Vision for the Los Angeles Better Angels Alliance

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The Los Angeles Better Angels Alliance has just completed our second Red-Blue workshop. Between the two workshops, we’ve had about 20 people participate and probably about 10 more observe.

These feel like heady times—coming out of this workshop it seems like everyone is really enjoying the experience and feeling as though they are participating in something meaningful, engaging and radically different from their experience of politics in the rest of their lives.

The overwhelming question—from our participants, from ourselves—is what next? How do we build on this tremendous momentum from the workshops?

We’ve spent some time thinking about it and here’s what our Vision is for how to grow our Alliance moving forward.  We welcome your thoughts:

  • Two Different Workstreams
    • Basic though it may seem, we found it helpful to conceptual divide the activities we envision our Alliance pursuing into 2 distinct tracks or workstreams. The first is the set of activities required to source and bring into the fold new BA members, the second is the set of activities for engaging active BA members.
      Again, no earth-shattering insights here, but we’ve found conceptually dividing these sets of activities in two provides clearer focus and better organization.  It’s also helped us organize our organizing: the Google Spreadsheet we use to track members is now divided into two tabs—one for active members, one for Better Angels “Prospects”
  • Workstream One – Bringing New Members Into the Fold
    • We think one core function of the Better Angels LA alliance should be to grow the movement. In our vision, you become an “Active Member” of a BA alliance by doing the following two simple steps:
      1. Participating in a Red Blue Workshop.
      2. Paying the $10 membership fee.
    • So the most obvious activities we envision for Workstream One are those that support these two activities – training moderators and organizers, finding spaces to host the Red Blue workshops and of course running the workshops themselves.
    • The other key activities in Workstream One are that lead to new prospects attending the Red Blue Workshop (which is the gateway to becoming an active member). These kinds of activities could be anything—parties, happy hours (Open Call for some enterprising member to create questions for a Better Angels Trivia Night), watch parties or other social events to get people who might be receptive interested in BA.  In order to get bodies to these events, we envision leaning heavily on our members to bring people as well as an increasing BA online presence to get the word out.
  • Workstream Two – Engaging Existing Members
    • So then the question becomes, once we’ve “onboarded” new members, what activities are there for BA members to actually get involved and really build out the impact of our organization.
    • Candidly we (and perhaps the national organization) might not have this one completely figured out yet. To help answer that, we’re about to disseminate a survey, to get ideas for the kinds of activities that A) Our members themselves are interested in pursuing as part of Better Angels and B) That our members think Better Angels as a group should be pursuing (regardless of whether or not they themselves want to participate). We can share the results of that survey once it’s complete, but these would be the kinds of events discussed by the national organization such as hosting debates, working to come up with legislative compromises to key national issues or applying the collaborative BA framework to local issues.

We don’t claim to have all the answers or process questions.  But we are excited to see where this all goes from here and welcome any/all thoughts and comments on our process.

-Dan Selz
Los Angeles Alliance, Better Angels

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