May 13th was the VTU's first official Member Meeting, organized by the Interim Steering Committee. Here's what happened...
Item 1: Community Agreements
The meeting started with introducing our Community Agreements, which will be a critical component to all our meetings. They are:
1. One-mic - means to respect each others speaking time.
2. Speak Up/Listen Up - means that people who are comfortable should step up on their listening skills and people who tend not to speak should step up speaking more.
3. Break It Down - explaining words or phrases that are unclear/ inaccessible.
4. Respect Each Other - oppressive behaviour will not be tolerated.
5. Challenge Ideas, Not People - disagreements should be expressed with what people have said and not the people themselves.
6. Be Present
7. Take Care Of Yourself - do what is best for your physical and emotional well being
Item 2: Round of introductions for everyone present
Item 3: Discussion about advocacy & the VTU's tenant organizing goals
Training our members to be tenant organizers (TOs)
Building up our legal advocate support team (which is really big right now thanks to Liam and Justin’s networks) to work in tandem with TOs
Helping tenants individually where needed
More ideally, helping tenants connect and take actions collectively with others in their buildings and independently
Bringing these tenants into VTU training so they can learn to help others
Helping tenants celebrate their victories
Item 4: Introducing Working Groups:
1. West End Tenants Forum (for end of May)
2. Car Free Day Booths (June)
3. Planning Renovictions Forum
4. Demonstration Kit Committee
5. Fundraising Committee
Item 5: VTU First Convention Planning
-Aiming for date in the Fall
-Elect Union Leadership
-Write our Constitution/By-laws
-Tenant Union knowledge sharing with organizers in the US
Next General Membership Meeting set for June 10th. Time & Location TBA