Social and environmental justice groups meet to discuss collaboration

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COLUMBIA – Social and environmental justice organizers in the area planned to meet Thursday to address how they might work together.

With the new administration going into office, along with the new year, groups in Columbia viewed this time as a chance to get together. 

Around 20 representatives signed up to explain their mission and work to inform others in the community at this event called “What We Can Do: Activism in Action.”

Each representative will introduce themselves, the main focus of the individual organizations and what they are working for in the new year.

People at the meeting can choose what they want to discuss and can consider different issues at the event.

The topics include how to work together across issues and demographics, how overcome barriers and how to address privilege.

The representatives will also address what is most pressing, troubling or inspiring to them and collaborate on how they can help each other’s cause.

The idea is that if some groups in our community can unify, they would have a stronger presence and bigger influence for positive change.

Gladys Swan, the event creator, said one of the main goals of the event is to provide a place where people can come together, get new ideas and meet people. 

"To come together for what we really believe in. To stand together as a unity, to work as a unity for the things that threaten us now, which are a climate of hatred, division, racism and threats to the climate," Swan said. 

Local groups and chapters with national ties will be at the meeting.

Perry Lynn Bigsoldier will be attending the event for Protectors of Water and Land Columbia Missouri. 

He said it's important to know what's going on around us. 

"I hope to get from this evening is just raising awareness and helping others raise awareness with what's going on in our world," Bigsoldier said.

A list of the groups that are confirmed and have agreed to send a representative are as follows:

The Center Project

Co-Counseling Group

CoMo for Progress

Democratic Socialists of America

The Collective Uncomfortable

Mizzou Hillel


Mid-Missouri Peaceworks

NOW (National Organization for Women)

Our Revolution

Protectors of Water and Land

Race Matters, Friends

Sanctuary City Singers

Sierra Club

Unitarian Universalist

We Are CoMo

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

The event is free and open to the public, and will take place at 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Orr Street Studios in Columbia.