URBAN DEMOCRACY FEAST, KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN
POST OFFICE BOX NO. 2523, KALAMAZOO 49003~PHONE 269-388-3809
The Urban Democracy Feast: Supporting Local Social Justice Projects Saturday, 25 March 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
Since 2015, a group of community organizations have started a face-to-face crowd funding process. This process occurs over a meal so we can exchange information about shared problems, common obstacles and ways to overcome them. So far we have had three events, in May 2015, December of 2015, and November 2016 where we have raised more than $3000.00 to support social justice projects demonstrating direct democracy and accountability. We define social justice as equal access to all the resources and services. More information about the FEAST and the awardees can be found on our web page, http://www.urbandemocracyfeast.org/
The goal of the organizers is to generate funds that kick start projects that might otherwise not get funded, or help them make a qualitative leap in their work. Such projects submit an application, and four applicants are selected to make a five-minute presentation at the supper. Their presentations will exhibit evidence that they are addressing a shared need, with the support of other groups in the neighborhood, and that the project demonstrates direct democracy.
The next FEAST will be held 25 March 2017 at the 1st Congregational Church located at 345 W. Michigan Avenue (Bronson Park). Childcare for toddlers and pre-school children will be available in separate rooms. Tickets are available at the door or at the FEAST website, http://www.urbandemocracyfeast.org/, and with the ticket, each attendee will be given a voting ballot. On Saturday, 25 March the doors will open at 4:00 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. the event begins with an explanation of the FEAST process, followed by announcements from those organization donating the soups-salads-bread [about a social justice project or event they support, and to explain the food] before five-minute presentations by each social justice project applicant. While the attendees get a food plate, those waiting can post suggestions for the projects on a white board, sign up to bring a dish for the next FEAST, ask questions of the applicants before voting, and participate in a silent auction. The silent auction is used to raise funds for operational costs. The date and place of the next FEAST will then be announced together with the voting results. Projects are awarded based on the percentage of votes received. Applicants that are not awarded can apply again.
Future Urban Democracy Feast Events
We anticipate that the Urban Democracy Feast events will occur twice per year, in the fall and then again in the winter/spring. For future FEAST events, applications in English and Spanish are available at the FEAST website (www.urbandemocracyfeast.org), and hard copy versions are available at the Arcus Social Justice Center, Bilal Mosque, Eastside Neighborhood Association, Eastwood Library Branch, the Hispanic American Council, Kalamazoo Peace Center, People’s Food Co-op, Powell Street Library Branch, Vine Neighborhood Association, and the Washington Square Library Branch. Completed applications need to be returned to the same place where they were acquired by 13 February 2017.
We welcome projects identifying the public policies that prevent social justice and direct democracy, and that also propose replacement policies, which can be implemented here. Some examples of projects we look forward to considering, include: child care services for single parents who work the second and third shift; urban farms that sell to local restaurants; worker owned co-operatives; independent community media; and/or scholarship requests to study abroad and return to implement the research results in Kalamazoo (see http://www.urbandemocracyfeast.org/social-justice-community-projects-sought-for-funding/ )