Community members and college students sat together at tables on Sunday, Feb. 12 for a huddle, raising their concerns for the future and thinking of practical solutions.
The huddle was organized by Joelle Friesen and Morgan Short, both seniors, and was an action following the Women’s March on Washington D.C. and the sister marches that happened in January.
“The huddle was inspired by and based off of the second action proposed by the Women’s March Movement for their ‘10 Actions in 100 Days’ campaign,” said Friesen. “We saw the huddle as a way to build further connections and provide a more cohesive structure for activism in the community.”
The huddle had two main goals in mind.
“One was to bring about a sense of community and to begin developing a support network,” said Short. “The second was to organize ourselves in a more cohesive manner for future action.”
Ideas for future change were brought up at table groups before being shared with the larger group.
Five groups were then created to focus on different topics like safer schools, creating inclusive community social events and organizing town hall meetings, among other things. Participants at the huddle were encouraged to commit to at least one group.
So far, each group has come up with plans to meet following the huddle. There is an organizing committee that will arrange to put everyone who attended the huddle in contact via email so participants can stay in touch and engage in different actions.
“I think that a desire to connect with like-minded people and find ways to be a part of positive change inspired people to participate,” said Friesen, “even though [for some] it meant stepping out of their comfort zone.”
Maddie Delp, a senior, first experienced being a part of a large organized movement when she attended the women’s march in Madison.
“It was a huge encouragement to see so many people come out because they care about lifting up voices,” said Delp. “I went to the huddle because I want to keep putting myself in these settings where healthy, intentional dialogue is happening.”
Delp plans on being a part of the “student safety action group” with about 25 other participants who were at the huddle. When they first got together, the group voiced many concerns as well as potential ways to get involved. The group hopes to work with school administrators to emphasize how current immigration legislation affects students.
“We hope to raise awareness of students’ rights,” Delp said, “and work to pave a smooth path for the next generation of community leaders.”
For Friesen, the huddle was a way to stay hopeful.
“I think each person left with a renewed sense of hope in the feasibility of creating a more just community and world,” said Friesen, “and a stronger sense of their role in making these dreams a reality.”
Short hopes that the people who attended the huddle will stay in contact through email.
“We will see what innovative ideas [groups] come up with!” said Short, “We are hoping this meeting inspired others to lead in whatever way they feel comfortable in the coming months and years.”