Street Teams take action to amplify voices
OpenMedia.ca launched the Street Team program last summer in Metro Vancouver in an effort to help pro-Internet supporters take action in their local communities. Within a few short months 14 volunteers have participated in nine local actions, hosted two petition drives, generated media coverage, and forced a Conservative MP to respond publicly to constituents’ opposition to online spying Bill C-30, “Lawful Access.”
Through local actions they’ve successfully brought together ardent open and surveillance-free Internet supporters and made our community stronger.
Case in point: On Monday, December 10th, a group of OpenMedia.ca Street Team volunteers (Awna Besan, Chelsea Noel, Sydney Ball, Jessica Chang, and Laura Mitchell) active in the West Vancouver area presented 354 StopSpying.ca signatures to the office of Hon. John Weston (West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country) in a coordinated campaign to put pressure on the Conservative MP.
The petition signatures were collected both online (http://StopSpying.ca) and also as a result of two volunteer-driven on-the-ground petition drives, which leveraged the OpenMedia.ca online petition tool at http://openmedia.ca/soschallenge. The Street Team then scheduled a meeting with Hon. Weston to present him the StopSpying.ca petitions.
Their petition drop successfully generated local media coverage, and prompted Hon. Weston to publicly respond to his constituents’ opposition to invasive, costly, and warrantless online surveillance legislation.
While the OpenMedia.ca West Vancouver Street Team has succesfully put targeted pressure on MP Weston, we have more work to do in calling on elected MPs to stand with Canadians and oppose online spying.
In the case of West Vancouver is a valuable starting point, but certainly not the expression of opposition to online spying that Canadians deserve.
The actions of the OpenMedia.ca West Vancouver Street Team demonstrated a succesful organizing model: bring together pro-Internet supporters through accessible local actions, which engage and educate constituents about how to oppose measures that would make the Internet less open and less affordable.
The next step is to build out and further engage and deepen our actions.