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Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Setting up an information table at a local concert is a great way to help build a culture of anti-racism in your community. Tabling allows you to meet like-minded people and help initiate and promote a dialogue about overcoming bigotry and hatred. It is also an effective way to reach out to a large number of people in a relatively unthreatening and relaxed atmosphere. Actually, your information table adds to the concertgoer's experience, by introducing them to a supportive network of people working for and caring about justice and equality.

The first step in making your table successful is setting some specific goals. What do you want to accomplish? Are you looking to start up a group of your peers? Do you want to spread information about the ideas and issues that you feel are important? Are you interested in working with a larger national or regional organization?

Whatever your goals, your next step will be to find a local band or concert venue that is friendly or at least receptive to your issues. A local support network is the key to building a lasting social movement. Each time you table you have the opportunity to expand your network and help others to get involved.

Put together a list of addresses, email addresses and phone numbers so you can keep contact with potential supporters. Be sure to talk to each of the bands that played and ask the manager of the venue if you can come back for other shows. Leave your number with a band member or venue owner but also ask for their numbers as well so you can contact them in the future. Be persistent and get right to the point-bands, venue managers, and promoters are very busy. You cannot solely rely on a band to promote your cause. They can offer a helping hand, but in the end they cannot build a movement for you.

If you get turned down, try again. Don't get discouraged; keep trying even if you are not immediately successful. Sooner or later, you will find the right mix of support within your local scene. Remember to be creative and non-exclusive; reach out to every scene from punk rock, to hip-hop, dance and techno, to country, pop, and folk. If your peers are going to be at an event or concert, make sure that you and your table are there also. You will be surprised at how many people will be willing to lend support. If you get close to a band, branch out and ask if they might be willing to take you on the road with them for a weekend tour or to an out of town show. At the least, they might be willing to take your information along on their tour.

Selling merchandise to raise money is a great way to support your group and get enough money for a post office box, photocopying expenses, and other costs associated with building your network. Don't feel that you must have a ton of merchandise to sell at your table right away. Pins and stickers are a relatively cheap and easy way to raise money and spread your message at the same time. Be sure to talk to the venue manger about selling your stuff before the show. Tell them how helpful the sales from the merchandise will be to your fundraising efforts.

Once your table is up and running, use it to network with other local, regional, and national organizations. Contact like-minded organizations and request copies of their literature and publications to help enhance your table.

When creating a sign-up sheet, or contact information for others to get in touch with you, be sure to include a few options such as e-mail, a P.O Box address and telephone number. You can sign up for free voicemail boxes on-line from services like www.onebox.com. It is very important to be responsible and timely about returning calls, emails, and letters. Remember though, not everyone may be happy about what you're doing, so don't use your home phone number or address.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 July 2004 )
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