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Hundreds of Kentuckians joined VOCAL-KY in Winchester for a three-day Organizing Revival to ground themselves in the most effective powerbuilding strategies to end the drug war, homelessness and racialized discrimination in all of Kentucky’s 120 counties and all across the country.

“This is an opportunity to get ahead and to finally be proactive in the fights that we need to win to make sure people can survive and thrive, not only in our cities, in our towns, our hoods and our hollers, but all over our nation!” These are the words Shameka Parrish-Wright, executive director of VOCAL-KY chose to open the first-ever Kentucky Organizing Revival, a three-day gathering in the eastern part of the state.

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VOCAL-KY, a People’s Action member group whose work in Appalachia to combat the opioid crisis was recently featured by the Ford Foundation, works with sister VOCAL organizations in New York City and Texas to end the AIDS epidemic, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and homelessness across the country. “We fight for systemic change rooted in justice, compassion, and love,” VOCAL says in their mission statement. “We approach this work with a firm belief in reducing harm and ending stigma, and the knowledge that the issues impacting our communities are driven by institutional oppression, not personal failings.”

VOCAL-KY organized this Organizing Revival gathering at the New Day Recovery Center in Winchester, with community partners including Louisville SURJ, Dove Delegates, Forward Justice Action Network, the Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign, Kairos Fellowship, Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, The People’s University, Dream.org, and Young People in Recovery KY.

Workshops included deep dives into the most effective techniques of community organizing and strategic planning, including basebuilding, power analysis and self interest, as well as how to use data and digital media to supercharge campaigns.

“We’re so excited about the Organizing Revival because it’s past time to get back to the principles of why we come together as a people to fight for social justice and for social change.],” said Parrish-Wright. “Thank you, People’s Action, for having an idea to move our cities and state forward with the Organizing Revival.”

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