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)

Opportunities/Threats (external)

Ground rules:

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)

  1. History, continuity, collective knowledge; commitment; informs action in the present.
  2. Mature structure: 200 members on mailing list (75 paying), fundraising ability; longevity.
  3. Programs: Visibility of Cuba Caravan and Rice & Beans; ROCLA presents information that’s not available elsewhere;
  4. Connection to Metro Justice and ties to other organizations
  5. Not much intra-organizational strife
  6. Organizational flexibility
  7. Have newsletter, website and Facebook page

Weaknesses (internal

  1.    Failure to change US policy; insufficient action/advocacy work; lack of political campaign focus;
  2. 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.
  3. Weak social media utilization
  4. Keep doing the same thing –why are we doing ROCLA?
  5. 5. Lack of contact with Latin American organizations
  6. 6. Lack of long-term plan to pass information to a new generation

What is the future of the organization?

  1. Weak connections/support to Latin America diaspora issues
  2. Weak media presence.

Opportunities (external)

  1. Invite local groups to come and present at ROCLA, e.g. make connection to Worker Justice Center.
  2. Outreach to colleges and universities; Puerto Rican festival/parade (raise visibility); relationships with faculty and Spanish language teachers; schools, etc.
  3. Issue press releases and statements on Latin American issues, ongoing US interventions.
  4. Promote /facilitate exchange visits in Latin America
  5. Promote cultural work: Hispanic Heritage month–tables at MAG; connect with Latin American musicians, organize Latino film festival; participate in Fringe Festival,
  6. Identify/make alliances with potential coalition allies/partners
  7. Tabling at Rochester festivals;

Threats: (external)

  1. Aging out of leadership
  2. Wider political disempowerment and general political apathy; neo-liberal ideology US trade policy (TPP); continuing neocon power.
  3. Not a lot of mainstream press; lack of public interest in Latin America; stereotypes about Latin Americans; lack of mass media access.

Going forward:

  1. Grania will do minutes then send to SC and folks who attended the meeting first; get comments.
  2. Put final comments in newsletter and website and Facebook; send to membership.
  3. Paola offered to make map of local organizations;

Next meeting: July 2, 2014, 5 PM, Motts, 288 Melrose Street.

Grania Marcus

June 20, 2014

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