At our Jan 9, 2014 meeting, the UNA SF Bay Council of Organizations listened intently as UNA-USA Exec Director Chris Whatley described the function of the national COO and how a local COO could benefit member organizations. Then we took the first steps towards getting organized and discussed our common agenda in three breakout tables, before breaking up to mingle and get better acquainted.
We had a good turnout with more than thirty attendees representing at least 18 organizations (see list below).
Our discussion of what membership means was complicated by the question, what if a member organization disagrees with a message that the Council puts out there? This question is not resolved at this point. It was decided that we would have a core group that would discuss the question in greater detail and bring its suggestions to the next full meeting of the Council. Meanwhile organizations that want to join or affiliate are welcome to do so. They will be added to the appropriate list online with their logo and they are welcome to use the Bay COO logo on their own sites.
Everyone filled out a contact form and checked off sub-committees they would be interested in. We will be using InterMix Voices of Humanity technology as our list serve. InterMix is about to implement a new feature whereby sub-group exchanges can be curtained off so only sub-group members get emails, but transparency is preserved by allowing anyone to see the discussion of the sub-groups if they go online. The core group will be set up as one of these sub-groups and we will work online to set up a core-group meeting.
In our breakout sessions, we discussed our “Common Agenda” with an eye towards cooperating on a big event the UN 70th Anniversary set for Oct 24, 2015. While there was general agreement about the UN 70th celebration, there was a sense that we need to understand better what we are about before we get down to setting our activity agenda. The three breakout groups did agree that the goals of the UN are our goals too: peace, human rights, sustainable development, social justice. Also, that getting to know each other better is at the top of our priorities. To that end we decided to have our next meeting in two rather than three months on the second Thursday of March – which is March 13.
The following organizations were represented (please note that at this point, these organizations have not committed to membership or affiliation with the COO):
American Humanist Association
Democratic World Federalists
Earth Federation Movement
Esperanto USA, Bay Area
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Gabriela in SF
International Council of Jewish Women
Peace Alliance, Northern California
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Bay Area
Silkworm Peace Institute
Unitarian Universalist Church
United Educators of San Francisco
United Nations Association Eastbay
United Nations Association Marin
United Nations Association San Francisco
World Centre, San Francisco