Event:2015/10/04 Becoming Omni Session 1

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Becoming Omni Meeting 1 - Nov 4th

Joing the google hangout here - https://hangouts.google.com/call/ge2wsl2eru5t5otyxnhrwlsxgea

planning meeting: https://omnicommons.org/wiki/Event:2015/09/20_Becoming_Omni_Planning_Meeting


== Focus Question ==9

By October 2018,

  • How will Omni Commons:
    • Meet the diverse needs of member collectives,
    • Sustain and strengthen our well-being,
    • Put our statement of solidarity into action?


Statement of Solidarity https://omnicommons.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Founding_Document&redirect=no#Statement_of_Solidarity

Overview of the Day and the Process

  • alex: welcome! intro to becoming
  • laura explains philosophy of facilitation methods we're using: "technology of participation" developed in early 60s. back then there was money to do community organizing & developtment. one org did this in chicago. developed a process to figure out how everybody could participate in deciding how to use those funds. so community could come to agreement. first thing they decided was a childcare center. went on until money stopped coming from fed. center still exists. this group still uses method globally. has most influenced facilitation of any kind. if you become a certified facilitator you'll have incorporated some of these techniques into your repertoire even if you don't use this specifically. if we use this, everyone is participating actively all the time, either in small group thinking for yourself or in group conversation. that's possible because it's very structured. some people have a problem with structure, but that enables people with different abilities, social styles, ways of thinking to scontribute, be takedn & up incor[porated in final product
  • alex: we'll ahve activities, talking, but less full group discussions. feedback at end. if you want something else in future we'd love your input
  • laura: ground rules. if you need to leave, you can do so but we'll have breaks
  • alex reads ground rules outloud [uploading picture later]
    • andrew: please watch your body language. if people shift around it affects the vibe
    • helen: please speak up so i can hear you
    • chloe: thanks facilitators! please take breaks and ask others to step up if you burn out


  • fred/sundance, he/him, new
    • planning to dwell on the ground rules / collective agreements over the day. hanging with sudo room, friends of several members, getting a feel for what omni is trying to accomplish. I grew up in Oakland, I'm familiar with the Omni, been coming here since the 80s. It's been interesting . Looking for a Linux User Group and a hacker/maker space, found sudo room. I am putting a foot down in REno, so I'm planning on try to spend equal time there and here, so I might be on-and-off. I hope to bring some positive energy.
  • matt stewart, he/him, sudo. 4 & 5 seem in conflict w/each other. aiming in good direction
  • andrew, he/him, building&maint working group. There's a lot of depth into the ground rules--lots of nuance to how to express them best.
  • chloe, she/they, material print machine. I consent!
  • sadie. good i trust everybody
  • derek, "thor", he/him/dude/bro,
  • ben. seems fine.
  • libbie. awesome. happily consent.
  • aniska
  • daniel
  • derrick. nods yes.
  • joe. suspending judgement is good but doesn't come naturally, good to try -
  • maryann - she/her - cool wtih the rules
  • julio - he/him/they/ - like the rules
  • matt - sudo room/ he/him - I consent!
  • joel - he/him - consent
  • joshua rhodes - rules look good
  • lori - Global womens' Strike - rules are good
  • helen - she/her - good to aim for. we're al responsible for groups wellbeing
  • rachel. reading.
  • yar. yes please. i'll try my best
  • sarah. helping w/facilitation. great. nice to be here
  • laura. she/her - consent.
  • alex. she/her - consent.

overview of agenda



  • laura: any org to flourish needs building blocks: clear purpose (5) and understanding of values everyone shares (7). doesn't mean we're all the same but we find what we have in common. important to know where it's going also (9) - not just dreamlike (until the revolution) but in a concrete sense - by oct 2018. in 2 sundays we want a clear plan for how to achieve this vision by 2018. focus question is what we're trying to answer in 3 sundays. won't solve all problems, but will have a clearer idea of building blocks, obstacles, and a plan to overcome them. it's a hook to start thinking about answers. like giving a blank canvas to an artist and saying "make art" vs giving them a canvas with a line on it and say "i want this to look good in my living room". just a little bit of a fence to focus us on what's important. things might not fit in, but just to get us started, a guide.
  • joe: do you see final result including proposals to delegates?
    • alex: possibly. best for group to decide. would make sense if we do that work as a community
  • laura: spend rest of week sharing what we do today
  • "By October 2018, How will Omni Commons:
    • Meet the diverse needs of member collectives,
    • Sustain and strengthen our well-being,
    • Put our statement of solidarity into action?"

ancestor circle

  • story or characteristic or reflection on the value that individual embodied. doesn't have to be blodo relative. then we all say words of thanks. ashay? becoming? ashay is from nigeria, life force, "so be it".
  • joe likes aho but don't know what it means. "their amen"

[group activity]

Heard, Seen and Respected

  • alex: about learning to listen to experience, not jumping to fix a problem. pair into pairs.
  • alex: share a time you didn't feel heard, seen, or respected and a time that you did feel heard, seen or respected. working first with partners then sharing with others.....(4 minutes each).

