If you think it's pretty cool that the G-20 summit is coming to the ‘burgh in September, get this: Netroots Nation is coming in August.
At least 2,000 cutting-edge grassroots activist bloggers are expected when Netroots convenes here August 13-16.
The Nation (http://www.netrootsnation.org/) spawned from the movement toward political organizing on the Internet, taking its name from "grassroots" and "Internet." It is a loose community - anyone can join, as a blogger, a reader and a commenter - and is making the environment and a green-jobs economy the focus of this convention, said Mary Rickles, a Nation spokesman.
The Nation is hoping to send as many cash-strapped members as possible with a fund-raiser this Thursday at the Harris Theater Downtown - a premiere screening of "The Garden." The movie, about a communal garden in south-central Los Angeles threatened by corrupt land schemes and development, starts at 6:30 p.m., with a Q&A session afterward. Admission is $10.
Those who attend will get a sneak preview of what a Netroots Nation convention looks like. All proceeds will go to PA VOICE and the Black Political Empowerment Project for scholarships to the conference.
Here's what Los Angeles Times film critic Kenenth Turan had to say about the film:
"It's tempting to call ‘The Garden' a story of innocence and experience, of evil corrupting paradise, but that would be doing a disservice to the fascinating complexities of a classic Los Angeles conflict and an excellent documentary that does them full justice."
Netroots Nation, in just four years, has blossomed into a political force that, in just its second year, held a presidential forum in Chicago.
Labor and environmental activists, Move On activists, community advocates and the politically underserved all have responded, said Ms. Rickles. "It creates the opportunity for people to gather to talk about policy, to get trained and to organize."
Some background from Ms. Rickles:
The origin of Netroots Nation is traced to a time when a tremendous and growing number of citizens gathered every day in the virtual world to raise their collective voice and proactively influence their government. That group is broadly called the Netroots and has since grown to include progressive organizations and politicians who use new media technologies to communicate with their constituents.
The convention rebranded to Netroots Nation in 2007 in an effort to more accurately reflect the makeup of its audience and mission of implementing programs that teach and empower Netroots communities to affect change in the public sphere. Netroots Nation is committed to fostering a legacy of environmental stewardship. We believe we have a responsibility to not only green our event, but to use our gathering to educate others about sustainability issues. Netroots Nation 2009 will be held at the first and largest certified “green” convention center in the world (Gold LEED certified) and will incorporate green practices such as minimizing waste and donating leftover food to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
"Most organizations and campaigns are moving in this direction," she said. "These are people who are both on-line as bloggers and on the ground in their communities."