Portland Raging Grannies Membership Guidelines

Revised – 04/01/19

Membership Criteria and Meetings

The Portland Raging Grannies is part of the International Raging Grannies, a social activist movement started in 1987 in Victoria, B.C.

  • Membership is open to all who identify as women and are over the age of 50.
  • You do not have to be a grandmother to be a member.
  • You do not have to have singing experience or even have a good singing voice to be a member.
  • Each Granny is expected to attend at least three meetings and participate in at least one action annually.
  • At any time, a Granny can choose to become inactive and then reactivate her status by attending a meeting and paying her dues.
  • Meetings will be from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm on the third Saturday of each month with the exception of three months per year when we will have afternoon meeting from 2:00-5:00. Throughout the year we may have educational events, singing rehearsals and social gatherings.
  • We alternate meeting locations between the east and west side of Portland
  • Dues are $3/ month or $35 per year and should be paid to the treasurer. Dues are collected once a year in July. You can join at any time of the year and pay pro-rated dues. Scholarships are available. Dues are used for items such as (but not limited to) rental space for meetings, posters and banners, business cards, buttons, website fee, props, instruments, parade entry fees and contributions to organizations we support,
  • A potential Granny starts by attending a monthly meeting.
    • She needs to first attend a monthly meeting before participating in an action as a Portland Raging Granny.
    • At her first meeting she will be assigned a mentor.
    • The mentor will give her the orientation materials which she should review before participating in an action.
    • After participating in two meetings and one action she can become an official Granny by paying her dues.
    • Her mentor will then help her register for the PRG member listserve and if she desires the optional FYI listserve.
  • At any time a Granny can become inactive and reactivate her status by meeting membership requirement.
  • We ask all Grannies participating in an Action to adhere to the “Portland Raging Grannies’ Code of Conduct.”

Gaggle Team Structure

  • Each granny must belong to at least one team.  This is a way to focus on specific causes as well as to develop comradary in smaller groups.
  • Each team will have a leader (or co-leaders), a scribe, and a representative to the Advisory Council.
  • Teams will determine what events in their area of focus they want to recommend to the gaggle.
  • Teams will send out the doodle, determine the point person, and communicate to those who sign up the date, time, place, songs (in coordination with the song committee), and be the liaison to the community group sponsoring the event.
  • The selected point person or an additional media person will be our representative for any contact with the press at the event.
  • The PRG does not charge or accept donations for appearances.

Portland Raging Grannies Code of Conduct

(Please see separate documents Why Do the Portland Raging Grannies Need a Code of Conduct?” and Portland Raging Granny’s Policy on Civil Disobedience)

  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support peace, we will only use non-violent means of protest. We will not support or encourage others in acts of violence toward people and property.
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support social justice, we will step forward in support and solidarity when we witness injustice and we will step back when those who have been denied a voice need to be heard;
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support human rights, we will respect the worth and dignity of others, even those with whom we disagree. We will be sensitive to the beliefs and feelings of others. We will not use sexist, racist, or profane language. We will not try to outshout our opponents.
  • Because the Portland Raging Grannies support environmental protection, we will respect the earth and not damage the places where we gather. 

Initiating/Organizing a Portland Raging Granny Action

All requests for a Portland Raging Grannies Action need to follow these steps:

  • If any granny knows of an upcoming event that fits with a particular team (or multiple teams) she should contact the leader of the team with all the pertinent information.  If the team decides to coordinate our gaggle’s participation in the event the original granny can send it to the FYI List.
  • Endorsement Policy:  Teams can decide on actions to participate in and petitions/letters to endorse and members at large have 48 hours to object.  When it is an action, an email is sent to the member list with a Doodle, when it is a petition or letter, it is send as an email to the member list.

Action Participation

  • Whenever identified as a Granny by wearing (1) Granny Garb (2) a Granny t-shirt or (3) a Granny Sash, you are representing the PRG and it is necessary to adhere to the “PRG Code of Conduct”.
  • People may want information about becoming a PRG.  They should be referred to the PRG web site at https://portlandraginggrannies.com
  • If you have a request for an interview, refer the reporter to the spokesperson assigned for the action.  
  • If someone wants to know who the PRG’s are, an appropriate response would be:  :The Portland Raging Grannies is a social activist group in support of social justice, human rights, and environmental protection”.  
  • Many members of PRG are involved in one or more social justice activities and may be interviewed as individuals.  If it is NOT an official granny action, you may wear pins but it is not appropriate to inform that the views you may express are those of the PRG.  

