Friday, October 07, 2016

Inaugural Potluck Reflections

Thank you to everyone who joined us last night for what we hope will be the first of many gatherings sharing food and ideas to enrich and progress our community. It was so exciting and heartwarming to see how many of y’all already know each other, the existing connections, and new friendships taking root!

For those who didn’t make it or couldn’t stay the whole time, some topics discussed:
  • Saving Our Unique Land (Rachel). Concerned locals are invited, Monday 10/10 at 1:45 at La Crosse County Courthouse, to visibly support the Town of Holland as it challenges the legal, environmental, and ethical concerns of the Badger-Coulee transmission line in this appeal case. More info at
  • Stand with Standing Rock (Cathy). Show your support for the environmental and indigenous rights lead. Tuesday 10/11 from 5-6 at Burns Park (8th and Main St). More info at
  • Injustice Boycott (Monica). Against police brutality and injustice because Black Lives Matter. Nationwide, starts December 5th, details to come. More info at
  • Potential for joining the La Crosse County Democratic Party (JD). Mixed feelings and dialogue welcome.
  • Training on how to run for office (Jess). County Board member Patrick Barlow has offered to share his experiences and insights. Coming in November, details TBD.
  • Citizen’s Climate Lobby urging national legislation on carbon tax (Peter). Ongoing.

As this was our first time hosting such an event, we learned a lot already! Some logistical tweaks Peter and I have come up with so far:  
  • STARTING EARLIER: We would like to try an earlier start-time. Like 5 pm. We hope to better accommodate families with kiddos, people who work early Friday morning, and anyone who does earlier bedtimes. We are flexible on the end time, so if you still want to stay later to hang that is great too.
  • CLARIFYING GROUP TIME: For similar reasons, we would like to consider a set time to call together the group’s attention for discussing issues and ideas. Like 6 pm. We’d love feedback on that. Last night happened fairly organically, which was nice in a way, but unfortunately it happened later in the evening, meaning that several friends had already left. Every one of you is valuable, and I was sad about the missing voices. I see it as preventable. We want to modify to make it more organized without being too rigid, hoping to enable more people to participate. Some of this will probably trial and error, and again we are very open to input on this.
  • ALL AGES: A reminder we welcome kids of all ages. We have some toys and activities, and of course feel free to bring your own bag of tricks. I will say our house is not “toddler-proof”, so parental supervision is advised for kids at that dangerous explorer phase. But we will have some particularly kid-friendly spaces set up next time. Last night we had some rad babes from 4 weeks to 6 years old, and they were some of the cutest people there IMHO. Bigger kids, teens, and students are certainly welcome too. Especially if they want to babysit :D
  • ACCESSIBILITY PROBS: Unfortunately, our house is not ideal for all abilities. Coming through the front requires six concrete steps (three and three), plus the curb which is not ramped unless you come from the street corner about 100 feet from our door. Coming through the back requires two deck steps and is a wider entrance. We do not have a ramp but the back is relatively friendlier. If these structures pose a barrier to you or someone you want to invite from coming, please let us know, and we can help make it work. There is a bathroom on the first floor.
  • TRANSPORTATION: We are right on a bus route (woo!), so consider that. You can park bikes or wagons in the backyard, and there’s plenty of street parking for cars. If you need the back entrance for accessibility reasons, let us know, and we will make sure there is room for you to park in the alley. We could probably squeeze 4 cars max back there.
  • COMMUNICATION: It might be helpful if we have a scribe during the large group discussion. Something to think about before next time. The day after potlucks, we could post on the blog with a summary and updates. We will share the blog posts on the Coulee Progressives facebook page for easy sharing among FB users. If you would like to write about local issues, let Cathy know, and she can give you access to blog. More content would be great! Relevant events will be posted on both sites, with an emphasis on facebook because that can be a useful way to invite FB users to come to events.

What do you think? If you have feedback, concerns, or proposals for improvement, please feel free to share publicly online for discussion, send Peter or me a message privately, or save for group discussion at the next potluck. We would love to have these hybrid social-strategizing (sociagizing?), fun-organizing (funganizing?) community potlucks every other Thursday. We are happy to host. If/when others want to host, be our guest! (Or actually we’ll be yours :D yukyukyuk.)

The next potluck planned is 10/20. Come alone or invite anyone you feel would appreciate a safe, friendly environment for progressive discussion and organizing. Who are the people you know who want to see change? Who is already working for change? What coalitions can we build in our community? There is so much work to be done in our world. How much more can we do when we all move together?

With hope for the revolution,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could mix up times and locations so if one doesn't work for someone, the next would. I can do any but those who live/work on northside maybe would have a hatder time coming at 5, so maybe we could alternate between Monica's and an (as yet undefined) location in North La Crosse or Ona or Brice Prairie or French Island. I'll research and report. Also good idea about having a set talk time. Come for talk and stay for food if you can't arrive earlier, no problem! This was an excellent event!