"Adam," I've been asked (by the voices in my head), "What do you enjoy most about serving as chairman of the board of directors of Netroots Nation? Is it being backstage with folks like Bill Clinton? Is it the site selection process? Is it access to the Chairman's Suite, or the ability to append the word 'Chairman's' gratuitously to whatever you're doing?"
And the answer is no. My favorite part of all of this is what's just started -- our proposal submission and evaluation process.
Because at the core of what we're doing in Las Vegas from July 22-25 (register now!), as it is every year, are the panel discussions, roundtables, training sessions and other substantive gatherings that you generate which occupy our days during the conference. Through this process we define what it means to be in the Netroots every year -- what issues do we care about, and what perspectives are worth hearing -- making the conference itself a way to educate ourselves, informing and inspiring activism for the year which follows.
This is a bottom-up process. These ideas come from you, and if there's one theme I'd have for the 2010 conference, it's this: given what we now know, what do progressives need to do to make change happen?
We want to see proposals for panels that run the gamut of progressive policy, but, as always, we’ve set a few priority areas. We’ll be sure to cover:
- Comprehensive immigration reform
- Employee free choice and labor issues
- The economy, job creation and financial reform
- Organizing around the 2010 election
- Long-term systematic and infrastructure changes to the political process
As members of the Netroots community, one of our greatest strengths is our ability to shun conventional wisdom in favor of new approaches. Each session should offer a Netroots hook and cover interesting topics from new perspectives -- though, of course, some of that can involve bringing in non-Netroots folks to educate us and listen to us.
We want forward-looking ideas that provide attendees with tools to make change and ideas to build upon. Feel free to browse our archive of previous sessions and check out our video archive to see what has been done in years past, but don't be afraid to think outside the box with regards to topic or format. (Indeed, really: moderator plus four speakers has not been handed down from Sinai as the only way to do things.)
When you're brainstorming, here are a few things to think about:
- How does my idea help the broader progressive movement?
- How will it empower activists to take what they've learned and use it for the greater good?
- Do my proposed panelists represent diversity — of ethnicity, gender, geography, age and viewpoint?
Click here to read the full list of guidelines and submit your idea. (We take these guidelines seriously -- there are numerical grades, spreadsheets, conference calls, the works.) As you'll see from the guidelines, your ideas need not be fully formed at this stage, but we will want to see a good level of thoughtfulness and planning. (You can't just give us a title and say "and I'll find three awesome people to talk about it." Be as specific as reasonably possible.)
The deadline for submission is February 8, and feel free to email me at adam (at) netrootsnation dot org if you have any questions about this process. Help us build a great conference in our return to Las Vegas.