October 17, 2014
by dbkey
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The next few weeks on Third Place: Countdown to Election 2014

Please tune in to 3dP during these final weeks for our independent and uncensored look at candidates for the 6th Congressional district. Election Day is fast approaching on November 4th. Here’s your chance to get informed on Thursdays at 6:30a and 5:30p, Sundays at 11:30a and again the following week. All shows will also be archived on mixcloud.com/3dP for your edification and convenience.

October 1, 2014
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: What Connects Us

When I first got involved with WHYR’s parent organization,  the Baton Rouge Progressive Network (BRPN), in 2009, I kept meeting people who expressed how oppressive Baton Rouge felt when it came to simply voicing their progressive or liberal beliefs. These stories echoed the sense of silencing and isolation I had long felt growing up in Baton Rouge. Seeing as I had since connected to a community that dissolved my own sense of isolation, it seemed appropriate as a board member of BRPN to advocate for and create spaces in which others could connect and do the same – especially since the practice advances the “unite” portion of BRPN’s mission to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action. The “P.S. Progressive Social” was born.

From the beginning, the socials were a hit – and not just for the attendees, but for us organizers as well. We at BRPN discovered that the P.S. was not just an antidote to sociopolitical isolation and frustration, but also an important practice in avoiding burnout for those of us who dedicate much of our “free” time to unpaid work. The socials were invariably fun, energizing, and life-affirming. (Later, I came across the formal concepts of community building and bonding social capital, which immediately validated the seemingly fluffy practice of hosting socials as a substantial service to Baton Rouge progressives, one that fulfills a true need.) Unfortunately, the socials have sometimes taken a backseat to the other business of running an all-volunteer nonprofit and community radio station, but we’re once again committing to hosting these quarterly socials to connect progressive-minded individuals and community activists across organizations and issues.

This leads to another question that’s been posed over the years: what does “progressive” mean to us? For many, being progressive means caring about specific issues like the environment, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, gender equality, economic justice, etc.  Yet typically, a single individual who considers themselves progressive cares about many of these issues. As an organization dedicated to strengthening Baton Rouge’s progressive community, we began looking beyond the issues themselves to the underlying values that connect us in our seemingly varied concerns. To finally arrive at some sort of answer to this important question for ourselves and others, we as an organization engaged in a process of developing core values (ideals, principles and standards to guide our actions and programs).

To construct this set of core values, we naturally started with a social, inviting attendees to indicate which progressive values resonated most with them.

values of change

We then conducted a “values scan” among board members and volunteers to gauge their top personal and progressive values. From there, we met to discuss, condense, synthesize and prioritize, leading to our list of values. What does “progressive” mean to us? Find out here. If this set of values speaks to you, I encourage you to join us on Thursday, October 23 from 6-8pm for our next Progressive Social. We are not alone. There is much that connects us, and shared values and opportunities for social connection are something to support and celebrate.

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Strengthening the network of progressives in BR is our cause. Our mission is to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action.

Have questions for us? Visit our WHYR website, BRPN website, or email info@whyr.org.

Interested in volunteering on a committee or contributing something specific according to your skill set? Email us at volunteer@whyr.org.

Want to connect with other progressives in BR? Join us for our next Progressive Social in October.

September 8, 2014
by rebecca.marchiafava
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From the Backstage: Board Chair Updates

Two years ago, BRPN/WHYR was struggling. A core group of dedicated volunteer-leaders was burning out after years of impressive and intense work building the station, and the future of the organization was uncertain. 

At that time, I had recently returned to Baton Rouge. I officially rejoined the BRPN Board and was soon elected to replace our previous Chair who was stepping down to focus on other personal, professional, and community engagements. In addition to Board leadership and the governance-related duties that entailed, I was also fulfilling roles in communications, building management, volunteer engagement, and event organizing while holding down a full-time job and trying to deal with whatever else life was throwing at me. As you might imagine, I had way too much on my plate and a lot was going undone.

Over the past five years that I’ve been involved with the Baton Rouge Progressive Network and in my past two years as Board Chair, I’ve learned numerous lessons about unpaid work and leadership in a volunteer-run organization. 

One of the largest lessons was personal. I had to learn how to balance my involvement with my paid work, chores and errands, time with loved ones, and meaningful self-care that supports my mental-emotional-physical health. This balance consists of setting boundaries; prioritizing and encouraging others to prioritize other areas of life; separating immediate and necessary tasks from longer-term ideals, wants and goals; and making peace with moving slowly while building our capacity to do more and do better. It also involved figuring out what kind of work I and others actually want to do through our involvement. Building management? So not my thing. Communications? Gimme!

In addition to balance, it became obvious that a healthy community culture is key to building a sustainable organization. Those of us who come together to collaborate on a cause are a community, and for communities to thrive requires establishing and adhering to positive community values and norms. Regardless of one’s passion for a cause, most of us are only willing to remain involved if our participation adds value to our lives – especially in cases of unpaid work. Where we don’t benefit financially, we must reap benefits from building quality relationships and feeling like our time is spent effectively creating positive change that wouldn’t have existed or occurred otherwise. Process and product both matter, and community culture should be an incentive, not a barrier, to civic engagement. This is why we’ve challenged ourselves to establish and maintain a safe, supportive, and empowering community space. In doing so, we’ve grown our volunteer base and are thriving. I look around at what we’ve built and sustained together, and I’m awe-struck. We have a ways to go, but we’re getting there. 

Strengthening the network of progressives in BR is our cause. Our mission is to educate and unite our communities to advocate and establish progressive policy and social action. 

Have questions for us? Visit our WHYR website, BRPN website, or email info@whyr.org.

Interested in volunteering on a committee or contributing something specific according to your skill set? Email us at volunteer@whyr.org.

Want to connect with other progressives in BR? Join us for our next Progressive Social in October.

August 13, 2014
by dbkey
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Baton Rouge Drinking Water: This week’s Third Place

Please tune in to 3dP this week for the first in a two part series honoring National Water Quality Month. Taylor Spicer and I interview several guests who are intimately aware of the issues to take a comprehensive look at the history and many facets of the ongoing struggle to manage the Southern Hills Aquifer in a sustainable way.  If you don’t know all about the water you bathe in, cook with and drink each day, you probably should.  Here’s your chance on Thursday at 5:30p, Sunday at 11:30a, next Thursday at 6:30a and again the following week.

AHT and Taylor

Pssst, pass it on…