2015-2016 C3: Meeting 3 – Economic Opportunities

C3: Meeting 3 – Economic Opportunities

Tuesday January 12th 6-8PM

IMG_8216This meeting explored projects and ideas related to Economic Opportunities  and the ways that we can tackle economic justice issues to enhance cultural bridges— creating powerful opportunities for people throughout our county.

Our interns and staff designed an icebreaker, The Privilege Walk, inspired by this activity. This  required a lot of trust and openness amongst our members. It’s designed for participants to experience what it’s like to be someone else, to further understand how social memberships (age/disability/religion/ethnicity/sexual orientation/gender/citizenship) can affect our lives and our access to opportunities in society. When we think about creating equity and access to economic opportunities, we have to think about changing the system and roots of these structures, not just their effects.

Our 4 “Sparks” then led short 3 minute presentations on their projects related to economic opportunities and their dream for its future. Then, all members chose which project they would like brainstorm further.IMG_8218

Our sparks included:

Jacob Martinez from the Digital Nest discussing Downtown Watsonville: “The downtown in Watsonville is happening! There is a buzz in and around Watsonville that the downtown area is on the verge of blowing up. With the arrival of the Digital NEST, the 5th annual Film Festival on the horizon, and the beginning stages of the revitalization of downtown. What will 2016 look like? I have a vision that the downtown specifically the plaza will be the heart of the community and the center of culture, arts, and music along the Monterrey Bay. Let’s come together to create a vision of a vibrant downtown that will draw in people from around the region.”

Monica Martinez from Encompass Community Services discussing Affordable Housing: “When I think about economic opportunity, I think about the inclusiveness of our community. Do the most vulnerable among us have access to high-quality, affordable homes, in healthy, opportunity-rich neighborhoods? Unfortunately, efforts to build inclusive neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County are regularly stalled by the loud voices of neighborhood opposition and fear. I want to activate the voices of those who embrace equity and inclusion as a moral and economic imperative. I dream that at every public hearing on affordable housing in our County, those who support inclusion outnumber those who oppose it.”

Zachary Wolinksy exploring Worker Cooperatives and Democrative Workplaces: “I will briefly share his experience working in worker cooperatives in Santa Cruz, and touch on the challenges and benefits from this experience and how it relates to cultural bridging.  I would like to educate and enable residents of Santa Cruz County to start worker cooperatives.  I want to create an organization like the Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NoBAWC) for Santa Cruz County by creating a “grassroots organization of democratic workplaces dedicated to building workplace democracy” (NoBAWC website). My dream is to create a new kind of regional economy based on democratic workplaces of all kinds coming together to leverage our collective assets to decide how to more fairly and responsibly manage our community’s wealth.”

Consuelo Alba from the Watsonville Film Festival dreaming up the future of the Fox Theater: “The Watsonville Film Festival is community-based festival that has presented great films and filmmakers since 2012. As we gear up for the 5th Annual Watsonville Film Festival, March 2-6, 2016, we are tapping into an exciting county-wide and regional synergy to establish ourselves as the multicultural film fest of the Monterey Bay. Learn more at our website here. My dream is to reopen the historic Fox Theater, and to help reactivate Downtown Watsonville with cultural programming and economic development opportunities. Learn more about how the Arts mean business in Santa Cruz County, here. ”

IMG_8213Groups formed around each topic for a more in-depth workshop. Members first shared their interests in joining the group and then asked the presenter more questions about their project. Groups then brainstormed ideas to strengthen the dream. Each group then built an artifact of the future for our Pop Up Museum that was representative of that dream out of cardboard, paper, pipe cleaners, tape and markers in a mere fifteen minutes. Objects and labels were presented to the whole group and can be viewed here.IMG_8221

At the end of the meeting each individual either made a commitment to strengthening this work. We’re looking forward to the next few meeting which will explore creative ways to ignite cultural bridges with the public in our C3 3rd Friday Festival this June.

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