Building Momentum Part 1: Consultation

In this first part of a two-part post, we’re sharing the results of consultation we did at our last meeting on April 23 and through our online survey. For the purpose of full transparency, you can see what input we’ve received here, and then see how we’ve used that input in our planning for 2019-20 in part two of this post.

Our board presented a draft plan for building momentum within Broad Conversations and then asked questions to prompt interested folks to share their thoughts.

At our April 23 gathering, we split into groups to have this discussion, and the notes are collated below. Online, folks could respond to the same set of questions, and those responses are copied below.

Groups discuss the future of Broad Conversations at our April 23 gathering.

Groups discuss the future of Broad Conversations at our April 23 gathering.

PARTNERSHIPS

We asked…

What are some qualities you would expect in an organization Broad Conversations would partner with? Are there any specific organizations - in Hamilton, Ontario, or beyond - on your radar that you would like to see Broad Conversations partner with? To what end? What actions or outcomes would you like to see Broad Conversations pursue through partnerships with other organizations? Is there anything you would NOT want us to do regarding partnerships?

You answered…

  • Inclusive, welcoming, financially honest, accountable, equity-driven

  • Organizations outside of the usual, easy options, many different groups, common goals

  • SACHA, YWCA, university women’s groups or other women’s non-traditional owned, women’s professional organizations

  • Rural women’s organizations, CivicAction, Women Legal Action Fund

  • Progressive, feminist organizations,

  • Inclusive

  • COBRA

  • Women’s March / Me Too

  • YMCA - getting involved in politics

  • WAHC - worker’s rights and women workers

  • Queer and trans organizations ie speqtrum

  • GoodBodyFeel - self-work, community building

  • Community hubs

  • Environment Hamilton, Cycle Hamilton

  • HPL

  • To be determined based on actions

  • Disability Justice Network of Ontario

  • How do we help? What kind of help to people want?

  • Broad Convos as a point of access for community issues

  • We’re interested in ways to support indigenous women

  • Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion - starting point for forming networks

  • Labour Council

  • Funding opportunity - youth opportunities fund

  • Female headed companies/businesses; preferably local businesses

  • feminist -non-binary (trans friendly)

  • Respectful to indigenous communities

  • Supportive of survivors

  • Ready to combat hatred and bigotry

  • Solidarity with unions

  • Native Women's Centre

  • Good Shepherd, Women's Services

  • Hamilton Interval House (https://intervalhousehamilton.org/womenscentre)

  • I think Partnerships would be a good focus, rather than taking on new struggles or initiatives. Broad Convos crew could offer their services to fill gaps (e.g. marketing, social media, help at events) and exhausted labour to help enact priorities of groups, or leverage their power/privilege to bring these groups interests in to different spheres of influence. The key would be relationship building and also taking stock of available skills/ connections. BC could focus on a different area at a time, or choose a couple of priority areas to be helping out with simultaneously (or more fluid - could try different approaches).

  • Arts organizations ie Woman's Art Association


MONTHLY GATHERINGS

We asked…

Given we pursue a monthly gathering at a consistent day and time:How would you recommend we go about determining that day and time? What are “must haves” of a monthly gathering? (Food? Childcare? Holistic accessibility? Anything else you want to identify?) We have discussed the idea of having a speaker and then time for working groups to meet and use the space to further projects and actions - does this appeal to you? Do any specific possibilities spring to mind? How do you want to feel upon leaving such a gathering? (Revved up? Heard? Educated? Calm?) Are there any examples you’ve encountered of community gatherings like this that we should be emulating or avoiding?

You answered…

  • Food

  • “Lean coffee” - use post-its to anonymously propose topics of interest, similar topics grouped together, group voting to identify most interesting topics

  • Concerns: childcare and accessibility of meeting (time / venue)

  • Women’s history month event

  • Five minute talks by members

  • Reusable name with pronoun buttons

  • Reading list ahead of time

  • Certain months not to have eg summer

  • If not monthly, hard to maintain momentum

  • How do we measure success of this choice e.g. who shows up? are people fulfilled / not too onerous to show up?

