How To Form a Multiracial Support Group in Your Area
This is a synopsis of information on how to form a multiracial support group in your area. The information was extracted from Brown, N. and Douglass, R. (1996) Making the Invisible Visible: The Growth of Community Network Organizations. In M.P.P. Root(Ed.), The Multiracial Experience: Racial Borders as the New Frontier (pp 323-340). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
The process of forming a multiracial support group requires four major processes: research, creating an initial meeting, the first meeting and beyond and connections with national activities.RESEARCH
Investigate multiracial groups that already exist and their locations, organizational structure, bylaws and mission. Get copies of their newsletters if possible. Define your potential participants. Multiracial adults, interracial couples with and without children, and adults who have adopted transracially/culturally are all potential members. There are also many people, not interracially involved that feel strongly about the issues, so include them as well. Network with others who share your interest in starting a group. If you have at least three people you can plan your first meeting.CREATING AN INITIAL MEETING
Determine your method(s) of publicity (flyers to hang or send, paid advertisement or free announcements in newspaper, radio, TV and internet) Include meeting details such as location, time and purpose.
Be careful to target the people you wish to attend. Pay attention to safety issues when publicizing the address and phone numbers of the hosts.THE FIRST MEETING-EIGHT TASKS
- Welcome and ice breaker go around. Include the sharing of names, how they learned of group, their expectations for how the group will serve or benefit them and/or their family.
- Prioritize their goals in categories of social/educational/ political as well as short vs. long-term.
- Identify activities of interest to the group.
- Look at available people power and resources needed to organize and carry out activities.
- Pick a name for the group.
- Decide on organizational structure: nonprofit, association, chapter or affiliate of another organization. The benefits of becoming a nonprofit is the tax-exempt status and ability to solicit funding for grants.
- Issues of leadership, positions, terms of office and voting procedures should be defined. Guidelines to assist in this process are available at nonprofit management agencies that exist in most major cities.
- Decide if your organization is interested in publishing a newsletter. You may want a logo and/or business cards.
These tasks may take an undetermined number of meetings to accomplish. This will depend upon the degree to which your core members are committed, organized, energetic and responsible. It is a great benefit if the organizers have some knowledge of group process and facilitation, as well as a high level or communication and organizational skills. Other essential components include
- frequency and structure of meetings
- meeting chairperson
- written or verbal agenda
- method of communication between meetings.
A cohesive group will evolve with identifiable goals and shared vision.LOCAL/NATIONAL ACTIVITIES
- Currently, any organized local group can become an affiliate of AMEA with ten signatures and payment of annual dues. This entitles the group to participate in the decisionmaking and growth of AMEA by attendance at the annual AMEA meeting of your groups' representative. We encourage the collaboration of all our affiliates across the country, with AMEA, to fulfill the goal of continuing to learn and raise the consciousness of all Americans and residents of areas outside the United States about our multiracial experience.GOOD LUCK STARTING YOUR GROUP!
|Respectfully submitted by||Nancy G. Brown|
AMEA Vice President
MASC/ Cofounder/Past President