The BEA-I launched by the Overbrook Foundation and led by grassroots participants, was originally convened at the Wingspread retreat center in the summer of 2013. At Wingspread participants agreed to base their work off the Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing, and created a common vision statement and future strategy as integral steps toward building alignment and equity within the environmental and broader progressive movement. Since Wingspread, participants have created complementary workgroup teams, participated in funder panels, tri-sector strategy discussions, national actions, held EJ Principle discussions with well-respected EJ leaders and national groups, and conducted Jemez Principle trainings set to inform national groups of the powerful role of the grassroots. Currently, the working groups are developing timelines for engagement with an objective to expand the scope and membership of the BEA even further.
In November 2014, we brought together those who participated in the original Wingspread meeting along with new allies to extend the vision and work toward building greater alignment around the impact we want to have as a movement and the resources (amount, infrastructure, democratic distribution, etc.) needed to make it happen and win.