Levels of Action

  • Planned Events: These events must be approved by either the appropriate action team or a minimum of five Grannies who have committed to participate.  (Doodles/scheduling emails are sent out so we have a count of who is attending.) Such events are coordinated by a point person, and include full Granny garb and song rehearsal beforehand. Either the point person or a separate spokesperson speaks for the group.
  • T-Shirt Action: Sometimes we want to show our support for a cause but have not been invited to be part of the program OR have less than the 5 required members committed to attending.  For such events Grannies are encouraged to attend wearing Granny t-shirts and/or sashes and buttons. We do not wear our Granny hates to such actions. (T-shirts may be purchased at:  http:/www.radicaljack.com/ragrtsh.html. This action needs to be approved by the appropriate team or a Granny may attend as an individual without PRG identifies (T-shirts, etc.).
  • Somber Attire: (This attire can b e substituted at the planned event level or at the T-shirt level when the point person or team so decides).  There are increasingly more occasions when we want to show our support in respectful ways and where our usual Granny attire is not appropriate. For such times we encourage Grannies to wear black, undecorated hats and clothing, and possibly sashes.  Wearing black in the choice of the individual. If organizers request specific colors Grannies should make an effort to add the colors.
  • Individual Participation. These are events that do not require advisory group approval and grannies may put out an FYI e-mail for others to come, but not identify as Grannies. No Granny attire, buttons, etc. If uncertain, consult the Grand Grannies.

(Note: It is fine to wear your buttons and t-shirts out and about, but not at political events. This is to avoid inadvertently associating our group with an event we do not have a consensus about supporting.)

Description of Granny Attire  

  • Full Granny Garb:  Colorful and eccentric hats, aprons, long skirts, sometimes white gloves etc. can be pulled together to complete the look.  The goal is to plan with the stereotypical “granny look”. Although we are playful in our attire, we want to be sensitive that we do not mock such images as “bag ladies” or the culture of how many women dress up.
  • Each granny can choose her costume to express her persona as an activist.  This may include dressing as a parody of the stereotypical middle-class grandmother.  
  • Grannies may wear skirts, dresses, pants, gloves, aprons, and/or sashes.  Hats are requested.
  • In inclement weather, Grannies may consider wearing apron or sash over her coat.
  • Offensive attire:  If a Granny is perceived as wearing offensive attire (articles expressing blatant contradiction of PRG mission and values) the point person should ask them to change or cover it.  

Decision Making

  • The Portland Raging Grannies operate by consensus using a straw poll system which is one method of keeping the consensus model streamlined, so that decisions can be made quickly and inclusively.  Members vote by raising the number of fingers to represent their position.
  • Most decisions will be decided by consensus of those present at the monthly meeting, and the decision will be entered into the meeting minutes.
  • Major and out of the ordinary decisions are discussed at meetings and then referred to the wider membership for a vote via Doodle.
  • If a disagreement arises among the members that we are unable to resolve in a healthy and satisfactory manner, the issue goes to the Health and Healing Council for resolution. .
  • Decisions about events that are connected to religious groups will be made by teams on a case by case basis with the understanding that the participation of the PDX Grannies is not to espouse any specific religious belief or perspective, but to give voice to a cause we all support. The type of sponsoring religious denomination will not be considered as a factor in the decision-making process.
  1. I can say an unqualified “yes” to the proposal. I am satisfied that the proposal is an expression of the wisdom of the group.
  2. I find the proposal perfectly acceptable. I can live with the proposal although I’m not especially enthusiastic.
  3. I do not fully agree with the proposal. However, I do not choose to block consensus and am willing to support the proposal because I trust the wisdom of the group.
  4. I do not believe we have a clear sense of unity in the group. OR I have some questions and need more information before I can register my view. OR I need more time to consider this fully.
  5. I cannot agree with the proposal and feel the need to stand in the way of its being accepted by the group because it is antithetical to our mission, violates our guidelines, or is potentially injurious to our reputation or to individual members. This is a “block.” (E.g., “If we don’t have an adequate contingency plan, then I don’t believe we ought to be going as a gaggle. Individuals can go, of course, but not as Raging Grannies.”)

If all 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s are shown, the group can see quickly that consensus has been reached, and no further discussion or speech-giving will be necessary.

If there are those indicating 4’s, further exploration of their concerns will be needed to reach unity. (e.g., “I’m a 4 because I’ve heard that there will be violent counter-demonstrators there, and I think we need to take some time to develop our strategies if we should be confronted.”) When even one Granny is not ready to accept the proposal as stated, the group needs to take the time to listen to and to consider what she has to say.  The group then needs to decide whether the decision-making will be tabled to give more chance for reflection, research, etc.; OR whether it will continue working right then to find a solution that will be mutually acceptable.

If the proposal is blocked by a “5,” the group should take the time (as above) to hear the justification for the block (e.g., Does the proposal violate a group guideline? Is it antithetical to the group’s mission?) The blockers then should be asked is there is any way to amend the proposal that would make it possible for the block to be lifted. If it appears that compromise on the matter is not possible for two members, the proposal as stated cannot go forward.

Leadership

Grand Grannies (Coordinators)

  • Two Grannies volunteer or are asked to coordinate the group. We call them our Grand Grannies. Each serves for 6-12 months with one of them overlapping the next appointee. The Gran Grannies are responsible for:
  • Preparing the agendas and organizing the monthly meetings.
  • Handling administrative business and correspondence.
  • Working with the Advisory Group to deal with issues and problems.
  • Clarifying and keeping guidelines up to date.
  • Keeping the membership informed regarding administrative decisions.
  • Approving and distributing minutes from meetings.
  • Making decisions along with the Advisory Group regarding expenditures and when it is necessary to get consensus approval.

