Roslyn Brown, Pine Lawn, talks to guests at about how MORE has supported her leadership growth.
Last Thursday's New Year, New Power Membership Party was a hit. Food, friends, and campaign 1-pagers filled the room at Visitation Church on North Taylor Ave between MLK Drive and Page Blvd. For St. Louis residents interested in becoming members, it was an opportunity to get a sense for what MORE campaigns are in the works. Four tables, one for each campaign (Solidarity Economy, Fed Up, Climate Justice, and DecarcerateSTL) under our overarching Power Behind The Police framework, were set up with flyers, zines and other informational materials so that members could browse around. One guest who had been active in the Solidarity Economy noted his appreciation for the campaign tables, mentioning he hadn’t yet branched out of Solidarity Economy work and appreciated the opportunity to do so. Another guest picked up flyers to pass onto their roommate. It was a warm welcome to see familiar faces and catch up with members.
Starting off the program, Nabeehah introduced staff and board members to the crowd. Both Stanley McCoy and Roslyn Brown talked about what MORE membership has meant to them. Roslyn whose active in Pine Lawn organizing noted, ”MORE is not looking to gather followers. We are building up leaders, so that together we can continue to organize our communities.”
Next, Nabeehah presented each of them with their MORE membership cards. She explained that MEMBERSHIP CARDS, which we are rolling out in 2016 as an offering of appreciation towards our member base, are one of the new aspects of our membership program. (If you are already a member and would like your membership card mailed to you, please contact us. We are happy send it your way.)
New MORE membership cards
In addition to membership cards, all MORE members now receive COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS TO THE COWRY COLLECTIVE TIMEBANK. The Cowry Collective is a St. Louis network engaged in a reciprocal exchange of services where the unit of currency is an individual’s hour of time. By attending actions, hosting meetings, and participating in activities like phone-banking, members earn cowries, which they can then use to meet their needs in a non-monetized way. To redeem membership in The Cowry Collective, members should attend an upcoming Timebanking 101 orientation (sessions are held every month) and present their MORE membership card.
Our membership continues to be structured to facilitate RADICAL BASE BUILDING in order to actively engage people directly impacted in fighting for change. MORE holds membership in many national and local movement groups, which allows us to connect our members with organizers, training, and programming across the country. MORE members commit to mobilizing their spheres of influence in order to strengthen our local network.
Part of this process is SKILL BUILDING. Through workshops, actions and regular meetings, our members teach one another key organizing skills in order to build people power. In the past, we have offered our members trainings in meeting facilitation, media coordination, direct-actions, campaign messaging, art-builds, and more.
These changes to membership are a long time coming. Discussions have been happening for awhile about how to restructure membership in order to stay true to our values of building grassroots leadership. In addition to member support, MORE continues to be funded through a variety of grants. We believe it is important to fundraise in the community because grassroots fundraising keeps us accountable to members and increases our members’ stake in contributing to the work. To become a MORE member, we ask for a minimum donation of $10/month payable through a monthly bank draft or a one time donation.
While monetary support is always appreciated, we also know that we need to build in non-monetized options for those who cannot pay into our membership program. Your time spent attending meetings, campaigns, and actions is invaluable to our work, and we will work with anyone regardless of income to ensure that they have a voice in directing MORE’s work.
If you were not able to make it to last Thursday’s meeting, we are planning to host membership parties quarterly, so plan on joining us in a few months. Our next member party will be held on Thursday, April 14th, so save the date now! If you're interested in signing up online, you can find the sign-up form here. Or better yet, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will set up a time to meet and talk about membership. You can also join us at any of our upcoming events and meetings in February--check out the calendar below.
The night ended with music and lively conversation. Thanks to everyone who joined us, and a warm welcome to our new members!