by you, the participants.
All participants are welcome to submit an idea for what we call a “session.” A session just means one 60-minute block of time that you can use for any conversation, training, demonstration, or panel that you think folks in our movements would benefit from.
Some people will arrive with a set plan for a session they want to propose, and—most excitingly—many of you will also design sessions for Sunday based on a “We need to continue this conversation!” moment from Saturday. (The Board)
The theme for this year’s event was Building Local Power with Inclusive Politics.
We’re choosing to zero in on what it means to practice a more inclusive politics and think about ways that we can transform our democracy so that our people win and collectively thrive. Each plenary speaker at RootsCamp speaks to this theme with a unique approach, reflective of the many roles of our movement. (The Theme)
I want to be very clear: I did not attend RootsCamp2018, and in fact, I had forgotten it was happening until I started receiving excited updates from my nephew, who did attend. But I felt this was an important enough event to highlight, using tweets from attendees and articles I’ve found. It’s a(n un) conference I will definitely be considering for 2020.
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