We are an alliance of unions, congregations, environmental, education and frontline service organizations. We understand the incredible power of civic organizations when harnessed for the Common Good.  

Our member organizations are made up of pro-active, everyday people dedicated to working together to tackle some of the toughest issues in Greater Victoria.  

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    Summer Newsletter

    Newsletter Summer, 2019 We have a new organizer!Chet Phillips started with GVAT on Monday, July 15 and engaged with a “Connect the Dots” workshop and participated in his firstHousing ART meeting. Chet is doing a 5-day training in Los Angeles and will return to begin to get to know the wonderful individuals and organizations that make up GVAT. Chet is a recent arrival in Victoria after 22 years in southern Arizona, where his work focused on organizing and empowering student organizations to create positive institutional change. Prior to that he worked with grassroots organizations in southern Arizona on collaborative conservation planning and institutional relationship building. Chet originally moved to southern Arizona to be mentored by Jim Corbett, co-founder of the American Sanctuary Movement. In all his work, as with GVAT, he is guided by Jim’s saying that “An individual can resist injustice, but it takes a community to do justice.” WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON THIS MONTH?• Concerning membership: GVAT is a growing concern with new member organizations joining us all the time. This month Mustard Seed, next week ... who knows. As individuals your participation comes about through your membership in your organization. But if you are not an active participant in any organization and would still like to join us please contact: greatervictoriaactiongtogether@gvat.ca• We are still getting encouraging feedback from those who attended the 5-day Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Regional LeadershipTraining sessions held in Vancouver May 13 to 17th, 2019. “It was an amazing experience” said Matt Poirier, from the Camosun StudentSociety. “The week reminded me ... that the learning we’ve gained needs to be shared with the active members of our organizations, and that changing the cultures of our organizations can only happen if we are empowering our members...It was an experience I would recommend to anyone who has the desire and resources available to attend”. Thank you, Matt!•“Connecting the Dots” Sessions on intersectionality of issues.Sixty-five folks have already attended two sessions exploring the intersectionality of the topics and lenses that GVAT has chosen tofocus on in the coming months. Housing, along with mental health and addiction, are the first two main areas GVAT members will be researching and addressing, and these will be viewed through the lenses of climate change and indigenous reconciliation. Evidence suggests that these issues have much in common with one another. The two leading questions addressed at each session:In light of Naomi Klein’s insight that “Climate changes everything how then shall we “be”?In looking through a more historical lens what lessons and traditions can we draw on from our own organizations?Lots of new ideas were generated that will inform our efforts as we move ahead, and you have a chance to add yours - all are welcome.There is one more “Connect the Dots” session planned for Tuesday, July 30 at 6:30pm at the Church of St. John the Divine, 1611 Quadra Street. To register visit the Greater Victoria Acting Together web-site. The Action Research Teams (ARTs)Initial meetings of research teams have started to identify various organizations or individuals that have the specific knowlege we need access and gather. Groups of two or three persons will be going out into the community to talk with those identified in order to gain their perspectives on the chosen issues. Housing ART:At its July 15 meeting, the Housing ART reported on upcoming meetings with Pacifica Housing, numerous Mayors, Developers andTogether Against Poverty. Victoria’s new housing strategy was discussed and the group continued to brainstorm people and groups we want to interview. Homelessness was further discussed and some lively discussion on different forms of consensus decision-making. This team has many experienced people in areas of housing who are motivated to research broadly the possibilities for expanded affordable housing for all Mental Health and Addictions ART:The Mental Health and Addictions ART is off to a great start. Meetings are well-attended and participants have expertise, experience and passion. In our first meeting, we began engaging in relational discussions to build our team and develop our understanding of the topic.In our second meeting we started thinking about what groups, individuals, and experts we want to talk to as we formulate our action plan. We expect to begin holding action meetings by the end of the summer. We’re still early in the ART process but the team is firing on all cylinders and making real progress towards an actionable plan.
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    May Newsletter

