VANCOUVER, March 21, 2014 /CNW/ - Over 600 people and invited guests, including local civic, faith and community leaders, gathered on March 19th to celebrate the founding of Metro Vancouver Alliance, a new organization working together to bring real change to the Lower Mainland.
Metro Vancouver Alliance is comprised of 40 affiliated organizations, representing 200,000 people in the Greater Vancouver area. Members of MVA come from all walks of life: union locals, faith congregations, youth groups, neighborhood houses, co-ops, academic departments and community non-profits.
The organization is based on the Industrial Areas Foundation model of community organizing. This model has over 60 active community alliances across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia and has had success around the world: most notably in England, where Citizens UK persuaded the London Olympic Games Committee to become a living wage employer.
MVA's Lead Organizer Deborah Littman explains.
"Community organizations like MVA operate on the principle of 'power before program'. In other words, we build strong relationships amongst diverse groups in the community, come together to listen to our members' concerns, agree on issues that can be worked on together, and then move forward with a campaign."
Over the past nine months MVA member organizations have been running a 'listening campaign'. In church halls and union offices, living rooms and coffee shops, MVA members have been talking to each other about what matters most to them.
"Housing, Poverty, Transit, and Social Isolation emerged as the four issues that our members agreed we all had in common." says Carlos Moreira, Vice-President of UNIFOR Local 111, one of MVA's affiliated labour unions.
"Moving forward, teams of MVA members will research how these issues impact people in the Lower Mainland. We will then formulate practical, achievable solutions and develop campaigns designed to mobilize and engage the public and secure commitments from politicians of all parties in the municipal elections coming up in November."
Reverend Margaret Marquard, Chair of the Eco-Justice Unit of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, co-chaired the MVA Founding Assembly on March 19th.
"I'm tremendously proud of the work MVA has done so far," she says, "and I'm looking forward to the work we'll be doing. It's exciting and empowering to be part of a diverse organization - faith, labour, and community, all of us finding our common ground, and working on common issues."
SOURCE: Metro Vancouver Alliance
For further information:
Patrick Bragg, 778 383 1773