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Up & Up Action Initiative: A Community Meeting To Unite In Action

January 16, 2017
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A Community Meeting to Unite in Action

On the eve of MLK Day, with standing room only and a line out the door; a gathering of close to 300 concerned communities members joined with leaders from local organizations and political offices at the Unitarian Universalist Sanctuary in Croton on Sunday ,January 15th as part of a national day of action less than one week before the presidential inauguration.

The goal of this event was to motivate and give direction to citizens determined to stand up for progressive values, fight for justice and equality, and resist the upcoming presidential administration. Leaders and community members broke out into issue-focused groups to collaborate and work in unison to devise goal-oriented plans for action surrounding: Racial Injustices, Discrimination Protection, Healthcare, Local Politics, The Environment and Best Strategies to Impact the Administration.

“Rather than try and reinvent the wheel, we agreed to be foot soldiers following the lead of human rights advocacy groups like Wespac, taking the issues to our local communities, face to face, to raise awareness, and effect change,” said Eve Hartman; facilitator of the Discrimination Protection Group.

The healthcare team leader, with help from Planned Parenthood and LHVPAN, decided they would, “put pressure on our political representatives by all means necessary and remember that we are the majority!”

“The varied energy and diversity around the Impacting the Administration group was amazing. Some were still dismayed and mourning while others were ready to fight! A few felt defeated with unsuccessful efforts while many were elated about their work and feeling like you can be one person and make a difference,” said facilitator  Liisa McCloy-Kelley who described the experience as; “There were at least 45 people in our group with everyone clamoring to be engaged and heard and throw out ideas. It came fast and furious.”

“It was great to meet so many neighbors concerned about the direction of local government: whether that be the state, county or school districts. My takeaway from this is that ‘regime change’ begins at home and we have to work diligently to replace those in power that enable discrimination and inequality and ensure that our elected officials reflect our values,” said Maria Slippen, “Local Politics” group facilitator.

The crowd was inspired in an opening speech by meeting organizer Jack Bergman in which he declared, “In the weeks months and years ahead we will remain a constant presence in and beyond our community. We will not allow our political representatives or corporate powers to ignore us any longer. We will stand in solidarity with and speak up for those struggling to be acknowledged. And we WILL change things – Because we are more powerful and wiser when we work as a unit; and when we stand together, we cannot be broken.”

The event was organized by Up & Up Action Initiative, a bridge building organization committed to uniting communities and established groups who strive to preserve our nation’s integrity and strengthen our values of equality and progress towards diversification.  By maintaining a constant presence in and beyond our community, they seek to organize and facilitate action, creating effective pathways for people to come together, stay informed and support our shared goals of protecting the rights of all beings.

Link to community discussion and photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction

Westchester 12 post-event coverage: http://westchester.news12.com/news/hundreds-protest-trump-presidency-in-croton-1.12962105#autoplay=true
Jack Bergman
Additional photos and comments available upon request
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