NORTHAMPTON, MA: Move to Amend New England! Regional Convergence

Friday, September 28, 2012 - 6:00pm to Sunday, September 30, 2012 - 12:00pm
First Churches of Northampton
129 Main Street
01060 Northampton , MA

Move to Amend is holding seven regional gatherings across the United States in 2012. These events will bring you together with Move to Amend activists and supporters from throughout your region of the country. Let’s amplify and multiply the power of all that great local organizing by building deeper organizational connections. Let's kick it up a notch!


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Northampton is a small bustling town and street parking can be difficult to find. Here is a map with city lot information (PDF). The red stars are different venues we will be using over the course of the weekend. To see what sessions are where, please look on the agenda below.

Convergence Agenda

Session 1: Friday, September 28, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (Laying the Foundation)

*The State of the Global & US Democracy Movement 
This session will lay the groundwork for our weekend together. We’ll address the state of our movement(s) on a national and global scale and discuss the political climate for systemic social change in the United States.

Session Speakers:

  • Sut Jhally: Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts and founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation (MEF),which produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media. 
  • Jane Winn: Executive Director of the Berkshires Environmental Action Team (BEAT). BEAT works to protect the environment of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts. BEAT is a watchdog stopping pollution, protecting habitat, and ensuring laws are followed and enforced.
  • Jesse Ledermann: Arise for Social Justice, a low-income rights organization that helps people to stand up for their rights and works to change the conditions that make folks poor in the first place. Jesse is a Senior at the Springfield Renaissance High School, and was a leading organizer in the fight against biomass incineration in Springfield.  He has coordinated campaigns for City Council, District Attorney, and the State Senate.
  • George Friday: National Field Organizer for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Coordinator for the Independent Progressive Politics Network. She co-chairs the Green Party US Black and Women’s caucuses and the North Carolina Green Party. George has served on several boards and Steering Committees including the Institute for Southern Studies, FairVote, the Grassroots Policy Project, American Friends Service Committee, United for Peace and Justice, the US Social Forum National Planning Committee, and the Move to Amend National Executive Committee.

Saturday, September 29, 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM (Opening & Welcome)

Session 2: Saturday, September 29, 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (Organizing Skills Focus)

*Getting Involved with Move to Amend (Starting a MTA Group) 
Introductory level. We’ll cover how to get started working with the Move to Amend campaign including forming a group, beginning public outreach and growing your capacity. You’ll hear from Move to Amend organizers who are leading successful local groups in the region who will share best practices and strategies that have worked in their communities.

*Running a Move to Amend Community Campaign 
Advanced level. You’ll hear from experienced grassroots organizers who have run political campaigns at the local level. We’ll discuss MTA’s 2012 Resolve to Amend campaign and how your community can get started running a resolution effort that maximizes public engagement and capacity building potential.

Session 3: Saturday, September 29, 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM (Strategy)

*Engaging Your Community on Corporate Constitutional Rights & the MTA Campaign 
Introductory level. We’ll cover how to engage and educate individuals and organizations in your community about the campaign to amend the Constitution. You’ll learn best practices and talking points for reaching out to diverse constituents in your community and increase your comfort level talking about Corporate Personhood and explaining how it impacts communities and individuals.

*Imagining a New Democratic Framework for Corporations & Artificial Entities 
Advanced level. We’ll cover how the Move to Amend amendment will effect corporations, unions, non-profits and other organizations. You’ll learn the ramifications of the amendment and how the US legal and political system will adjust once corporations and other artificial entities cannot claim rights under the Constitution.

Lunch Break (1:30 PM – 3:00 PM)

NOTE: A longer lunch break has been incorporated to allow time for participants to attend the celebration of the life of Ward Morehouse, co-founder of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD). POCLAD is a founding partner of the Move to Amend Coalition. More information about Ward and his many life accomplishments can be found here.

Reveille From a Radical: Songs, Stories and Food in Celebration of Ward Morehouse’s Life and Mission

Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1:30pm Northampton Friends Meeting , 43 Center Street, Second Floor, Northampton, MA.

Bring  stories of Ward. Please RSVP to Carolyn at 413 584 0722 or ctollopp [at] so we have an idea in advance of how much food we need and how many people will want to speak. However, in true Quaker style, people may share as the spirit moves them.

Session 4: Saturday, September 29, 3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Strategy & Organizing Skills)

*Building a Multi-Racial Democracy Movement for Social Justice & Constitutional Renewal
This session will address why the emphasis of our movement(s) must be on confronting racism and other oppressions in order to win real democracy. The means are the ends in our struggles for social justice, and this session will provide a framework for why an anti-racism orientation is critical for our movement and how to instill that ethic and commitment within ourselves and our organizations. We will cover theory and practice.

Social Mixer: Saturday, September 29, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM (Fun!)

Pizzeria Paradiso (Brick Oven Pizza and Italian Food)
12 Crafts Ave, Northampton, MA 01060

Join us for a relaxed evening with your new and old Move to Amend friends. If you want to eat dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso, the food is great. Or stop by for a drink after you dine elsewhere. No set program, just hanging out and having fun and deepening our relationships. Building community is a key piece of the social change puzzle!

Session 5: Sunday, September 30, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Capacity Building/Infrastructure) -- Northampton Center for the Arts (17 New South Street, Northampton)

*Building Capacity for the Work to Come: Strategy Discussion for MTA Organizers
We’ll brainstorm and discuss tools and infrastructure needs to better aid MTA organizers in the Northeast region. We’ll cover networking and capacity building infrastructure needs as well as steps toward Move to Amend organizing at the state level in the region.

* * * Additional Session! Sunday, September 30, 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM -- Media Education Foundation, Frances Crowe Community Meeting Room, (60 Masonic St, Northampton)

*Screening of the Film "American Autumn: The OccuDoc" with special guest, Director/Producer Dennis Trainor, Jr.

Synopsis: What would a world look like that had a culture and an economic system that places human need above corporate greed, and how do we bring that world into being? Who cares what it is called! Call it Socialism, Call it Real Democracy Now, and Call it Chunky-Monkey-Cherry Garcia. The world needs to change radically, it needs to change dramatically, and it needs to change fast. 

Shot on the front lines from the earliest days of the Occupy movement in New York City, Boston and Washington, DC, American Autumn: An Occudoc is an invitation for you to participate in that positive change. With interviews from key organizers, thinkers and activists including Naomi Klein, David Cobb, Medea Benjamin, George Friday, David Degraw, Dr. Margaret Flowers, Lee Camp, Nathan Schneider, Ashley Sanders, Vlad Teichberg, Sgt. Shamar Thomas, Dr. Cornel West, Kevin Zeese and many more, writer/ director Dennis Trainor, Jr. delivers a fast-paced, fact-filled and fearless provocation to all Americans to Occupy!

Check out the trailer and join us for this screening after the Convergence workshop/strategy sessions:

Convergence Sponsors and Partners

Occupy Berkshires

Democracy Amendment Coalition of Massachusetts – Western MA