West Side Rag Huddle Photo 1
Attendees at last week’s Upper West Side Huddle.

By Jacqueline Leitzes

Last week, a group of more than 30 people – almost exclusively women – gathered at the New York Society for Ethical Culture for an Upper West Side Next Step Huddle.

What is a Huddle you may ask?

Well, it is part of the “10 Actions in the First 100 Days Campaign” from the Women’s March (the official organizers of last month’s marches around the globe) – and its purpose is to “gather your community and plan what’s next” in the wake of the current political climate.

Advertised as “a positive, inclusive, and action-oriented local meeting where marchers and allies can gather together to define our next steps as a movement,” the event’s organizers Nicole Brownstein and Caylin Nieto said the event reached capacity almost immediately – even after it moved from a smaller location to the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

West Side Rag Huddle Photo L2R Caylin and Nicole
Caylin Nieto and Nicole Brownstein.

Upon entering, all participants were asked to fill out a name-tag with their first name as well as one word to describe their current state of being. And while most “states” were rather bleak – responses included overwhelmed, pissed, angry, confused, agitated, and the image of a frowning face – the word hopeful was spotted on at least one attendee.

And hope became more evident as the evening progressed.

One of the main goals of the Next Step Huddle was to come up with a variety of concrete actions for attendees to take to effect change in the community, and after some mingling and an introductory exercise, the organizers successfully led both group discussions and breakout sessions to make that happen.

When asked what the motivation was to hold this Next Step Huddle, one of the organizers said, “By being proactive, I will feel better at the end of the day.” It was evident that the group shared that sentiment, for when asked at the end of the evening if they would be interested in meeting again, all hands raised enthusiastically – a sure indication this is just the beginning.

To learn more about the Upper West Side Next Step Huddle efforts, please email Nicole Brownstein and Caylin Nieto directly at upperwestsidehuddle@gmail.com.

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