Blog

CAROLINA AND JEFF – OUR DEEPEST GRATITUDE

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Greetings Wayside Family A few days ago, the Wayside board shared with you the news of its decision to focus on the purchase of the land and the buildings. This decision was informed by both the political moment and many conversations about the strategic need for movement to own spaces – specifically land – to convene, work, and find respite. While moments of transitions are often birthed by dreams of the future, they also offer the space for reflection and gratitude.  There is no movement absent people who show up and do the work.  Since its inception, Wayside has counted on generous gifts of time, sweat, and money – gifts that were offered with trust of good stewardship. The staff at Wayside Center for Popular Education – Jeff Winder and Carolina Bautista Velez – have more than made good on the promise of good stewardship. Jeff was part of the original group of people that dreamed up Wayside and found the land.   In the last eight years, he has overseen the daily operations and maintenance, spearheaded new construction, and bottom-lined the fundraising work. Jeff has also integrated Wayside to Virginia based organizing, especially with communities in Charlottesville. Carolina connected to Wayside through local organizing with immigrant communities in Richmond.  Starting as a volunteer and transitioning to staff three years ago, Carolina has guided Wayside’s programmatic work: incubating curriculums and trainings, getting folks to Wayside, helping to build the language justice programming, and making Wayside resources available to community organizing efforts.  All the while Carolina maintained a fierce commitment to daily on the ground organizing work in Richmond. As the board of directors, we want to sing your praises and offer our deepest gratitude: for your generosity toward Wayside and our people, for your principled work and willingness to grow into unfamiliar work, and for your commitment to the future of our movement. We are stronger because of your gifts and the role you have played in history of the Wayside.   Wayside Board of Directors Joshua Diamond   Adelina Nicholls   Taylor Manigoult    Netfa Freeman              Aunp Gampa          Roberto Tijerina      Kiara...

read more

Jeff’s Letter

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Dear Wayside Family, These gentle, almost-spring days usually awaken a sense of optimism in me, and an eager anticipation of all of the creek swimming and late-night bonfires that warm weather brings to Wayside. This year, I can hardly turn a corner around here without being overwhelmed by memories. It seems like such a long time ago now that a small group of us had that first visioning meeting. We spent the next year consulting with groups around the region, renovating and furnishing this farmhouse and getting ready to open shop. I’ll never forget the feeling the morning of our grand opening celebration as carloads of people poured into the field. From that day on the outpouring has continued in so many ways. Like the time a windstorm left us with no power for almost a week and people came and stayed and worked steady through the nearly hundred degree heat, forming bucket brigades to pull water out of the creek, keeping our flock of sheep and new landscape plantings alive. Everything that happens here is only possible because of the many, many ways people invest themselves in this place – by organizing fundraising events, donating money, participating in workshops, organizing in their own communities, answering calls to action . . . Some memories illustrate so clearly just what we are building here together. Like walking out the back door to see a group of men who have served long prison sentences offering a popular education workshop to children of incarcerated people on the school to prison pipeline and the rich history of resistance to it. Like hearing one of our 16 year-old interns take the stage at our fifth anniversary party and give one of the best speeches I have ever heard. Like seeing immigrant families take the stage at a press conference to receive an apology for discriminatory treatment after years of struggle. My own life has been deeply interwoven with this unfolding story these past eight years. Living and working here left little separation between my personal life and my professional life during the early days. I cut the grass and cleaned the house, cooked all the meals and even shared my bedroom as overflow space for the first workshop here. My kids stayed here with me during many of the events and have grown up with Wayside as an extended family for nearly half of their lives. It’s been an incredible gift that I appreciate more and more with the passing of time. My job got a lot more complicated as Wayside grew and over the past few years, attending to that while navigating the onset of an extended and painful family health crisis took more out of me than I realized. Eventually I had to admit it wasn’t sustainable for me to go on like this and that continuing to try wasn’t good for me or for Wayside. I’m, of course, sad to leave. I’m deeply grateful to each of you for all that you contribute to Wayside. You, and the work we do together have transformed me in ways I never could have imagined eight years ago. I’m stepping back for now, to take some time for healing and perspective; to discover new ways to make a living and the new ways that...

read more

A Message from the Staff

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

A Message from the Staff

A few days ago, you received a message from the board telling you about their decision to temporarily suspend organizing and program work in order to focus in a new direction, working towards purchasing the land. We wanted to let you know that the current staff will not be the ones to carry out this next phase of Wayside’s development. We’ve each decided for our own reasons to move on. Below you’ll find a letter from each of us as well as a letter from the board regarding this staff transition.

read more

Carolina’s Letter

Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Dear Wayside Family, Since I came to this country 14 years ago, I have experienced firsthand the meaning of being an immigrant in this country, with all its challenges. And during those difficult times, what has kept me going is the most beautiful sense of community, powerful organizing, resistance, strength and resilience that has been present. Wayside was one of those spaces, that was crucial for me to come in community, resist and contribute to build an intersectional movement for the long haul. I started as a volunteer, and 3 years ago, became one of the two full time staff members. This journey has been an educational, growing experience at an individual level and as an organizer. From coordinating the programs given at the center, to building relationships with organizations and individuals in the region, building coalitions, providing organizing skills workshops on the ground, and the coordination of the day to day organizing in Richmond, we have built a resistance that comes from the bottom. Mothers, children, youth, people directly affected have organized to fight and resist, and they have shown the region how an organized, unapologetically community creates their own solutions to the situations they face. As individuals, families, communities, and the world transforms minute by minute, organizations also transform. I have decided to resign from my position during this new stage, stepping down as co-director. Wayside and its Board of Directors will be moving in the direction of owning the land. With a heart full of resistance, gratefulness and strength, I want to thank you all for the support you have given Wayside at every step. Thank you for supporting me as well during these past years, for beautiful relationships, for every teachable moment, and the support you have shown to communities in resistance. Please stay in touch, and you can find my contact information below. With Love, Agradecimiento and Lucha, Carolina Bautista-Vélez (804) 868-0191...

read more

Letter From the Board of Directors, A New Focus

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 in Blog, Featured | 0 comments

Letter From the Board of Directors, A New Focus

From the beginning, Wayside has been about long haul organizing and movement- building. The founding crew came together over eight years ago in a common vision of caring for a beautiful rural space where community members build relationships, strengthen skills, share power, get organized, and transform consciousness.

read more