Opinion

Finding hope, sharing woes — Stone soup event gives us a chance to connect

By BOB SPIVEY

For The Beachcomber

In an online article published Dec. 31 on huffingtonpost.com, Sarah van Gelder, co-founder and executive editor of Yes! Magazine, cited among her “10 Reasons to be Hopeful about 2009” the emergence of “DIY (do it yourself) communities (that) are piloting the shift to a people-centered society.”

“These folks,” she wrote, “understand that real security during tough times is found in the ‘social capital’ of community. At the same time, they are creating experiments in green and just ways of life. They aren’t waiting for policy changes or bailouts; instead, they are helping each other now and getting on with the most extraordinary project of our time: building a better world.”

As reported previously in The Beachcomber, an ad hoc group of citizens known as Vision for Vashon has recently come together to help Vashon realize its considerable potential to become one of these “DIY communities.”

Toward this end, Vision for Vashon has organized a series of actions and events. The first action was the creation and wide distribution of a flier that pulls together vital information on existing services that meet urgent needs for food and shelter and informs people how they can contribute to or access these services. You can see this flier in many places on the Island.

Our first event is a “Stone Soup Speakout” on Feb. 1. This community potluck will provide a space for people to tell their stories of how the economic downturn has affected them or may affect them in the future. This process of open sharing and deep listening can begin to break down walls of isolation and move our experience from private fears to collective knowledge and action.

This event will be followed — at a later date — by a public visioning forum that we are now planning. We envision training sessions on political advocacy, organizing and fundraising, as well as breakout sessions on food security, transportation, housing, health care, local exchange currency, “greening” Vashon and community-based funding sources such as revolving loan funds.

Being a Vashon event, there will be a wealth of “social capital” in the form of music, dancing and storytelling. Look for more information about this event as we head toward spring, contact us at visionforvashon@gmail.com to add your voice and energy to the mix, or visit our Web site at visionforvashon.org.

And please join us in this important conversation.

— Bob Spivey is active in Vision for Vashon.

“Stone Soup: A Conversation about Hard Times and Hope” will take place from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, at the Vashon Presbyterian Church. Bring something to add to the soup (one will be without meat or wheat). Salad and bread will be provided.

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