The inspiration behind the model that we call Community Audits came from the desire of complementing Resistance with efforts advocating Resilience — combating Injustice while supporting sources of Hope in our community. The term community audit has been used by the US Department of Labor and is implemented by collecting data about the workforce and then published to create systemic change for the business community. We all recognize that their metrics are biased and are not working to create the systemic, people-powered change we want to see.
Communities of Resilient Resistance (CoRR) Community Audits can be extremely powerful, as they become a catalyst for de-growth and regeneration. We’re speaking truth to power, refusing to adhere to “business as usual”, while at the same time (actively) creating the vision for the just and healthy world we want to see.
The premise is to audit 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). Then, four times a year we will “enact” or “publish” our findings through public and visible actions — beginning this coming week of April 23rd.
This quarter’s audit began at our March general meeting, which brought together environmental, labor, social, economic and immigrant rights activists. The conversations and brainstorms that ensued revealed a desire in the community to halt and eliminate Tar Sands extraction (Hot Spot), and to catalyze systems of equitable rights and education as allies for the Salt Lake Dream Team and for 12 million undocumented immigrants living in this country (Cool Spot).
* Though these issues may seem unrelated at first glance, we invite you to connect the dots with us. *
The prolonged economic unraveling we are experiencing is a symptom of our society’s insistence on unlimited, unsustainable growth — or as we call it, “growth at all costs.” This addiction to economic expansion leads to unprecedented exploitation of limited resources — especially energy resources. As this economy consumes ever more energy day after day, the growth paradigm has us scraping the ‘bottom of the barrel’ trying to get energy from the lowest quality and most destructive of fossil fuels known: deep-water oil, oil shale, and tar sands.
To feed this US growth machine, neo-liberal economic policies have been systematically pushed onto poorer countries, extracting their resources and decimating what once were self-sufficient local economies. The result is to create “corporate refugees” who emigrate from their home countries (sometimes illegally) to survive. In these times of denial about the pitfalls of the growth paradigm, rather than tackling the root causes or re-evaluating our current system, we often retreat to our worst selves — scapegoating those who aren’t “like us.” These politically convenient “Others,” on whom the blame is cast, are often some of the most vulnerable communities — like the children of immigrants for whom the Salt Lake Dream is ensuring a just future.
Please join us for a 2 Day NVDA Training on April 21-22 followed by our first quarterly demonstrations of community audit. Our hot spot is part of a Tar Sands campaign that aims to halt tar sands extraction and our cool spot is in solidarity with the Salt Lake Dream team who are courageously working for Human Rights and equal access to higher education through the federal Dream ACT.