Thursday, July 16, 2015

On the Road Thursday

Progressives Shaking and Moving: So What is Net Roots?

As a term, Netroots (Internet + grassroots) refers to populist campaigns and movements sparked, promoted and conducted over the Internet. But as a community, it can be a little harder to define.
The folks who make up the Netroots community (and attend Netroots Nation each year) are bloggers, newsmakers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers and online activists. In addition, candidates and elected officials, as well as thought leaders from the progressive movement attend every year conference reaches out to all 50 states and COP 24/7 was included in the LGBT Net Roots Connect which offers a pre-conference boot camp for activist and advocates from across the country.

During this intense work, COP24/7 suggested to my assigned working group that HIV Criminalization in lieu of the recent sentencing of Michael Johnson to 30 years in the Missouri case. It was agreed that this issue would be central to developing our campaign focus. Amazingly, I was totally surprised that of the 12 person group, 4 individuals identified as POZ, one white, 2 Black and one Mexican, who also shared that he was "undocumented." After a rigorous and robust discussion, it was hammered out a goal of increasing awareness about the lack of "awareness" to the issue.

Also we set out some micro strategies to achieve this via using current organizations, other ongoing campaign, access data sets and finally, central to the exercise, developing a hash tag, "HIV and FREE." The foundation of the hash tag was to express that those living with HIV should be "free" from stigma, persecution, or violence. During the final portion of the exercise, we launched the tag on to Twitter and Facebook. COP 24/7 was proud to be at the table to hasten the use of HIV criminalization and will be building out from our learning opportunity at LGBT Net Roots Connect. Watch for more on this issue and other challenges and barriers facing those living with HIV and AIDS in Arkansas. Remember to use the hash tag, #HIVandFREE

In 2014, Netroots Nation attendees came from 45 states and 7 countries, and 53% attended for the first time. Significantly, 53% of attendees and 61% of panelists/speakers were women. The majority of Netroots Nation attendees are under 45, but we have attendees of many ages.

In 2014, age breakdown was:
24 and under: 7.6%
25 to 35: 43.5%
36 to 45: 20.9%
46 to 55: 12.1%
56 and up: 15.9%
Gender breakdown:
Female: 52.6%
Male: 46.8%
Other: 0.7%
Ethnicity breakdown:
Caucasian: 70.1%
African American: 13.1%
Multi-ethnic/Other: 7%
Hispanic: 5.4%
Asian-Pacific Islander: 4.0%
Native American: 0.5%
We’re committed to making Netroots Nation as diverse and inclusive as possible. You can read more about our commitment and steps to get there here.
Our sponsors include more than 125 organizations ranging from small nonprofits to million-member organizations. Partners include progressive activist organizations, local nonprofits, labor unions, tech companies and more.

Think of the Netroots as a big political family. We may not agree on everything but common threads connect us—for example, we stand for an America where every person deserves a good job with fair wages and equal opportunity. Our tent may be broad but we all can agree that America has gone off the rails and it’s time to get back on track with policy that is fair and just for everyone.
“Lobbyists and special interests have a lot of influence in Washington, and families often lose out. If we’re going to rebuild the middle class and restore economic security for families, we’re going to need to develop a strong voice. That’s why Netroots is so important and why I really appreciate the chance to be part of it.” —Elizabeth Warren

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