Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Meeting Notes from Virginia Beach Organizing Meeting at Scrambled VA - 9/9/2015

This meeting was put together by Elizabeth B. at Scrambled VA, a pro-Bernie restaurant in Virginia Beach on Atlantic Avenue at the Oceanfront.  It was set to begin at 6:30 PM, but didn’t fully get into the swing of things until about 7 PM to allow people time to order food and eat dinner if they were so inclined.

Elizabeth began the meeting by allowing each of us to introduce ourselves and say a little bit about how we came to learn about Bernie Sanders.  Afterwards, she explained that this meeting will become a weekly event in order to grow an activist base within Virginia Beach communities.  These meetings will be every Thursday at 6:30 PM at Scrambled VA unless otherwise noted.  Meetings may occur a couple times a week as well depending on interest.

Elizabeth then mentioned an article she wrote for, a progressive news and opinion online magazine, detailing more about Bernie Sanders’s background.  Elizabeth is from Burlington and has been involved in some capacity with Bernie’s many campaigns since the 80s.  The article can be found here:

From that point, we moved into discussing generating campaign literature and materials as a group instead of each individually on our own.  We should start getting in touch with any printing services we know of, especially pro-Bernie ones, that will be able to help print group-specific flyers, rack cards, brochures, etc. that we can hand out at flyering events to be designed by group members.  We also brought up getting group-specific t-shirts and other swag to be able to give away and/or sell at events held in the future.

Harrison H. did discuss a little bit about funding regulations and how to go about getting donations in order to fund the materials needed to campaign, and they are still working on ironing out the details there to make sure everything is done correctly without coming back to haunt Bernie.

Elizabeth also passed out forms for those in attendance to fill out indicating any past campaign experience or skills in things like leading, organizing, graphic design, photography, etc., and from there they will be compiling that information and contacting people to begin using their strengths.  She also suggested creating your own personal “digital Bernie campaign kit” with things like websites, videos, links, etc. to be able to show to people on the fence about Bernie or people who want to know more about his campaign.

We also discussed collaboration among all of the Bernie Sanders groups in our area and possibly consolidating Virginia Beach into one larger group.  We also brought up a local council meeting with leaders from each of the groups to get together and meet face-to-face to discuss our groups’ needs and activities, and I will continue working on organizing that.

It was also said that we need to put out feelers to find local businesses supportive of Bernie Sanders and utilize them in whatever way we can, whether by using their space for events, purchasing products for them, or just in general patronizing their businesses.

Towards the end of the meeting, Elizabeth brought up supporting Dave Belote, a local candidate running for State Senate for District 8.  He does share similar views to Bernie, but she mentioned that this would be a great way for us as a group to get first-hand experience canvassing and campaigning for an individual so we have at least some experience when we start pushing hard for Bernie here soon.

At the end of the meeting, I was able to get up and say a few words about South Hampton Roads for Bernie and some of our upcoming events, including the Bernie Booth at the Old Beach Farmer’s Market at the Oceanfront on Saturday the 12th, the September 19th event at Mt. Trashmore, and the debate viewing party at CP Shuckers on October 13th.  I also plugged the Virginia Slack channel.

I didn’t have the time to get into the petitions since it can be a bit time consuming, but I will be returning next week and actually doing petition training with the incredibly helpful PowerPoint presentation we’ve used before (found here).  I'll also go over the Race to 400 and make sure everyone knows who the District Leaders are for petitions.  I was able to get almost one sheet of District 2 signatures, but I suspect I will be getting many more next week and then in the weeks to come.

With that, we ended the meeting and set the next meeting’s time to be Thursday, September 17th starting at 6:30 PM, again, at Scrambled VA.  Everyone who can make it is welcome to come!

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