The purpose of the Birth Activist Retreat is to lay the groundwork for a full scale birth revolution. Our primary emphasis will be action, how can we actively engage in change as individuals and as a collective movement. This is not a time for passively sitting and absorbing information; it is a chance for birth activists from everywhere to meet face to face and get to work. The retreat sessions will generally fall into one of four categories: inspiring addresses, workshops where activists can learn useful skills, moderated working groups, and opportunities to connect with other activists.
During the inspiring addresses accomplished activists such as Suzanne Arms, Dawn Thompson, Cristen Pascucci, Karen Brody, and Michal Klau-Stevens will speak to the group as a whole. They will be sharing actions that have already made a difference and their visions for the best way our movement can effectively engage the system. Gina Crosley-Corcoran (aka The Feminist Breeder), Kate Donahue (Truth About Birth in Social Media) and January Harshe (Birth Without Fear) make up our panel on Social Media. These lovely ladies will share their secrets to success and help us to outline a powerful on-line campaign that will continue to grow the number of folks engaged in changing the culture of birth. The Birth Activist Skill Workshops will teach the skills every Birth Activist needs to know to be effective.
The moderated working groups are where we will really get down to the nitty gritty planning details. They are also the most open ended type of session. Anyone can volunteer to moderate a group, and people will be able to participate in multiple groups. The groups will focus on specific projects or ideas that need to be developed. The moderator will propose the project and initiate the discussion. The project could be something concrete such as creating a public service announcement that will air during midwifery week. At the retreat the PSA could be written and a plan for recording and distributing the announcement could be put into place. The group would continue working beyond the weekend retreat to accomplish their goal. Or the group could focus on an idea or something more general such as: how and what do we begin to teach young girls about birth? The potential for these groups is unlimited. If you have an idea for a group you would like to moderate please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share these working group ideas so that folks can get excited about them before the retreat, then at the retreat they can sign up and get to work!
As a group we will discuss activities such as the National Rally for change that can happen as a coordinated effort. Two other events we will present are 1) flash mob/guerrilla theater of the “My Body Rocks” scene from Karen Brody’s play “Birth;” 2) a film festival that promotes the Mother Friendly Childbirth Initiative to be produced and coordinated by BirthNetwork National. If you have a national event that is ready to be put into action email email@example.com and we will include you in this part of the program. Everyone who attends the retreat will have all the information they need to implement these events in their community. We will use the working groups to come up with coordinated actions that will part of the core events presented at the 2014 retreat. Coordinated actions can cast a huge national spotlight on our cause.
Online communities dominate our current social worlds. These virtual networks have tremendous power for activism, however there is still a need for face to face meetings. The retreat will provide many opportunities for networking and building our activist community. We will share our meals and we will be collaborating and connecting during all the sessions. Before the retreat officially starts and after it officially ends there will be time set aside for National Leaders to connect. Who is a National Leader? Anyone who is already working on a national level or anyone with the ideas, energy, and desire to be involved in that way!
The Birth Activist Retreat is a unique opportunity for people who are passionate about maternity care to come together and engage in the developing birth revolution. As Dawn Thompson said the retreat “is about digging in, hard-core planning, and really working together to create lasting change in maternity care.” You do not want to miss this crucial weekend. We look forward to seeing you there, July 26-28 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Click here to register now!