[Partner activity]



hand-holding activity

  • people joined hands randomly and then tried to untie the circle. created two interlocking circles

A Powerful Purpose aka Nine Whys

  • laura: A powerful purpose is something that an organization needs. Wyou're here because of something important about this project and how it relates to the entire community that we care about. Core questions: A fundamental justification for the existence of your work to the larger community and what need am i getting met for being here? never done this before, excited to see what happens.

The exercercise is called "nine why's". Instructions: get into pairs, take paper notes. interview each other asking "what do you do at omni and what are you engaged with?" Then asking why that is important to you. channel your innner toddler and keep on asking "why" to get at the fundamental reason for why the work at the omni is important to the other person. Each persion has 5 minutes to ask their partner "why", then switch. [group activity]

Common purposes report back:

  • Libbie, Yar, Rachel, Derek: to create a safe, nurturing, perhaps comfortable place for people struggling to survive - and their community - to build community, strengthen each other, assemble and transmit creative cultural ideas for collective liberation
  • joshua, david, lauren, sadie, joel: facilitating a Greater ecology based on openness and collaboration to foster the posibility for individual and collective creation (notes that many of the ideas resonate with what had been said by the prior group)
    • sadie would add "based on openness & collaboration"
    • dk: create space of possibility for individual & collective liberation. has to be infrastructure but sense of openness to new creations
  • chloe, julio, andrew, matt: space accessibility--emphasizing the infrastructure. deep why: the world is fucked up and we want to foster this space that can create mutual liberation, and grounded in the real.
    • andrew: the world is not easy and not clean, change isn't easy... the thing about the Omni is that people are grounded and that change comes from assessing our needs and that this should be a place where people can be "real" about their problems. People here are grounded in the real.
  • Daniel (in a group w/ jeremy and Mary Ann): each of us a small peice of a big puzzle. While sweeping the sidewalk yesterday, I was thinking that I want the neighbors to know that we care about the neighborhood.
    • lots about needing to be in this neighborhood, and needing this to be in the neighborhood
    • laura: feel like part of something bigger than you
  • ben, joe, lori, aniska
    • ben: alternative community seeking to right wrongs through practical work, making people & things better, place to come. involving more people to strive to do better. encouraging people to do more. collectives! do people here have a shared vision? people in this room see radical alternative community but is that everyone who uses this space? translating ideas into action. people are inspired by seeing the difference their actions make in the world--doing something that helps other people and make concrete impacts. we made this space exist, we struggle to keep it open, and what are ways we can expand that?
    • joe: also purpose of learning how to communicate, here & in cultures somewhat removed from average omni person's social background. lots of communication failures past year within omni & coming through omni. to me purpose is having more open and trusting ways of communicating, be an example of propagate that through circles, RJ, etc.
  • 40 minute lunch break
  • joe: before lunch we were talking about common purposes. filling out the pages.
  • report back from remote group: Yar, Ryna and Jessie. The commone core is that we all want to build communities and be part of communities. because we need communities to survive -- we are the reason for us all to survive as well as being the material means of survival.
    • laura: So the purpose of what we are doing can be boiled down as mutual survival? assent.

laura: let's condense these.

  • [helen reads]
    • [insert picture here]
  • Laura: there are some things that all of these have in common, so to pull those out let's mark the things in common.... e.g. survival and struggling to survive.
  • andrew: easiest to define purpose if we are clear about what the purpose is for -- its members?
    • Laura: why i'm doing it vs what ?? for the community. for example, food not bombs feeds people who are hungry. if i came here because i'm hungry and got involved with FNB, maybe theyr'e the same. but in terms of organization, people have different reasons for being here. maybe i'm here for community, someone else for the food. but we have to tell epople why community and food are important. why is what we're doing here important? why are we here?
    • joe clarifies, FNB isn't to feed the hungry but to demonstrate that capitalism manipulates food supply and there's plenty of food. and we do that publically
    • robb: blahblahblah smash capitalism
  • helen: most ideas up there are on the left side [touchstone] but not as much the right side. what community is trying to accomplish? to say it's justification for your work, you have to say what kind of ideas are out there
    • laura: if we decided our purpose is creating community for alternative ideas, we have to say what they are, but other people hearing about that would find community attractive ... one of the main reasons is so when we talk to people it'll attract participation. personal and larger community purposes might be the same or might be different... but as an organization it is important to have a fundamental reason or purpose that we can convey to the public at large. The thing we need to agree on is the common purpose of why we are here. teasing out what are the things that people have said in common may help us find that.

