Expanding Strategic Communications Capacity and Collaboration

By Laneisha Butler, Youth Organizer

Our sister organization, Bay Rising, launched a Communications Fellowship last year to expand the communications capacity for their network of over 30 social justice organizations. As the Community Organizer at Oakland Rising, I am participating so that I can strengthen our presence on social media, increase our digital organizing, and cultivate my writing and messaging skills. By building Oakland Rising’s social media capacity, I hope to better engage and grow our base.

Over the past few months, the fellowship has covered a range of topics from using art in messaging to how to be a spokesperson. We often practice using these new tools in live time, as I just had the opportunity to speak for the first time ever at a press conference (watch the video!). And this month, I along with several other fellows, received scholarships from Bay Rising to attend the 2018 Netroots Nation Conference in New Orleans -- one of the nation’s largest digital organizing and communications conferences for progressives.

As a first time attendee of the conference and visitor of New Orleans, I looked forward to networking, building relationships, attending informational workshops, and learning about the social and political climate of New Orleans. The workshops I attended correlated with what I have been learning in Bay Rising’s trainings, and gave me new ideas to implement. This included tips and best practices around:

  • growing our followers on social media,
  • keeping millennials engaged,
  • organizing and recruiting for events,
  • managing a communications schedule, and
  • messaging with more impact.

While I am excited to start using these newly-earned skills to boost our social media presence, I hope that next year’s conference is less cost prohibitive so that more Black and other POC organizers and locals with limited resources can attend and take advantage of what is offered. I strongly believe that having more Black/ POC and local organizers in the conference will inform the conference and our collective work in a more powerful way by grounding the conversation in the rich history of organizing and the current work of resistance that is already being carried out in the area.

NETWORK


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