On Sunday, nearly 100 of Florida’s top progressive activists from around the state gathered in Orlando to discuss and prepare for the upcoming State Legislative session. The event was the brain child of the very bright Mr. Edwin Enciso, and organized beautifully by Susan Smith, Kenneth Quinnell, Ray Seaman and a few other wonderful people. The event had some wonderful sponsors, The Orange County CTA and Progress Florida.
We started with an introduction to the un-conference concept, manymoon.com and the objectives of LegiCamp 2011, led by Edwin. From there we filled in much of the day’s sessions with participant driven content, including the session I promoted in advance, during the first time slot, Candidate Development.
My session was held in “area 3” which was the center of a cubical office area, open to the outside world, but cozily confined. Roughly 25 activists joined me and participated in a lively discussion about where candidates come from, how to evaluate their capacity to run, and what we can do to ensure they run better campaigns than history tells us to expect.
Among our actions items coming out of the session we got commitments from activists from 4 or 5 counties to recruit one new progressive candidate for 2012. Those actions will be tracked with manymoon and hopefully result in progressive seat pickups.
Counter programming my session was what I am told was a wonderful session on Reproductive Rights, led by Susan Smith and Staci Fox. These women, and all the women of Florida, need our help fighting back the oppressive measures being put forward by Governor Rick Scott and the State Legislature.
During the second time slot, I bounced between the session in the main room on redistricting led by Scott Randolph, Susannah Randolph, Josh Giese, and Edwin, and the session on using Facebook as an Organizing Tool (for legislation) led by Ray Seaman, with assistance from Kenneth Quinnell. Both sessions were fantastic, discussions were vibrant and it appeared (from all the smoke streaming from peoples ears) that people were learning and thinking on levels unheard of at that hour on a Sunday. You can learn more about redistricting with this post from the Florida Progressive Coalition or via FairDistrictsFlorida.org, and at FloridaRedistricting.org. The most important thing learned in the “using Facebook” session? CLICK THE DAMN “LIKE BUTTON” and remember that online action is a supplement to, not a replacement for traditional organizing.
We broke for lunch, where I again split my time, between a table with several former (and hopefully future) progressive candidates from around the state, and another with one of Florida’s brightest women’s rights activists (Staci Fox of PPNF) and a bright young future leader and/or journalist (Jason Henry). Good discussions and pizza occurred.
The third time slot I joined Ray Seaman’s session on Twitter, where we learned and discussed basic usage, hashtags, the 140 character environment, use of RT’s (re-tweets), and how to combine all of those things to effect change with regard to legislation, campaigns and issues. Some great questions were asked and some ideas for providing better resources to the activist community were put forth. Ray and Kenneth have agreed to deliver some of those resources, and we will hold them to it.
In the final session, Susannah Randolph and Ray Seaman talked about DirtyHari.org and other ongoing and upcoming ideas, and presented Ray’s “Awake the State” idea. (Follow the link and CLICK THE LIKE BUTTON…NOW!)
Edwin closed out the day by moderating a summarizing of the day’s sessions, thanking all those that helped organize and execute the event and directing us to head out to a local watering hole to continue discussions.
Kenneth Quinnell posted his Monday “Word of the Day”, LegiCamp, you can watch here: