Your City, Your Voice is a series of activist trainings developed by Transportation Alternatives’ renowned team of community organizers. Hear the lessons learned in their years of hyper-local, grassroots political activism. Absorb the tools and tactics that contributed to winning campaigns to change New York’s speed limit, and introduce innovations like protected bike lanes, bike share, and speed cameras to city streets.
You’ll be taught how to engage with your neighbors and organize a successful local campaign -- valuable lessons that could apply to the fight for a protected bike lane, or an effort to protect a community garden, or a campaign to advocate for better food access for your community. Your City, Your Voice is an adaptable activist training on effective community organizing tools that can help you achieve a wide array of goals.
All trainings take place at TransAlt's office at 111 John Street, Suite 260.
Your City, Your Voice: A Complete Introduction to Activism
Saturday, April 13th, 11am - 6pm
This all-day training is a crash course in how to get involved in activism, designed to give you the organizing tools that you will need to run a successful activist campaign. During the seven hour training, you will be introduced to powerful activists from the five boroughs and beyond, and learn specific tactics for effective activism, including but not limited to: anti-oppression and intersectional activism; campaign planning; public speaking; social media organizing; coalition building; and interacting with elected officials. Lunch and snacks are provided.
Your City, Your Voice: Intermediate and Advanced Training Day
Saturday, May 18th, 11am - 6pm
During this intensive all-day training you will learn advanced advocacy skills.
The day will be divided into four "rounds," and every round will provide a choice for participants to take one of three classes. Each round is one and a half hours long.
Below are descriptions of the trainings that will be available during each round.
YCYV 201: Introduction to Real New York City Civics
This training is a recommended follow-up to Your City, Your Voice 101 focusing on the systems of advocacy, appointments, and elections that govern New York City. You will learn how all the levels of local government intersect, the roles and powers of appointed and elected officials, and most importantly, how talking to the right people at the right time can advance your cause. This module is designed to give you the scoop on how politics works in reality, beyond what you learned in high school civics.
YCYV 202: Storytelling for Activists: A Writing and Design Workshop
The success of any activist campaign depends on the ability to effectively communicate. Learn how to market your campaign, shift tone for varying audiences, and the most effective ways to communicate your message in words and pictures. This training will include a graphics primer that works even for the most novice designers and an in-person writing workshop and critique to help you hone your message.
YCYV 203: Event Planning and Attendance
In activism, public events are an effective demonstration of political support. This training will focus on the best ways to draw a crowd at an event, mobilizing coalition partners and their supporters, and tips for preparing your supporters for the event. Transportation Alternatives organizers will share lessons learned from hosting over 500 events a year, and enabling thousands of New Yorkers to participate in politics in all five boroughs.
YCYV 204: Organizing Through Social Media: Beyond the Basics
Social media has the ability to multiply the effectiveness of activism. This training on using social media to amplify activist campaigns is applicable to digital natives and old-school activists alike. You will learn the ins and outs of hashtag activism, best practices to grow your social media base, and how to use tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to apply political pressure.
YCYV 205: How to Overcome Campaign Hurdles
Power Mapping is a strategic tool for activists to determine how to use political pressure for maximum effectiveness. In this training, take a deep dive into how to navigate the murky power relationships that influence decision makers. You will learn about local political clubs, historic party machines, and the power dynamics that could make or break your campaign.
YCYV 206: How to Cultivate Leadership
Social Mapping is a growth tactic that can boost your political power, by boosting up your friends and neighbors. Learn how to juggle events, materials, and press calls as your campaign grows by cultivating leadership in your supporters. This training will guide you through the steps to building a sustainable leadership structure that will help your campaign persevere, successful meeting structures, and effective communication strategies for your leadership team.
YCYV 301: Kicking Off Your New Campaign
Many of us have jumped into a campaign mid-stream, learned the ropes, and even triumphantly won important changes. Many of us have also struggled to take those victories and transition them to the next big thing. Join this training to learn what it takes to start something entirely new, grow momentum, and attract a critical mass of supporters. What it takes to start a campaign is often entirely different than what it takes to finish one!
YCYV 302: Everything Else You Wanted to Know About NYC Government
Skilled TransAlt organizers return to the complicated subject of how New York City politics works in real life. This training makes accessible the inner workings of the county committees, political clubs, and even judgeships, and how these interact with the decisions of community boards, elected officials, and city agencies. Understanding how politics in NYC works is the first step to understanding how to win campaigns and make change.
YCYV 303: Thinking Like Your Decision Maker
Every campaign is working to win the support of key decision makers -- these are people, often elected officials (but not always!) -- who can help make our campaign goals a reality. What factors into their decisions? Join this workshop as we dig deeper into the question “Who is the key decision maker, and what makes them tick”?
YCYV 304: Media Training: Engage the Media Like a Pro
Any successful campaign has leaders who are able to convincingly convey their messages to the press. But talking to the press can be easier said than done. Attend this training to learn how to effectively message to the media, speak confidently to the camera, and get your point across to key audiences.
YCYV 305: “I Did My Own Study!”: Practical Research for Campaigning
Powerful, pointed research is essential for any campaign. But what makes research practical? Join TransAlt’s resident researcher as we learn how to direct our research questions to amplify our campaigns. Learn how to identify research that can be done with your community group, can garner media attention, and inspire people to take to the streets to demand change.
YCYV 306: Defense Against the Dark Arts: Fending Off Common Oppositional Tricks.
TransAlt organizers have seen it all. And if you’ve ever left a community meeting feeling confused, disempowered, dejected, or alienated, it’s likely because some participants were practicing the “Dark Arts”. At this training, learn to recognize some common oppositional tricks used by opponents of safer, more people-friendly streets (as well as WHY they can be effective). The good news is that every strategy has a counter-strategy, so come to this training to really be prepared for anything.