Five local groups — Gamaliel Foundation, Legal Aid Justice Center, Virginia Organizing Project, Virginia LISC, and Cap-Up — join with residents to identify issues, forge bonds, and improve communities. While the historic recent election promised to break many records for voter turnout, organizers of Power Up Petersburg point out that voting is important, but it […]
Five local groups — Gamaliel Foundation, Legal Aid Justice Center, Virginia Organizing Project, Virginia LISC, and Cap-Up — join with residents to identify issues, forge bonds, and improve communities. While the historic recent election promised to break many records for voter turnout, organizers of Power Up Petersburg point out that voting is important, but it does not always engage people in the long run. “This election has been incredibly energizing for many people, but people want to know what they can do after Election Day. They also want to know they are making a difference when they commit to something,” says Angela James of the Gamaliel Foundation. “Sometimes it’s hard to see the direct results of an election on people’s everyday lives,” she adds. “On the other hand, when you take action in your community, the difference you can make is huge.”
On Saturday, November 22, from 9:30AM until 3PM, over 200 Petersburg residents will gather at Vernon Johns Junior High School to hone their skills in grassroots community action. Power Up Petersburg, an all-day leadership training institute, will combine speakers, interactive workshops, and a community luncheon. According to event organizers, participants will not sit passively and receive information—they will be actively involved throughout the day, sharing their knowledge and experience, and absorbing new ideas. “The current challenges we face, both locally and nationally, create a unique opportunity for everyday people to join together and make a difference,” says Cathy Woodson of the Virginia Organizing Project, one of the co-sponsors. Woodson adds, “Sometimes we cannot wait for public officials to solve our problems. Sometimes we need to make it happen ourselves, and sometimes our officials need a little encouragement.”
In addition to activities designed for everyday community members, there will workshops for public officials and faith leaders as well. Participants will choose from the following interactive sessions: Building Relationships in Your Community; Strategic Planning to Address Community Concerns; Impacting People and Places of Power; Real Leadership—What Is It; The Role of Faith in Justice and Democracy; Public Service and Democracy; and Self-Interest—What’s In It for You. The goal of the workshops is for participants to walk away with concrete tools they can use to effect positive change in their communities.
Between the morning and afternoon workshops, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), another co-sponsor, will hold its community update luncheon. “Whether your priority is housing, or education, or jobs, or something else in your community, this event will help you join with your neighbors and take action more effectively,” says Veronica Jemmott of LISC. She added “transportation and children’s activities will be provided at no cost.”
Citizens can rsvp at 358-7602 ext. 15 or PowerUpPetersburg@yahoo.com.