    Newsletter May, 2019 LEADERSHIP VICTORIA IS LISTENING!Peggy Wilmot: A lifelong leader receives a 2019 Victoria Community Leadership Award. Peggy Wilmot, as many of you GVAT participants know, is an inspirational leader. She has spent the last 35 years of her life in this city enriching the lives of so many of us. She has worked tirelessly, and so successfully, to make our community a better place to live, and she has done so with grace, kindness and a gentle sense of humour. So this Victoria Community Leadership Award is well deserved. And we are so fortunate to count her as one of our GVAT colleagues. As a teacher and school principal, Peggy inspired young people in many classrooms. As a volunteer and activist, she has enriched her communities in so many ways: Project Connect, Together Against Poverty, Faith in Action, the Food Bank at St. John’s, Downtown Service Providers, and now, for the past three years, Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT). Peggy continues to “ ... go where there is no path and leave a trail” as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. She has faith in those around her and believes in a world where no one is left behind. The concepts that inspire us in GVAT run through her veins: collaboration, action, education, communication, empowerment, persistence, positivity, the common good. She is an inspiration to us all! Congratulations Peggy!www.leadershipvictoria.ca/past_winners www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-food-banks-a-band-aid-on-a-gaping-wound-1.1637099 canadianchristianity.com/bc/bccn/0109/i01homelessness.html WHAT’S GOING ON NOW AT GVAT? The Latest News. After the great excitement on the November 2018 Discernment Day, and then the sad day when Flossie Baker had to leave us, you might have been wondering why the voices of GVAT seem to have gone quiet. Not quite! Listen and you will hear - there is a constant rumbling in the background and it is not Whidbey. The GVAT Board and StratHub have been working hard over the past few months. Firstly, they have been busy with the search for a new “organizer”. There has been considerable interest in the position, so their task ofsorting through the applications to nd potential candidates with just the right t is not an easy one. We arenearly there - so watch this space. Secondly the Group have been diligently exploring throughout the community for potential member organizations that might join us. We now can count twenty-one organizations among our number and these represent 47,000 citizens all told. We are sure that numbers such as these will inspire others to join us. People power is just what we need! JOY, COURAGE, REWARDS, CONNECTIONS, ENERGY, OPPORTUNITY Nine representatives of GVAT attended the 5 day Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Regional Leadership Training sessions held in Vancouver May 13 to 17th, 2019. The goal of this training is to provide participants with a greater knowledge of the key concepts, and practices that are central to successful organization building at all levels. Most importantly they learn how to understand power; think and act strategically;  and how to engage in real conversations about the mission of our institution, while forming and maintaining collaborative relationships that ultimately lead to democratic action. These workshops are held regularly across the USA, but the opportunity to participate in them here in Canada is less frequent. We encourage our members to consider attending them when the opportunity arises. They certainly bene t each participant as an individual, as well as providing the essential skills for contributing to making our organization successful in any strategies and actions we undertake. Past participants have described the experience as life-enhancing! Listen to what this month’s attendees have to say. Patricia Sanders told us that her “experiences ... shared with 29 other learners from Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle, and Montana , inspired a desire to continue to support and work to strengthen (her) own organization” The most “rewarding experience ... was the joy of having time and energy to connect with the eight other participants from Victoria. Patricia returned with a “greater sense of courage to hold conversations with people I don’t know in the broader community” So this training comes highly recommended. And the participants would be very happy to offer to share their experiences with anyone who might be considering taking up this opportunity in the future. We hope to offer more experiences from participants in the next issue. GREATER VICTORIA RISING On May 23, 300+ energetic people attended a Town Hall in Victoria to develop a vision for a Green New Dealto tackle climate change and inequality together. Common themes emerged such as a green transportation strategy, indigenous rights, ending fossil fuel subsidies, food security and tackling social reforms. Well publicized and supported by a diversity of groups including several GVAT organizations, students and youth were dramatically noticeable in the leadership. Early in the event, two organizers delivered a stellar welcome as an inclusive strategy encompassing all who were present. A follow-up Green New Deal brainstorming meeting is planned for Wednesday, June 19, 6:30 pm at First Metropolitan United Church in Victoria. This event echoed several strategies used by GVAT and the timing couldn’t be better for GVAT to be holding two intersectionality luncheon and dessert meetings on June 7th. Both GVAT sessions are now fully subscribedby member groups who will gather to determine how to act together on housing and mental health through the lenses of Climate Change and Reconciliation. What do these topics have in common with each other? Can we make a new story out of their interconnectivity? How can we use this moment to strengthen our organizations and each other? Our intrepid team of reporters plans to cover these two GVAT gatherings and keep you informed.
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