Advisory Committee and Core Group: Continue to develop the leadership of a trained group of African American and immigrant organizers and activists who guide the project via the Advisory Committee. This group has led NIAAS activities, and designed and developed structures and tools for fostering dialogue; in 2012 it will continue to do so. This committee will guide the project, and lead NIAAS’ evaluation at 6-month intervals. Timeline: bi-monthly meetings throughout the year.
Create a ‘Core Group’ of 8-10 members (with overlap of some Advisory Committee members) that will lead NIAAS work in local community settings. The Core Group will be trained by NIAAS coordinators on NIAAS’ approach and tools, and will work in NIAAS pilot community projects to help local leaders and groups design activities to help immigrant and African American communities break down barriers and build relationships and solidarity around key issues or initiatives. Timeline: Quarterly meetings as a Core Group and involvement of “core members” in 2-4 community projects throughout the year (see below).
Membership Group: We will open our membership group to new participants who are interested in NIAAS’ mission and activities. These popular education-based workshops will continue to use popular theater, storytelling, ‘traveling museum of the African Diaspora,’ and other tactics that foster mutual understanding and, ultimately, solidarity. Timeline: we will offer these general membership/ education activities quarterly, involving at least 60 to 75 new participants from across Boston over the year.
Community-based dialogues and education: In 2011, we developed relationships with social justice organizations who have now committed to working with NIAAS to build relationships between members and constituents in their own organizations in 2012. The directors and organizers of three organizations – Boston Parent Organizing Network (BPON), Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) and City Life/ Vida Urbana (CLVU) – have openly shared how tensions between African-Americans and immigrants of color manifest in their organizing work with impacted communities around foreclosure, environmental justice, and public schools. They experience these tensions as barriers to relationship-building. They asked NIAAS for support in 2012 to help them address these barriers to change. NIAAS is currently developing a 2012 work plan with these organizational partners, based on two primary goals: first, to deepen the measurable impact of NIAAS’ work in local communities; and second, to engage and attract community members directly to NIAAS other (citywide) activities. Timeline: two meetings with each group (six sessions) throughout the year, beginning in the spring 2012.
Campaign support: NIAAS members will choose a campaign to support, bringing its tools and participants to a major campaign affecting communities of color in the greater Boston area. While NIAAS will not organize a campaign, it will offer its support to build relationships and increase solidarity among African Americans and immigrants within the selected campaign.