Identify Key Community Leaders
Having a small team of community leaders who share your vision will be really helpful as you begin to plan your community gathering. You should identify cross community leaders - leaders from immigrant communities and non-immigrant communities - invite them to co-create what the event will look like in your local community. These people will be very helpful for inviting people and spreading the word about the event so keep this in mind when identifying suitable leaders.
It might be helpful to have one planning meeting with this group of leaders to make sure everyone is on the same page and that everyone is willing to help organize various aspects of the event.
Gather Resources and a Venue
A Sambusa Sunday community gathering can be done on a very tight budget but you will need some resources so that you have tea and food for attendees. The original event organizers decided to serve Sambusas as they're a traditional Somali dish served at celebrations and gatherings but it's entirely up to you what you serve.
There are a couple of options for funding the cost of food and beverages. The organizers estimate that the cost for chai tea and sambusas is approximately $3 per person.
You could approach local businesses and ask them to sponsor this positive, community event by providing funding to cover the cost of the food / or by providing the food.
You could approach a local foundation / philanthropist to cover the cost. Given the current political and social climate, bringing communities together is a very important issue for many organizations and helping to sponsor an event like this presents a low-cost yet effective way of improving things
You could do a small local fundraising drive to ensure you have sufficient funds to cover the cost
Choosing a Venue
Parks and community centers are perfect locations for a community gathering like this. As the weather gets colder, an indoor option is preferable. The very first Sambusa Sunday took place at Loring Park, Minneapolis with over 2,000 people attending. Think about what venues are available in your local area and choose one that is safe and easily accessible to all.
Invite your Neighbors
In just 48 hours, the organizers of the first Sambusa Sunday community gathering mobilized over 2,000 people to attend the event. This was done through a combination of their personal networks and online outreach.
Once you've chosen a day for your event, you should start your community outreach. It makes sense to allow 1-2 weeks to organize and spread the word. Start with your own networks and the networks of your local community leaders, invite all your neighbors and friends. Remember the event can be as big or small as is right for your community. It can be a small gathering of 10-15 neighbors or a a much bigger event with hundreds of people coming together. It's entirely up to you!
Speak to your local faith groups, churches, synaogues, mosques and ask them to spread the word. Emphasise that this is an open and public event, free for everyone to attend. It is simply about bringing people together to let everyone know that we all stand together, particularly at a difficult time for our country.
Use social media to spread the word. You can set up your very own page on ChangeX where you can both organize the event and spread the word in your local area.
Register for your ChangeX page here
You'll need some volunteers to help with the organization and running of the event. The number of volunteers needed will really depend on the number of guests you expect.
Some of the roles that will need to be carried out include:
Depending on numbers, you'll need ushers to guide people into and around the venue
You'll need some volunteers to help with serving the food, tea and cleaning up afterwards
It's helpful to have people to help facilitate conversations, to help get conversations started and keep conversations going
If you're expecting non-English speakers, it may be helpful to have interpreters who can help ensure everyone can communicate easily
Host Your Event
Now that all the organizing is done, it's time to host your event! There's no need for any big speeches, maybe just welcome people along and then let them mix and get to know their neighbors.
It is a good idea to invite along media as it's important to get the story out in your neighborhood and spread the good news story of communities coming together. It may also inspire many more communities to host a similar event.
Have fun and enjoy getting to know your know your neighbors!!