Health and Healing Council

  • Three Grannies who have been active members for at least three years
  • One Alternate (in case one of three is involved in an issue)
  • Selected by the Advisory Group
  • Two year term after which Granny can remove herself or Advisory Group can appoint new member(s)

Advisory Group

  • The Advisory Group is comprised of the current Grand Grannies, two prior Grand Grannies and a representative from each team.
  • The Advisory Group assists the Gran Grannies in making administrative decisions, especially issues that arise between meetings or issues that are complex and/or sensitive.

Other Roles

  • Treasurer: Collects dues, pays bills, coordinates with Membership Chair.
  • Scribe: Takes notes and writes up minutes of monthly meetings. Sends minutes to Grand Grannies ASAP after a meeting.
  • Membership Chair: Keeps track of our membership roster, which includes names, contact information and addresses, and emergency contacts.
  • Mentor Chair: Assigns mentors, distributes orientation materials to mentors, keeps list up-to-date, sends information regarding potential Grannies to the Membership Chair and keeps in touch with Mentors about status of Mentees.
  • Webmaster: Handles web page design and content including posting pictures and videos and forwarding inquiries to the appropriate leadership members.
  • Social Media Coordinator: Posts and maintains content of Facebook including posting pictures and videos and forwarding inquires to Grand Grannies.
  • Point Person: An ad hoc position created on an as needed basis for Actions. The point person acts as liaison between the Grannies and the event organizers.
  • Spokesperson: Also an ad hoc position created on an as needed basis for Actions. Because we want our message to be accurate and articulate we assign one Granny to speak to the media and answer questions when we are participating in an action.
  • Song writers – see below
  • Speakers Bureau – Grannies who are willing to be interviewed and are articulate and informed about the Raging Grannies and other issues. (Being developed)

Communications

  • Each official Granny must register for the PRG Member ListServe in order to be kept informed about Raging Granny activities.
  • Information posted to the member list needs approval from the Advisory Group.
  • The Members List is for Officially recognized gaggle business only.  Please don’t use this list unless you are sending out information for an official event that has been sanctioned by a team, Advisory Council, or the Grand Grannies.   This list will mostly be used by team leaders, event point persons and Grand Grannies.
  • When a message is sent through the ListServe Grannies should use “Forward” to reply to specific member.
  • Any Granny may post to this FYI ListServe if they are signed up to use it.  
  • Information on our website is vetted and edited by our webmaster. Questions regarding this are referred to the AG.
  • Individuals making inquires about the Grannies should be directed to the website for contact and other information.
  • We also use social media such as Facebook for broadcasting information about our actions.
  • Official Grannies may also sign up for a separate optional list FYI-PRG. Any Granny may post to this ListServe if they are signed up to use it.

Song Writing

  • We have a loosely organized song writing committee that selects and/or writes songs for our actions.
  • We use songs taken from our website, the International Raging Grannies website and those written by our own Grannies.
  • Periodically the song writing committee gets together for a work session.
  • Any Granny is welcome to attend and to submit songs to the song writing committee. We try to use familiar tunes in the public domain. Songs submitted are usually strengthened by group input.
  • Songs, will be sent to the members prior to meetings and rehearsals.
  • Members are responsible for making their own copies.
  • Once the committee has selected and approved the songs, changes to the songs will be minimal.

PRG Health and Healing Council

(Concerned with the vitality and functioning of our organization)

Purpose

  • To try to resolve conflicts between individual Grannies.
  • To deal with times when a Granny’s behavior reflects poorly on the group.
  • To deal with a Granny whose behavior or attitude affects the functioning of the group.

Composition of PRG Health and Healing Council

  • Three Grannies who have been active members for at least three years
  • One Alternate (in case one of three is involved in an issue)
  • Selected by the Advisory Group
  • Two year term after which Granny can remove herself or Advisory Group can appoint new member(s)

Responsibility of Grannies

  • Begin by following our Core Values.
  • A Granny or Group of Grannies who cannot resolve a conflict in a one-on-one interaction can bring concern(s) to the Council for mediation.
  • A Granny or group of Grannies who have concerns about how a Granny is affecting the image and functioning of the group can raise the issue with the Council.

Responsibilities of Council

  • Show respect and listen to all sides of an issue.
  • Respect confidentiality
  • Work together to resolve conflict between two or more Grannies.
  • Call in outside mediation if necessary.
  • Stop or prevent inappropriate behavior and if necessary, put limits on a Granny’s participation for a period of time.
    • Assign extra mentoring
    • Limit participation in public actions
    • Restrict leadership positions
    • In extreme cases, when resolution is not achieved, the Granny will be separated from the Portland Raging Grannies.

Dance Committee

Dance Committee makes decisions about how to use movement and dance in our activism.  The committee meets to develop choreography, choose music, assess moves for appropriateness and plan practices.