Every town needs a conscience— a Jiminy Cricket to its Pinocchio tendencies. In the case of Santa Rosa, and the surrounding county, conscientiousness manifests in the form of the North Bay Organizing Project, a coalition working for those who lack representation and voice in the community. Since forming three years ago, members of the NBOP's task forces have agitated for Restorative Justice in Santa Rosa city schools, hosted vigils in front of the contested site of a Social Advocates for Youth Dream Center, fought for immigration reform and against deportations, and revived the spirit of protest and democracy in a county that maintains deep stratifications between the haves and have-nots.
On Nov. 3, the NBOP holds its annual public meeting at the Sonoma Academy (only slightly ironic, considering tuition at this college-prep school runs to five figures). The public is invited to attend, with the promise of galvanizing presentations by the NBOP's immigration task force, education task force and a newly formed transportation/neighborhood development task force. Also presented is an idea whose time has come—the rollout of a transit rider's union.
Last year's public meeting featured a who's who of community leaders, activists and politicians, in addition to a large contingent of regular citizens looking to participate in positive community change. This year's event promises to carry the same energy. This is a bilingual event with free childcare. "Unite to Win," The North Bay Organizing Project's third annual public meeting, gets underway on Sunday, Nov. 3, at Sonoma Academy. 2500 Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa. 4–5:30pm. Free. 707.236.7501. For more, see www.northbayop.org.