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 first
Housing 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.”

• 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:
• 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 to
focus 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 and
Together 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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