  • Carpooling / transit costs

  • Speaker or panel

  • Consistent day and time

  • Childcare

  • Access to transit

  • Inclusion

  • Prioritizing relationships - what does this look like at an event

  • I love the idea of having a speaker come to educate/inform and then breakout time to discuss how the content could be applied or relevant to everyday life or bigger projects on the go.

  • If the gathering is in the evening, I would prefer to leave feeling educated, inspired and united with the women who were present.

  • Speakers + discussion is excellent

  • I want to feel like I have the support and emotional resources to safely continue smashing patriarchy

  • I love S.A.C.H.A.'s organisational model for decision-making: consensus building, non-hierarchical

  • Speaker and breakout model sounds good. I think people will want to enter an action phase eventually, so maybe a series of talks and discussions and then a more project-oriented outcome would be good. So, say BC were to identify a priority being Indigenous civic inclusion & cultural spaces in Hamilton - there could be several speakers approaching this from different angles and discussions (including some 101 stuff at the beginning so that BC folks have a shared, Indigenous-taught framework), and then gaps and needs identified (maybe speakers participate in discussions to contribute to this understanding) and partnerships struck where BC folks identify where they can assist in organization/ support of advocacy efforts.

  • Refreshments would be good, as people may attend as part of going from one thing to the next so to speak, possibly alternate between weekend daytime or weeknight meetings but hopefully some way for everyone interested to get together less frequently, would like to leave feeling educated, calm and resolved to next steps (internally, not necessarily for whole group)

  • Two further thoughts 1. It's not feasible without adequate funding to have every event happen in a space which is comfortable for the most vulnerable, with for example an additional quiet room. It is possible to seek out partners on a regular basis who already have adequate facilities and take the conversation to that space. 2. I am getting tired of talking heads, expert panels and presentations from the podium. If I'm familiar with the basic concepts I'd much rather be in a sharing circle with the speaker at the same physical level and a part of the circle.


GROWTH/OUTREACH

We asked…

Looking at the communities listed in our goals document, what are some tactics we should be using to reach new folks and engage broads in solidarity actions? How do you like to hear about gatherings like Broad Conversations? Where would you recommend we be louder in promotions? What should we be cognizant of as we grow? What are you concerned about from an equity standpoint?

  • Strategic partnerships ie YWCA for specific political involvement workshop

  • How to make Broad Convos accessible: to make sure everyone is included

  • How to go to folks we want included

  • Online

  • Community hubs, boards at shelters, community spaces

  • Is there a niche for each person to fit into?

  • What are the needs/wants of group members

  • Is this a doers group or social community

  • Should we look at going into different communities?

  • We mostly learn about the meetings through facebook - alternative?

  • I love the emails and Instagram account and think these should be the focus for communication.

  • Definitely keep using social media to broadcast feminist concerns -keep trying to reach out to lower income communities

  • Please try to reach out to sex workers in Hamilton (I feel like they really need the support of local feminist groups)

  • I'm most concerned about women feeling like they have someone to rely on when dealing with violence

  • By partnering with the many social services, equity, cultural advocacy orgs, etc. in Hamilton we reach new audiences, and become more legitimized/ familiar to them.

  • Can market up the wazoo, but for this kind of work in particular, people need to trust to engage. Continue to email as social media stuff can get lost in the noise.

  • I generally hear about events via facebook, instagram or direct email


FINAL THOUGHT

We asked…

What is it about Broad Conversations that interests you?

You answered…

  • Becoming more involved in feminist activism in my city and meeting kick ass, like-minded women in the process.

  • Maintain an on-going discussion regarding feminist issues

  • A space to find allies in enacting meaningful community service. A rare space IRL (post-school) where thoughtful dialogue can happen. Looking forward to seeing it grow! xo

  • Coming together with like minded people but looking to expand/understand community; not top down/formal