Paul Cienfuegos and Laurence Cole are hosting a weekend workshop series May 10-12, at United Congregational Center, 209 W Broadway (behind the Winneshiek County courthouse) in Decorah.

The workshop begins Friday at 6 p.m. with a potluck, followed by a 7-9 p.m. workshop.

Saturday workshops run from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., with ample lunch and other breaks. Sunday's session is 9 a.m.-5 p.m., which also includes lunch and other breaks.

The workshops will focus on learning more effective ways to protect local communities and the rest of the living world by exercising peoples' inherent right to govern themselves.

"Your voice is the carrier of what matters to you," an organizer said. "Imagine using that voice to both speak and sing, as an empowered member of your local community."

Community rights

Beginning in Pennsylvania, and stretching across eight states from Maine to New Mexico, 150 communities have passed legally binding, locally enforceable community rights laws that for the first time in U.S. history enshrine the inherent right of a local majority of residents to protect the health and welfare of their local places.

Each of these new-paradigm laws defines what the community wants, reins in corporate so-called "rights" and stops legal but harmful corporate activity dead in its tracks.

Singing as sacred

Cienfuegos and Cole include singing in their workshop process.

"Group singing has long been a most effective medium for enlivening a sense of the sacred in us, and a determination to treat each other and the whole living world with a deeper respect, even reverence," they said. "And because the journey towards a new and fuller realization of community rights and self-governance requires patience and sustained commitment, it helps if we can learn to have a lot of energizing fun in the process."

People who think of themselves as non-singers are welcome to just listen to others.

No previous experience or knowledge is necessary to attend.

About the workshop leaders

Laurence Cole

Laurence Cole is a choir director and composer from Port Townsend, Wash. A long time eco-villager and advocate for the whole natural community, Laurence is known for leading many kinds of groups into the power and convivial pleasure of group singing; an ancient human process for investing a space and a community with beauty, meaning, connection, and the cohesive motive force "that helps shy people get up and do what needs to be done." More information is available at

Paul Cienfuegos

Paul Cienfuegos has been leading workshops, giving public talks and organizing local communities towards dismantling corporate rule and strengthening local democracy, since 1995 when he founded Democracy Unlimited in northern California.

Now living in Portland, Ore., he continues to expand his life passion: to help communities near and far to rediscover their power to govern themselves. His talks have been broadcast nationally on 'Alternative Radio' ( More information is available at

To register

Pre-registration is required to hold your spot. 30 people max. Fee is by sliding scale; attendees are asked to pay between $50 and $250. Meals are not provided. Lunch breaks will be provided for walking to a restaurant or eating bag lunches.

For more information contact Liz Rog at If paying by check, make check payable to "We the People" and mail to Liz Rog, 1591 Manawa Rd, Decorah IA. Include your mailing address, and phone number.