Power Summit 2011: Building grassroots power from the ground up

Trainer Monna Wong goes over legislative strategy.

We had an amazing weekend in Flint, Mich, working to build local power. Participants learned a wide variety of skills through sessions and workshops covering topics ranging from leadership development and volunteer recruitment to fundraising and canvassing. They learned about strategy and tactics, building a base of power, running successful actions, values-based messaging and organizing in faith communities to name the highlights. In addition to learning new skills and making important connections with fellow Michiganders, participants were able to put some of their training into practice.

On Saturday, we went door to door in Flint for the first-ever canvass in support of a city human rights ordinance that would ban employment and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Participants knocked on more than 1,600 doors and identified over 500 supporters! The next day, after an energizing fundraising training, we held a phonebank to raise money for local organizations. In less than an hour on their phones, participants raised more than $10,000 to support upcoming fights for LGBT equality. That amount was matched by a $10,000 check from the Task Force Action Fund to build the organizing capacity in the state.

In addition to building skills, participants had the opportunity to attend a Jewish and a Christian service, and socialize at local LGBT clubs. Participants left the summit with lots to think about and definite next steps of action that they can do in their own communities.

You can view more pictures from the summit on Facebook, and you can see what people said during the event by checking out the #powersummit hashtag on Twitter.

Special thanks to the Unity Michigan Coalition, Equality Michigan, Michigan Voice and the YWCA of Flint for hosting us and an additional thanks to Flint Mayor Dayne Walling for joining us and welcoming the summit to Flint:



Task Force trainer Trina Olson prepares summit participants to start their fundraising calls.

If you’re excited about the types of trainings offered at the Power Summit, we encourage you to attend the National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change and check out the offerings from the Academy for Leadership and Action!