Our Cool Spot for this summer’s Community Audit is Move to Amend Salt Lake! The premise of our Community Audits is to survey our community in order to identify HOT SPOTS: power structures we want to erode and eliminate, as well as COOL SPOTS: new systems that we want to innovate and catalyze.
Peaceful Uprising’s core principles include the values of nonviolent disobedience to injustice, connection to a greater community with the power to change the world, and the inherent dignity and worth of each person. Move to Amend’s values overlap and reflect these core values; they include transparency, community, movement building, and a “commitment to anti-oppression within ourselves, communities, work places, policies, and representation.” Both seek to build – from the ground up – a movement that not only confronts injustice but continues to build alternative structures to replace them.
The most visible part of our work with Move to Amend is definitely the beautiful bandwagon that was hand-built by a huge team of volunteers who gave time and materials. The bandwagon debuted at the Granary District Block Party in mid-June and has gone on to perform at several other locations. If you haven’t seen the amazing performance yet, check out the video here.
PeaceUp folks are also looking forward to supporting the second launch of Move to Amend’s campaign. The second launch will be held on Wednesday, August 1st from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Westminster College in the Tanner Atrium of the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts (campus map here). This launch will be the first of many ‘consultas’ or community meetings, where neighborhoods and communities get together to form their own democracies by identifying their needs and resources. Please come, and bring friends! There will also be a potluck dinner, so bring something to share (but don’t let the lack of a contribution keep you away!)
Move to Amend Salt Lake City’s first launch was this past February’s kick-off of signature gathering for their ballot initiative campaign. Move to Amend SLC is currently going through some unexpected and complicated hurdles regarding the ballot initiative for which they collected over 11,000 signatures in less than two months. The basic story (more details here) is that the city attorney has categorized the ballot initiative as a “resolution” rather than a law. This matters because under state law this type of resolution is only allowed on the ballot during off-year elections; when there is no presidential election or election of state legislators. And in spite of the fact that the City Council, Mayor Ralph Becker, and the city bureaucracy are pretty much fully supportive of the initiative, most of them feel that their hands are tied.
Instead of just giving up, Move to Amend is demonstrating resilient resistance by filing an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court to say that citizens have the right to get resolutions on the ballot – no matter what the election year! You can read the full argument here. The Supreme Court will hear an oral argument on Thursday, July 26th at 11 AM at the Matheson Courthouse between 400 & 500 South on State Street. Folks will begin gathering at 10:30 AM and the public is welcome to attend the hearing in the Supreme Court chamber. If the Court rules in favor of Move to Amend, MTA Salt Lake will prove instrumental in improving the health of our democracy locally.
Move to Amend isn’t just focused on ballot initiatives, though. MTA Salt Lake is currently working on a second launch to move toward the creation of community meetings where neighborhoods will self-direct meetings to find where their needs and resources lie. Over the course of the next few months, MTA (with collaboration from Peaceful Uprising) will be working to outreach to new communities and neighborhoods in the SLC area to pass on organizing skills to strengthen communities.
Through our work with Move to Amend, PeaceUp has expanded and strengthened our community. We’ve made new connections and built new friendships… and a street theater wagon, too. Most importantly, though, we’ve been able to understand more deeply the connections between corporate personhood and the climate crisis. As corporations deepen and widen their influence through organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (see alecwc.org or alecexposed.org), the importance of strong and resilient communities becomes more and more clear. PeaceUp supports Move to Amend because their values and actions seek to make this world, starting from our communities, more just and empowered. As the wonderful wagon street theater performers sing, “People are people, we love and we cry, we laugh when we’re tickled, get cold when we die! We’re born from a warm womb, we think, we’re alive! If you don’t have a heart, then you don’t qualify!”
Join us in supporting Move to Amend SLC as we continue to strengthen and build communities of resilient resistance.