March 10, 2001, Yale University

Conference: Grassroots use of the Internet

Rich Cowan of Organizer's Collaborative says about half the attendees were angled via the 'net, while the remainder were attracted by more olde-fashioned methods.

Gaye Williams

Wendy Seltzer

Seth Merritt -TechRocks

Abigail Caplovitz

About a hundred Community Activists, many of whom met through the internet, attended Organizer's Collaborative's second annual conference, where they discussed how best to use the internet, and other computer technologies, for grass roots empowerment. 

Preamble (or Skip to the program)

 My trip to Yale began as I filled out the Geo Prism's final seat in a hastily assembled carpool...

 Ben, the driver, had been concerned that I might be one of those Montana style "freemen" who pay no taxes and drive around with no license writing bad checks, so I directed him to

 I had my own worries upon learning that I would be sharing a car with Zack Exley, webmaster of a site called I thought I'd find it difficult to travel with a real live Bush-Booster Fortunately, I found Zack's site to be a thoughtful collection of impressively anti G.W. Bush info and links. Once we had sniffed out each other's websites and satisfied our respective suspicions, the show was on the road. 

 In the morning, I attended Sheeri Kritzer's web design workshop. She instructed and answered questions on topics from HTML to databases.

 For the afternoon, I attended the Mobilization program, which presented some strategies and on line services for activists. 

 I'll be using this information in constructing a website dedicated to a world-wide ban of Depleted Uranium Weapons, because they really suck!

Conference Program:

Plenary Speakers :

Using Email in Voter Rights Organizing Lou Posner -Voter March
Online Communication in the Women's Movement Elizabeth Randolph
Low vs. High-Tech Audrie Krause-netaction
Internet in Union Organizing Gaye Williams
Using Technology in Organizing Matt Eisenberg -Progressive Technology Project
From Open Source to Openlaw Wendy Seltzer -Openlaw project

Morning Workshops:

Your pal, Freeman Z. attended the workshops in red.
Workshop Description Presenter(s)
Strategy Technology Planning for Social Change Organizations Katrin Verclas -Techstrategy
Collaboration Collaborative creation: online Activist Materials
Developing Effective Progressive Portals
Rich Cowan
Josh Hilgart -People for the American Way
Web Maintaining Organization Websites Sheeri Kritzer -Bisexual Resource Center
Mobilization  the Internet's role in organizing the Largest Poor People's March Since M.L.K! Chris Caruso -HumanRightsTech
Listservs  Publishing and promoting Listservs and Newsletters Elizabeth Randolph -Women's Enews

Afternoon Workshops:

Workshop Description Presenter(s)
Strategy Uses of technology for Empowerment and Engagement in Low Income Communities Dirk Slater -Welfare Law Center
Collaboration Collaboration through Shared Databases Jonah Wittkamper
Web Using My PHP Web Tool JAmie McClelland -Media Jumpstart
Mobilization Messaging, On/offline integration, Building relationships Online Activism Tools to Mobilize Grassroots Activists
Seth Merritt -TechRocks
Warren moon and
Benjamin Smith -Environmental Defense Fund
Listservs Coordinating Spontaneous Movements via Internet
Building a Permanent National Organization via Internet
Zack Exley
Bob Fertik
Community  How a Community Technology Center Serves Local Needs Darryl Heller -Amistad Institute

Sponsors' Contacts:

Organizer's Collaborative
and Yale Law Students for Social Justice
Amistad Institute, 1430 Sterling place, Brooklyn NY, 11231
Center for Nonprofit Technology, 151 1st Ave., NY, NY, 10003
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Box 717, Palo Alto, CA, 94302, Box 31905, Philadelphia, PA, 19104
LINC Project of the Welfare Rights Center, 275 7th Ave., Suite 1205, NY, NY, 10001, 1141 Walnut St., Berkeley, CA, 94707
National Priorities Project, 17 New South St., Northhampton, MA, 01060
NetAction, 601 Van Ness Ave., # 631, San Francisco, CA, 94102
Palestine Right of Return, 333 Cedar St., New Haven, CT, 06520
Peace Development Fund, Box 1280/44 N. Prospect, Amherst, MA 01004, 151 W. 30th St., 10th Floor, NY, NY, 10001
Reason and Democracy, 800 Pacific Ave., # 403, Long Beach, CA, 90813
Secure Sponsorship, 1127 Harrison Ave., Roxbury, MA, 02119
TechRocks, 2100L St., Suite 210, Washington DC, 20006, Box 731, Grand Central Station, NY, NY, 10163-0731

About Joining Organizer's Collaborative:

If you're interested in using the Internet for Social change and Activism visit
Rich Cowan of
Zack Exley of
Warren Moon of

Participants are welcome to submit words, links, etc.

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