June 7, 2014, 9:00 AM
Home of Gail and Peter Mott
Present: Michael Argaman, Jim Bearden, Paola Betchart, Burt Betchart, Cassie Bocanegra, Sindy Hernandez, Bob Kaiser, Pacho Lane, Max and Henrietta Levine, Grania Marcus, Arnie Matlin, Gail Mott, Peter Mott.
Facilitator: Denise Young, Public Employees Federation; Denise read a poem by Roque Dalton
Denise: Theme: how to do stewardship of ROCLA so we have a viable and vibrant organization and move a collective movement.
Analysis used: Strengths/Weaknesses (internal)
Don’t talk over each other
Don’t argue with each other
Limit comments to 1 minute (speak up/step back)
Turn off your phone
Successes of ROCLA:
- Helped start the national solidarity movement in regard to US Foreign Policy in Latin America–LASC; continues to meet monthly
- Interconnect Newsletter (Motts)
- Keeping programmatic presence of Latin America in the Rochester area
- Raising a lot of money;
- Helping on-the-ground groups and individuals financially
- Sending people to Central America
- Ongoing support of Cuba Friendshipment for 25 years confronting the US embargo and providing material aid
Strengths–what holds ROCLA up (internal)
- History, continuity, collective knowledge; commitment; informs action in the present.
- Mature structure: 200 members on mailing list (75 paying), fundraising ability; longevity.
- Programs: Visibility of Cuba Caravan and Rice & Beans; ROCLA presents information that’s not available elsewhere;
- Connection to Metro Justice and ties to other organizations
- Not much intra-organizational strife
- Organizational flexibility
- Have newsletter, website and Facebook page
- Failure to change US policy; insufficient action/advocacy work; lack of political campaign focus;
- Lack of diversity in steering committee: need to include young people and people of different ethnicities; weak participation; have not discussed how to diversify ROCLA; failure to connect to Latin American groups in Rochester.
- Weak social media utilization
- Keep doing the same thing –why are we doing ROCLA?
- 5. Lack of contact with Latin American organizations
- 6. Lack of long-term plan to pass information to a new generation
What is the future of the organization?
- Weak connections/support to Latin America diaspora issues
- Weak media presence.
- Invite local groups to come and present at ROCLA, e.g. make connection to Worker Justice Center.
- Outreach to colleges and universities; Puerto Rican festival/parade (raise visibility); relationships with faculty and Spanish language teachers; schools, etc.
- Issue press releases and statements on Latin American issues, ongoing US interventions.
- Promote /facilitate exchange visits in Latin America
- Promote cultural work: Hispanic Heritage month–tables at MAG; connect with Latin American musicians, organize Latino film festival; participate in Fringe Festival,
- Identify/make alliances with potential coalition allies/partners
- Tabling at Rochester festivals;
- Aging out of leadership
- Wider political disempowerment and general political apathy; neo-liberal ideology US trade policy (TPP); continuing neocon power.
- Not a lot of mainstream press; lack of public interest in Latin America; stereotypes about Latin Americans; lack of mass media access.
- Grania will do minutes then send to SC and folks who attended the meeting first; get comments.
- Put final comments in newsletter and website and Facebook; send to membership.
- Paola offered to make map of local organizations;
Next meeting: July 2, 2014, 5 PM, Motts, 288 Melrose Street.
June 20, 2014