I attended volunteer orientation for the US Social Forum this evening. The Forum is an offshoot of the World Social Forum begun as a response to the G8 summits. I was looking forward to the Forum, sure. However, the energy amongst the people was electric and I am now dragging out my soapbox and shouting, pleading for you all to VOLUNTEER! This will be the first EVER Social Forum to be held in the U.S. Organizers are expecting 10-20,000 people to attend. This will be history in the making and those of you who are willing and able can be a part of it for free.
The Forum does not accept governmental or corporate sponsorship and is donation and volunteer-based. This means we REALLY need VOLUNTEERS! To sweeten the deal, if you commit to 4 four-hour volunteer sessions, which you can serve anytime between now and Sunday July 1, organizers will waive your registration fee for the Forum. They're also dangling the status of Super Volunteer in front of us, which means you commit to at least 6 four-hour volunteer shifts. Do that and organizers will be so over the moon about you there's no telling what you'll go home with! You can sign-up online at the Volunteer Information Page.
Most exciting to me is the fact that amongst the over 1,000 workshops to participate in are several regarding the Middle East, Islam and environmentalism, even a workshop on LGBTQ Muslims. Not to mention the Arab Movement Building, Arab-American Racism & Islamophobia, Multi-racial Organizing for Justice in the M.E., Hydropolitics of Palestine & Israel, and a lot of useful trainings from direct actions to grassroots media to nonviolent communication. I would love to help spur a good turn out amongst you progressive, social change/justice-minded folks out there. The motto of the Forum is "Another World is Possible. Another U.S. is Necessary." Let's be that change.
If you can attend, great. If you can join me in volunteering, even better. At the very least, please help spread the word. For those of you on a budget, several local groups are providing alternative sleeping arrangements. The co-housing community near me is partnering to organize camping in a lovely land trust.
I'll be blogging it, but I really hope to see you there.