Justice United has come to the end of a three-year cycle of organizing that began with a relational listening campaign, and that led to our organization ratifying a grassroots agenda focused on housing and education.
This cycle of organizing has helped surface and engage many new, talented leaders from across our county. Our membership base has grown, and Justice United is active in more communities than ever before. At the same time, we have a need to understand what is happening in our community in light of COVID-19, and to reconnect with each other after a full year of physical distancing.
Our goal: engage 800 in a listening campaign between now and June 1. You can learn more about our Power Strategy here.
Relational canvassing is a tool that can help neighborhood leaders organize their power and address concerns that include substandard conditions, safety, the lack of infrastructure, and the threat of displacement by rising rents or property taxes. On March 2 over 100 Justice United members ratified a proposal to use relational canvassing to support these neighborhood leaders.
Relational canvassing is a deeper form of canvassing than just simply handing out a flyer, or asking someone to complete a survey. It involves a 10-15 minute conversation with someone at their doorstep, to introduce ourselves, hear their story, identify concerns, and see if they have the appetite to take action.
These relational canvasses are part of Justice United's ongoing listening session campaign. Our goal is to engage more than 600 members of our congregations and communities by May 31 to identify the top pressures and concerns facing our families. Ultimately this campaign will lead to the creation of a new grassroots issue agenda.
Neighborhoods, Dates, Times
Justice United has been to support leaders in the neighborhoods that surround our institutions or where members of our congregations live: 1) Piney Grove; 2) Fairview; and at least two mobile home parks in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. These neighborhoods represent over 550 predominantly working class, African American and Latino households.
Canvassing Dates and Times (Sign Up Below)
Training will be provided to all participants from 10:00 am—11:00 am during each canvass. Repeat participants do not need to attend training and can come one hour late. Canvassers will be trained at the UU Congregation of Hillsborough (1710 Old NC Hwy 10) and will then depart to knock on doors in one or more of the above neighborhoods.
Everyone who participates in relational canvassing will receive training beforehand, will be given materials, and will go in pairs. Each canvass will involve both neighborhood leaders and outside supporters.
Report from House Meetings, To Date
At our Countywide Leaders Meeting on August 22, JU leaders pledged to engage members of their institutions in house meetings to: 1) begin to identify the top pressures and concerns facing our families today; 2) to identify leaders with the appetite to act and make change.
We’ve made progress on this goal. This fall over 40 leaders attended training to learn how to lead house meetings, and engaged roughly 150 members of their communities in these conversations. Top concerns surfaced during these house meetings so far include: