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Cross-posted from Native American Netroots

Rural communities and communities of color live behind the digital divide. They don’t have access to the same online organizing tools as white, urban upper- and middle-class neighborhoods. As a result, progressives find it difficult to engage the under-served.

Each year at Netroots Nation it is noted that too few people of color are included or heard.

TheFatLadySings has an idea to increase the numbers of people of color attending the annual conference. She wants to tap the existing organization Communities Joined in Action and send leaders of these community health coalitions to Netroots Nation and introduce them to online organizing tools.

Communities Joined in Action is a national alliance of local coalitions working to end disparities in health care. CJA believes health care is a civil rights issue. It works to create civil rights facts on the ground by teaching coalitions in underserved communities to use the Affordable Care Act and other tools to ensure access to quality health care among the poor, people of color, the homeless and other hard-to-reach populations.

This year, a Marketing and New Media Committee has been created and dedicated to teaching coalitions to build power through community organizing, and to make use of online organizing tools. TheFatLadySings, known to her non-blogging friends as Lauren Reichelt, has been tapped to chair this new CJA Marketing and New Media committee. She has submitted a Pepsi Challenge Grant for $50,000 to help Communities Joined in Action to bring a large CJA delegation to NN12 to caucus with bloggers and to learn on- and offline organizing techniques. She will also help CJA to develop webinars to teach community coalitions across the US to use some of these tools.

More below the jump:

David Trujillo and TheFatLadySings
Lucia Sanchez and Raymond Ortiz
at the NN11 American Indian
Caucus last year
Last year, TheFatLadySings brought three colleagues from Rio Arriba County in Northern New Mexico, to NN11 in Minneapolis.  They attended the American Indian and Latino Caucuses as well as workshops in community organizing, messaging, online tools, etc. Since then, Rio Arriba County has hired a Public Information Officer, revamped their County and health council websites, including a blog so they can communicate directly with the public.

Mid December, mindoca is traveling to Rio Arriba County to teach them to use and train others to use new media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs. She'll explain their use in advocacy campaigns, marketing websites and blogs, community strengthening activities and legislative action. Mindoca also attended the annual CJA conference in Washington, D.C., where she trained coalitions to use online tools in their organizing efforts and to build community power.

TheFatLadySings and her team want to attend NN12 next year and provide a way for colleagues from Communities Joined in Action to attend as well. This is a solid effort to increase the numbers of people of color at NN12.

We need your help. Specifically, we need you to promote and vote for our grant application. Go to refresheverything and sign up for an account with Pepsi. Then go to Lifting the Digital Curtain and vote for us. You can vote once a day.

Please vote every day in December!

If funded, the grant will also send two members of Native American Netroots who would not otherwise be able to go to Providence. And NAN will help Communities Joined in Action to recruit American Indian coalitions as members.

TheFatLadySings and colleagues hope to see you at NN12 Providence, Rhode Island. They hope to be able to tell you there about the many wonderful facets of the Affordable Care Act that are helping us to eliminate health disparities. And they are eager to learn about the use online tools to register and mobilize our communities to vote.

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Originally posted to Native American Netroots on Tue Dec 06, 2011 at 12:58 PM PST.

Also republished by J Town.

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