  • yar suggests mutual & collective are the same
  • joel thought "collective mutual survival"
  • jessie says smashing capitalism is both the means & the ends
  • robb just wants to smash capitalism, not change it
  • joshua thinks change might attract more participation than smash
  • helen: create alternative?
  • laura: right now i want to pick out the themes, not wordsmith yet
  • jeremy: point of process. what are we doing? did we decide? what's the purpose right now? develop mission statement and use it to interface with outer community? iwas here before lunch a little bit. how far along are we? is someone keeping stack? it seems like everyone's interfacing with you in defining this rather than taking stack collaboratively in a different way.
  • laura: i'm the facilitator and i hate stack, try not to use it. we're developing a common theme. every organization needs people being clcear on why they do what they do. being able to articulate that keeps people engaged, and helps in the future to be clear where we want to go. multiple purposes.
  • rob: isn't problematic to attract people if there's no omni membership?
    • laura: that's something to talk about later when we talk about why we aren't achieving goals
    • robb: original vision was thin, just groups doing thier own tings
    • laura: that's something that's unclear.
    • joel: we're getting off track let's respect laura in this exercise
    • alex: tempurature check. anyone need more clarity?
    • jeremy: often facilitator puts themselves on stack
    • alex: i think it's helpful for people to speak directly to laura while she's writing. but we can try to take stack
  • laura: does anyone have something to say that they haven't been able to say so far?
    • joe: i don't see any hands on boots on the ground kind of stuff to fix yeras of oppression. mostly community building stuff
    • laura: translate inspiring ideas into action?
    • joe: ok
  • andrew: perhaps nest a lot under craeting community that promotes liberation, collective creation, space for supporting other peoples' struggle, promoting alternative ideas within understanding that's grounded in the world
  • rachel: i want to echo the word oppression because it's not here. we came up with positive purposes but oppression is so central it might be good to have it in this
    • laura: can i put capitalism as a form of oppression?
    • rachel: just echoing and emphasizing that word
    • joe: libbie said centralize the marginalized. marginalized brought into the fold
    • helen: seems like we're creating something. different things for people
  • rachel: collaboration is important, not to be conflated with openness
  • joshua: foster and create are similar
  • lauren: separate create from foster and change because i'd like to keep creating open for the possibility beyond just creating change. just to create.
  • laura: any other ideas not incorporated
    • rachel: translating ideas to action and grounded in the real haven't been touched on yet. notion of action & reality aren't the same.
    • laura: so ideas into action and grounded in the real are the same theme?
    • rachel: yes
  • who wants to volunteer to syntehsize these over the next few days to a coherent purpose? sadie & joshua!

Group identifies as common themes:

  • Collective survival and struggling to survive
  • Collective/ mutual liberation
  • Ideas into action/ grounded in the real
  • To centralize the marginalized
  • Create


Sadie and Jashua volunteer to work on creating a synthesis about "our common purpose" to bring to the meeting next sunday.

nom nom...

What Are Our Shared Values?

  • activity is to answer the question, "What are the values we are all holding in our work at the Omni?"
  • group into pairs, agree on 4 words/cards to express our values
  • long process, lots of cards to group
  • andrew & rachel are in charge of naming the heart group


  • activity is to answer the question, "What do we want to see going on and in place in 3 years as a result of our actions?"
  • picture coming into omni in 2018. what will you see?

who took what?

  • lauren took moon
  • helen took the heart
  • alex took the sun
  • jeremy took the arrow
  • ben took square
  • sadie took tree
  • star is diversity of all kinds
  • triangle is money to facilitate accessibility
  • peace sign empty


  • laura: images, events, conversations, that stick out in your mind from today?
  • joe: looking for troy
  • sadie: nice to be in structure where we got put into groups. usually i don't like that but i felt everybody i had conversations with was open, and i got to know people.
  • andrew: ...
  • laura: i'm gonna ask questions and the thing in your head will be the answer to one of them. hold thought. what stands out in your memory from today?
    • andrew: inviting ancestors
  • jeremy: enthusiasm
  • rob: different process
  • laura: what did we get done today?
    • lauren: a lot
    • joe: began to rewrite our statement of solidarity, mission statement. stayed together, endured
  • jeremy 2: ??
  • laura: some people took notes
  • maryanne: connecting with hands, that was fun
    • rob: we bonded
  • laura: what was the high point?
    • joe: hearing peoples' aspirations
    • jushua: two concentric circles
    • maryanne: finding out how much we have in common
  • laura: what was the low point
    • yar: my anxiety about hwat will happen after this
    • rachel: when ever there's a large group of people and we're trying to make just a couple words, meetings kinda get caught in my experience. trying to agree on one word is painful
    • laura: very challenging
  • laura: something we learned?
    • ben: about people who're here
    • rob: may not be an anarchist collective space
    • rachel: i noticed who didn't come. everyone has reasons but people in my head who were in sudoroom, and none of them are here. omni is more than my own personal problems.
    • sadie: we can have a large group with disagreements and people getting called out, and start to make space for that, and still at the end of the day some of us will be here next time hopefully!
  • laura: last question. what will we be sure to share with our collectives & working groups over the next week about what happened, what we did, what we learned today?
    • lauren: trust the process
    • laura: what about your own collectives?
    • sean: we'd make a wheelchair ramp, but there never was one
    • lori: everything, blwo by blow
    • joe: it's creative, exciting, get to watch laura be a great facilitator
    • jeremy 2: rewawrd is in the practice
    • yar: i plan on posting, curating notes, adding pictures, so people not here can get a clear idea of what happened and didn't happen today
  • round of applause!


As Soon As Possible

Next Becoming Session

  • Print "Becoming Omni Commons" packet based on documents from the wiki --

Bigger Picture