Shortly before we lost our beloved Lynn Allen to ovarian cancer three months ago, she entrusted us with the responsibility of carrying forward the political and civic causes she was so passionate about. One of those causes was bringing progressive activists together to organize and mobilize for change.
Not long after Lynn and I attended Camp Wellstone together in June of 2005, we started talking about organizing a conference for netroots and grassroots activists. As summer became autumn, and autumn became winter, we began actively working to pull together money and reserve facilities for what became the first NWroots Conference. It was an eye-opening experience for me, because I’d never planned something like it before. Lynn had, and her knowledge and discipline kept us on track as we firmed up all of the details.
Two more NWroots Conferences followed, in February 2007 and June 2008. After 2008, the conference went on hiatus due to the recession and our desire to concentrate our energy and resources on other projects. It was our hope that somebody else would pick up the mantle and bring NWroots back to life.
And fortunately, somebody has. Robert Sargent, who knows me well and knew Lynn well, has stepped forward to organize the fourth NWroots Conference for local writers, readers, activists, elected officials, and progressive candidates. Robert has formed the NWroots Fellowship to organize the event in cooperation with NPI.
NWroots 2011 will be happening on July 9th, 2011, in Pioneer Square. Registration is now open, and is only $50 for activists and $25 for students. Both rates include breakfast and lunch.
Most sessions will take place at Comedy Underground, which many NPI readers are undoubtedly familiar with. The event’s keynote speaker will be Ujjal Dosanjh, former Premier of British Columbia and former Canadian Health Minister, who will talk about the importance of universal healthcare.
Following his remarks, he’ll take questions from the audience.
In the afternoon, Seattle’s own representative to Congress, Jim McDermott, will address a general session of the conference.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the breakouts we have planned:
- Tony Ventrella is putting together a media panel to discuss what on earth happened to journalism.
- University of Washington graduate Alonso Chehade will talk about the Dream Act and his quest to gain the right to remain and work in the U.S.
- Recipe for America author Jill Richardson will host sessions on our messed up food system, and Monsanto’s worldwide influence on agriculture.
- Bev Harris, who has fought to end black box voting for years, will lead a session on the perils and inherent flaws with electronic voting.
- Karen Pooley is going to tackle the ongoing mortgage crisis.
Plus, there will be documentaries to screen, a candidates’ social, and an after-party.
Planning an event like this is no easy undertaking… we know from experience. That’s why we urge you to register today. If you cannot attend, but can afford a contribution of any amount, that would be greatly appreciated. Any money left over after expenses will be donated to NPI.
If you have any suggestions, or would like to make a presentation or lead a panel discussion, please contact Robert. The agenda is by no means finalized, and if you’d like to participate as a speaker, we’d love to have you.
Again, registration is just $50 ($25 for students). Register today and let us know that you’re coming to NWroots 2011!