Urban Democracy Feast offers opportunity for social justice organizations

When you think of feasts you may think of holiday meals or extended family gathers. The Urban Democracy Feast is a place where the community can come together to exchange information about shared problems, common obstacles and ways to overcome them.

The next Urban Democracy Feast is 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at First Congregational Church located at 345 W. Michigan Avenue, off Bronson Park. 

To date, there have been three Urban Democracy Feasts and the community has raised $3,000 which was then divided among four social justice groups applying for funding. They make a five-minute presentation during the evening to explain their project.

Organizers say their goal is to kick start projects that might otherwise not get funded, or help them make a qualitative leap in their work. Their applications show that they are addressing a shared need, have the support of other groups in the neighborhood and that the project demonstrates direct democracy.

They say the types of projects they look forward to considering, include: child care services for single parents who work the second and third shift; urban farms that sell to local restaurants; worker owned co-operatives; independent community media, or scholarship requests to study abroad and return to implement the research results in Kalamazoo.

Urban Democracy Feast occurs two times each year, in the fall and then again in late winter or spring. For future events, applications in English and Spanish are available at the Feast website. Hard copy versions are available at the Arcus Social Justice Center, Bilal Mosque, Eastside Neighborhood Association, Eastwood Library Branch, the Hispanic American Council, Kalamazoo Peace Center, People’s Food Co-op, Powell Street Library Branch, Vine Neighborhood Association, and the Washington Square Library Branch. 

At the next feast, childcare for toddlers and pre-school children will be available in separate rooms. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or at the Feast website. Each attendee will be given a voting ballot with each ticket. The doors will open at 4 p.m. The event gets underway at 4:30 p.m. 

While the attendees get a plate for food, those waiting can post suggestions for the projects on a white board, sign up to bring a dish for the next feast, ask questions of the applicants before voting, and participate in a silent auction. The silent auction is used to raise funds for the operational cost of the feasts. The date and place of the next Feast will then be announced together with the voting results. Projects are awarded based on the percentage of votes received. Applicants who do not receive an award can apply again in the future.

Source: Urban Democracy Feast
 
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