Monday, April 13, 2015

Please welcome the 2015-2016 Peer Advisors and 
Oxfam Action Corps Organizers!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Community building is important to Action Corps success

Many of you have been participating in online training sessions to prepare for volunteering in your city's Oxfam Action Corp. And some are gearing up for additional training and a lobby experience in Washington DC.  A common challenge for Action Corps is to establish a local presence and build a team of core volunteers. This post written by Yoshiko is a wonderful account of her experience building community as an organizer. 


Building Community in a Population of 7.4 Million

Submitted by Yoshiko Hill

The San Francisco Bay Area has quite the reputation; one of flowering natural vistas, pronounced diversity, technology driven innovation and social activism, but advocating for hunger, poverty and social justice inequality is no easy task even within an activism incubator like the Bay Area. Bearing this in mind, how does one build relevance and elevate above the clutter of bustling lifestyles and boundless priorities to become a force for change in the local advocacy landscape of the Bay Area's 101 cities?

For Oxfam America's California based grassroots arm, the Bay Area Oxfam Action Corps (OAC), the answer lies in community building and a microscopic focus on relationships to connect advocates, volunteers, local leaders and politicians alike in an area with a population of 7.4 million.

As an OAC Organizer, I worked to make community building center stage and created relationships based on the shared vision of a world without hunger and poverty by prioritizing one-on-one communication, managing diverse and engaging local events and shaping a social atmosphere.

While leading Oxfam America's local grassroots efforts, I helped foster an active passion for social justice advocacy within members of the Bay Area Oxfam community by establishing partnerships with leading nonprofits, opening dialogue with local elected officials and of course encouraging fresh-faced volunteers to step out of their comfort zones and flex their outreach muscles.

Of my diverse functions as an Organizer, one of the most rewarding was my role as a catalyst through which I was able to empower our more introverted volunteers to lead and take ownership of local outreach efforts by directly engaging the public and building confidence as a social activist.

Many of our volunteers are new to advocacy and have never taken on such an active outreach role in their professional or personal lives. For these folks, the OAC offers a unique opportunity for self-discovery and genuine personal growth. One such volunteer was a longtime Oxfam supporter, but new to active engagement with the organization. He dived right in by volunteering with our rockstar team at a local farmer’s market and was openly nervous about initiating one-on-one conversations. After an hour with the team, he found his own communication style and was engaging in thoughtful conversations around the importance of local farmers, food justice and worker’s rights like a professional. Playing off of the group’s fun, casual and welcoming dynamics, and after a bit of positive encouragement, he discovered his inner activist.

Effecting these tiny sparks helped create countless memories that I will not soon forget and allowed me to master the dynamic relationship and community building skills invaluable to any career path and essential to promoting social awareness anyplace whether San Francisco or Indianapolis.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy International Women's Day!

I am looking forward to hearing about the many International Women's Day events held by Oxfam Action Corps cities across the country. If you have photos from your event, please feel free to share them with me on Facebook, where I just posted a request in the OAC Organizers Group.

In the meantime, in honor of International Women's Day, I'd like to share Oxfam America's "Six women who will make you believe we can end hunger". It's an inspiring overview of six women with links to full-length stories.




Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrity chefs support food aid reform

Recently just under a dozen celebrity chefs from across the country flew to Washington DC to voice their support of food aid reform to Congress. The lobby visits by these chefs on behalf of Oxfam America was featured in Heard on the Hill



So, you may ask, what's the connect to the Oxfam Action Corps? First, our very own Clara helped organize this very successful chef summit. And, second, food aid reform remains an important issue for the Action Corps. For those of you who are incoming organizers, the upcoming training in Washington DC next month will have some similarities to this recent chef summit. Among many issues addressed during the training, you can expect to learn about food aid reform. And, of course, you get your own chance to lobby to your Senators and Representative. Just in case you missed it, check out a first-hand account of lobbying with the Action Corps in a post from last month.

Friday, February 27, 2015

International Women's Day events are on near you!

Every March 8 for more than a century, millions of people around the world have come together to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. Here in the US, Oxfam Action Corps members are hosting events that raise awareness and public action in support of women’s efforts to overcome poverty and injustice worldwide. Here's quick look at some of our events, with active links to event pages below the map:


Click the links below for event info!

Albuquerque, NM, Monday March 2nd, 7-9pm Mountain Time.  Come hear an exciting panel of women leaders from our community who inspire doing good for our world!  Click for info

Austin, TX, Sunday March 8th; noon-6:30pm Central Time. at Darwin's Pub, Austin.  Come all to hear from women musicians and supporters for an Oxfam Jam! Click for info.

Berkeley, CA, Join us at the Berkeley Women's Film Festival. Click for info.

Chicago, IL, Saturday March 7, 11am Central Time.  Join us for a screening of "No Land No Food No Life" at the One Earth Film Fest. Click for info.

Des Moines, IA. Tuesday, March 10, 6-8pm Central Time. The event "Empowered Women: Protecting Rights and Resources" will feature a networking reception as well as remarks from distinguished women leaders from our community. Click for info

New York, NY, Saturday March 7, 4-6pm Eastern Time.  Join us for a film screening and discussion. Click for info. 

Seattle, WA. Monday, March 2nd, 6pm Pacific Time. Join us for a dialogue between Hannah Owusu‐Koranteng  (Deputy Executive Directo (WACAM), Ghana) and Joanna Manu (a farmer, community activist, and District Assembly representative from southwest Ghana) regarding fair and equitable land rights. Click for info.

And if you want to organize something too, see our webpage at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/take-action/events/international-womens-day/ 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We Be Jammin'

Across the country, Oxfam America supporters are taking part in the Oxfam Jam movement. Some Oxfam Action Corps are hosting Oxfam Jam events. For example, OAC New York City is having its second annual Oxfam Jam Benefit Concert. Check out this great article about the NYC event here.

Head over to oxfamamerica.org/oxfamjam to learn more about hosting an Oxfam Jam event or to search for an upcoming event.


Friday, February 6, 2015

What's it like to lobby?

The Oxfam Action Corps provides a unique opportunity for concerned citizens to share their concerns about global poverty and hunger to their elected officials. Action Corps organizers take part in lobby visits to their Senators and Representatives during the annual training in Washington DC, and lobbying efforts continue throughout the year in Action Corps cities by volunteers who share relevant information on policy positions or provide petition signatures.

A personal account of lobbying with the Oxfam Action Corps was recently posted on the Albuquerque blog by Kathy Chavez: 
To Right the Wrong of poverty we tackled Capitol Hill. That process turned into one of the most rewarding and exciting things I have ever done. Before becoming an Oxfam Action Corps Volunteer, meeting with members of Congress and the Senate seemed out of my reach.

Read more and see several photos on the Albuquerque OAC blog here.