ROC Leaders join Movement Building Convening

This July, ROC members have been participating in the third annual Movement Building Convening. This convening is being sponsored by Community Change, a national organization supporting the resident network in Oregon, to bring together advocates in Washington, California, and Louisiana, each with their own active resident led organizing networks. Each year, this event brings together resident leaders from state networks to share stories, learn together, and build relationships. This year, the training is happening online over four weeks and  seven sessions.

The four states are represented in this gathering by affordable housing residents and advocates dedicating their time to housing justice. Oregon, Washington, California, and Louisiana are building deeper relationships and getting comfortable with sharing their personal stories and expertise when it comes to speaking about housing for all. Two ROC members were chosen to become Housing Justice Fellows to spend time to create the training and experience for all participants. ROC is still a new network, but our participation in this event has been evident and inspiring! 

Meet a founding ROC member and read about her experience of becoming one of this years’ Housing Justice Fellows:

My name is Char Reavis and I am a ROC member and member of the ROC steering committee; I am also an appointed commissioner who is a resident on the Homes for Good board of commissioners and Chair to that board. I have been honored to be chosen, along With TomiRene Hettman, to be a Housing Justice Fellow representing Oregon and ROC, as leaders. It is an amazing experience

Q: What has this experience been like for you, as a fellow?

A: I hope that all of our ROC members will get this honor in the future, why? ..because this training is essential to our advocating as ROC members, it challenges us to look deep inside and fix our insecurities, and to believe in ourselves, which in turn helps us to become awesome self-confident leaders to further our advocacy for housing justice for all.

Q: What have you learned during your fellowship? How has this challenged your beliefs?

A: The training is amazing! I must admit that in the beginning of this journey it was an uncomfortable challenge.  I had to speak with my mentor and tell them I felt a bit overwhelmed and I was not sure I was doing things correctly. She firmly told me that I was right on task that I was chosen by ROC because they believed in my leadership abilities and that now I had to just believe it inside of my whole being! “Wow”, I thought this was awesome and amazing encouragement!  This forced me to look inside myself and face my insecurities my self-doubt and to acknowledge that those feelings were caused by oppression, that even though my brain was giving me those messages, they were blocking messages, provided by years of rhetoric that found its way into my brain and  caused me to second guess that my ideas were great and on task. Being supported by my mentor, Aida Cuadrado Bozzo from Community Change, who has encouraged me to believe in my abilities was empowering. It taught me that if I wanted to truly advocate for change then those self-doubting messages needed to go!

Q: What has your role been as a Fellow?

A: At the beginning of this journey the fellows were entrusted with a task and split into 3 different groups. My group is the culture group our task was to develop the opening and closing for each day of the conference, with the theme being culture. Our team was given the exciting opportunity to develop on our own the theme and discussion for each opening and closing.

This journey has been enlightening and allowed me to grow in new and exciting ways, such as facing and examining my white privilege as I was reminded about by my team mate and to truly look in my heart and acknowledge the injustice our country practices towards people of color, people who have disabilities and generally any one that is different than society thinks they should be.

Q: Why do you continue to participate in ROC?

A: I am truly grateful for this opportunity and plan to use my new skills and knowledge to advocate for housing justice to work as a team with others to improve access equity and affordability to housing. Because every person has a right to a healthy affordable place to call home!