The leaders of a few of the Bernie groups in the South Hampton Roads area met for a local council meeting on October 5, 2015 in Norfolk, VA. The meeting began at approximately 6PM. Erica L., Mary Lou B., Jennifer L, and Elizabeth B. were in attendance.
We began with introductions. Elizabeth B. said some words about herself and her group, Virginia Beach for Bernie Sanders, President 2016 and Mary Lou talked about South Hampton Roads for Bernie. Elizabeth and Mary Lou both shared their next group meetings -- this Thursday, October 8th at 6:30 PM at Scrambled VB in Virginia Beach, and Monday, October 19th at 6PM at Cutting Edge Cafe in Chesapeake.
We also discussed what we plan to do as far as events and organization for our groups. At least one debate watch party has already been planned in Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront at CP Shucker’s. The VB group also plans to tackle Virginia Beach by dividing it up into its different socioeconomic areas and deciding where to canvass and flyer from there. The VB group is also working on getting permission from various grocery stores in low-income areas to flyer outside of them. The VB group will be designing and printing flyers for use by group members at these events.
Mary Lou then touched base on some of the information in the Get Out the Vote Training, but we will mainly be focusing on that in the future. It’s more for a campaign in its later stages, and since we are still in our beginnings with forming our groups and finding our volunteers, we’ll take advantage of that training and their strategies down the road.
Jennifer then brought up that we should be working in tandem with the Sierra Club and any events/meetings they have. She said that their members are very progressive and are great Bernie supporters, so we should be utilizing them in our grassroots efforts across our groups.
It was at this point that Elizabeth brought up a merger between the two Virginia Beach groups in order to strengthen VB’s Bernie outreach. Jennifer was very open to the idea and they will both be continuing discussions to accomplish that goal.
Elizabeth suggested that a good way to keep our groups connected is to crosspost any event or meeting each group has across all of the social media pages each group utilizes, so essentially advertising for our local groups across all of our mediums. For South Hampton Roads, Facebook is the primary medium, and for Virginia Beach, Facebook is in the process of becoming the primary medium.
We then moved on to discussing pro-Bernie businesses in our area. Some names that came up were the Cutting Edge Cafe in Chesapeake, Scrambled VB in Virginia Beach, Croc’s in Virginia Beach, EcoManiac in Virginia Beach, the Old Beach Green Market in Virginia Beach, and possibly Cutlass Grille in Chesapeake. We all agreed to actively search out these kinds of businesses in our areas and do what we could to support them. Erica also mentioned EconomyPrinting.us, a union print shop in Portsmouth we should consider utilizing as groups.
We then ended the meeting on a few thoughts and questions. Will Bernie’s campaign or another source allow us access to voter registration records? If we can find out who voted in the 2008 primary, we can focus on them to campaign for Bernie. We also need to find community leaders in lower socioeconomic areas and encourage them to join up with our grassroots efforts.
And with that, we ended our first leadership council meeting for the South Hampton Roads area at approximately 7 PM. The next meeting time was not determined, but it is possible we will hold one again in the near future.