Message from Nan Stearns – 4/11/11

Dear WMD Members,

It’s time for full disclosure: A WMD sponsored Democracy School was held in late March. After the joint hosting plans with DFNH fell through, DFNH went ahead with their own Democracy School, with a focus on election integrity. Our Kitchen Cabinet met and went ahead with planning one without specific focus. As we learned more about the expenses associated with hosting Democracy School, we realized the importance of experiencing it firsthand before we could recommend it wholeheartedly to the entire WMD membership. As we began talking about attendees, we made a tentative list of people we thought would be interested guinea pigs to fill a class limited in size to no more than 20. In a heart beat we had more than 25 on our list, including educators, environmentalists, peace activists and those who have been active in WMD since its inception. Rather than send out an announcement to everyone on our email list, we called those on the tentative list. And so it happened! We ended up a group of 21 women and men: 17 students, 3 presenters and one chef/gofer. Though many were WMD members, we also had a DFNH activist, a Milford High School teacher, a student originally from Brazil, a home builder, a young corporate entrepreneur, environmental activists with New Hampshire Green and members of the peace movement. It was an interested and interesting group.

Our three presenters were Gail Darrell form Barnsted, NH, Ben Price from Carlisle, PA and Chad Nicholson who has moved to Maine in order to assist Gail Darrell in her community organizing for CELDF, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. The total cost of the school was approximately $2,500.

The chef/gofer was my own dear husband, Pete, who was in charge of logistics and food preparation. We ate well!

This was an experiment. It was a very intense, enlightening experience for most —- I am still gathering feedback from those who participated as we speak. There may be many of you who wanted to attend; we hope there will be many who want to come next time. It is very possible we will try to put on another DS next year, after we have had an opportunity to sit quietly, contemplate what we have learned, think deeply and move on.

To give you an idea of the level of commitment involved — the Friday session was from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. On Saturday we met from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is a powerful experience, and the material is mind boggling. As I wrote on my evaluation form, “Democracy School is not for wimps!” Too, it is not inexpensive. Our fee to attend was $100.00. There were three active members who paid $150.00 in order to reach our goal, and all of the food and snacks were donated by Kathy Boyer, Susan Fischer, Judy Gilliland, Ruth Heden, Jeanne Ludt, Pete and Nan – the extraordinary committee. Many thanks!

Please let me/us know by responding to this email if you would be interested in attending DS next time. I intend to speak to each one who attended and follow up with our presenters, then pass thoughts on to the ladies on our list.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Nan Stearns


If you’d like to attend a free forum conducted by two of the same people that conducted Democracy School —- here’s your chance!! See below:

Community Rights Forum

Protecting our Health, Safety, and Welfare
Lewiston, ME, Sunday, April 17
B Street Community Center
57 Birch Street

Portsmouth, NH, Sunday, May 1
South Church – Unitarian Universalist
292 State Street

Bangor, ME, Sunday, May 15
Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine
96 Harlow Street, Suite 100

2:00 – 4:00pm

Presented by:
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)

In Partnership With:
Advocates for Community Empowerment (ACE)
Citizens of Barnstead for a Living Democracy (COBALD)
Nottingham Water Alliance
Protecting our Water and Wilderness Resources (POWWR)

For More Information:
Gail Darrell Chad Nicholson
603.269.8542 207.541.3649

Posted in Citizen Action. Comments Off on Message from Nan Stearns – 4/11/11
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