Open Letter to the Grassroots — of, for, and by us all!

Sandra Crosnoe - Finding Gems & Sharing Them

Factoid #1: You are organizing local events and working very hard, but want a consolidated site for listing events and ways to be connected to others doing similar things.  Some groups are trying to take credit for what you are doing, have their own agendas, are attempting to raise money from these efforts, and building databases of contact information.

Solution #1: A site that is run by the grassroots for the grassroots that doesn’t try to solicit for or capture the general publics’ contact information, doesn’t appeal for fund donations for no clearly stated purpose, and whose agenda is transparent.

grassrootsvsastroturf2-300x112We decided, with all of that in mind, to create Tea Party Grassroots.  Because we started from scratch, we decided to strive for a listing venue that would be useful to activists for many kinds of events and activities.  So in addition to a section for All Events, we have added the following categories:

•    Tea Party
•    Other Rallies & Protests
•    Conferences & Conventions
•    Media Events
•    Volunteer Activities
•    Liberty Rider Itinerary

Next we will be exploring creating listings by states.  As time allows, we are featuring individual events as a top post on the site.  Featured events are automatically propagated through a number of channels including automatic feeds on Twitter and Facebook.

We have employed a number of tools on the site that offer extendable functionality; Google Calendar and Maps.  Full calendars (by category or All Events) can be copied over to people’s personal calendars using the iCal (.ics) technology and map links are embedded. When events are listed, we copy the information over to the map and use a specific pin for each category. The map is located here.  Like the Calendar, the map can be copied over to a visitors’ own Google map.

In addition to the features noted above, we have a growing group on Facebook, which will be updated regularly and “bigger” events listed. For example, for July 4, a “national” Independence Tea Party Event has been created.   We will list links to individual location events for that date from the primary listing site (to prevent exclusion of multiple events on same date from occurring).

In addition to the event listings, we are providing some helpful information and resources to site visitors such as signs and slogan ideas, suggestions for getting involved, and founding documents.

Factoid #2: People are looking for ways to connect with others of like mind and work on projects together.

Solution #2: Those of us who have been putting these events on and bringing people together in our local areas to have an impact on swiftly moving events have many good ideas which we can share with one another. We all need input from others, and we all need support from those who have “been there” in dealing with the many issues that arise. We need to be able to communicate with one another, so we have also created a site for organizers and activists:  Tea Party Grassroots Organizers

This is the place where the listing form for submitting events is located, along with a form to offer to volunteer to help us with this project, and a form to submit a blog post.  We are adding resources on a daily basis to assist organizers and activists in their efforts.

We created a blog site, Tea Blogs: Tea Party Tales, specifically for organizers to share their stories and thoughts about the movement. A blog post submission form is available on the Organizers site.

In addition to the site and blog, we created a Twitter ID and Hashtag for Tea Party Organizers, TPOrg #tporg.  This is one id that has posts from the Tea Party Grassroots and Organizers sites automatically fed.  We encourage organizers to use the hashtag in communications with one another, and many have already begun to do so.

If used widely, this tag could enable very fast communications among a large number of people. Not only could we all retweet events and other important information for one another, but, we could also provide quick support when help is needed.

Finally, there is further work to be done in providing the kind of communicative ability for organizers and activists we are striving for. We do have a forum, which is currently turned to private.  We are currently looking at options, however, to be installed on the Organizers site, to keep communications all in one place. If you would like to help with this part of the project, let us know.

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Now you might ask who is the ‘we’ in this piece.  Most of the site development was done by Shelli Dawdy, Joan Fabiano, and Sandra Crosnoe. In a broader sense, many of the Constitutional Liberty Coalition had input and provided testing and insight all along the way.  Thanks to each and everyone who helped and continues to provide guidance and share with grassroots folks everywhere.

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