We find ourselves in the midst of a social movement renaissance.
Across the country, people are coming together to demand change to a political order that’s been rigged against them. From immigrant Dreamers to Occupy Wall Street to the climate justice movement, from Black Lives Matter to movements for gender justice and sexual liberation, from the army of Bernie 2016 volunteers to the defiant disrupters of Donald Trump’s bigotry, the makings of a new broad and powerful progressive political force are all around us.
But if we are to win meaningful change, we need to build bigger and bring in more people. Toward that end, we launched Beyond the Choir as one piece in a larger political intervention. Our name captures the core of our mission: in order to build movements capable of winning real change, we need to do more than just “preach to the choir.”
Our work falls under three categories: partnerships, initiatives, and training.
We partner with social justice organizations to craft resonant messaging, plan strategic campaigns, develop leaders, and mobilize larger bases of support. Through our partnerships we have provided training, advising, and direct support to a range of movements and organizations. Past partners include #AllofUs, American Friends Service Committee, Beautiful Trouble, Chelsea Manning Support Network, Electronic Frontier Foundation, #IfNotNow, Iraq Veterans Against the War, MoveOn.org, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Our Homes, United for Peace & Justice, Rainforest Action Network, Veterans For Peace, Vets for Bernie, Working Families Party, and numerous local campaigns. Want to know more about our partnerships?
Our initiatives are programs that we run. This year we launched our first initiative, the (vet-led) Veterans Organizing Institute (VOI). We support veterans who are working for social change in a variety of progressive organizations and social movement contexts. With an emphasis on grassroots organizing, campaigning, and public narrative, we trained 63 veterans in our first year. Springing from this initiative, the #VetsVsHate campaign has garnered significant attention and sent a powerful message to politicians that veterans will not be silent as we are used as props for hate speech and warmongering. Our long-term goal is to build an organizing institute that provides in-depth skills training and ongoing support to emerging progressive veteran leaders, so that they can bring their unique perspective to American politics and shape the future. Want to know more about the Veterans Organizing Institute?
While our training work is integrated into our partnerships and initiatives, we also occasionally provide larger public trainings to groups and individuals. Our training workshops combine political analysis with practical on-the-ground organizing skills. Want to know more about our trainings?