Angelique Gaston from School Without Walls in DC,??shares her Bring It! Story.
Anup Gampa, one of our participants, gives us a few clues on how well we did holding our 4th youth organizing workshop.
I was fortunate to have attended the Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekend on September 22nd-23rd. This was the first that I?ve been to a meeting like this. If nothing else, I expected to meet wonderful activists and radicals from the area, but had no other thoughts on what was in store for us.
Wayside is a short drive from Charlottesville and is a serene and appropriate place for these workshops. The center, being on a large farm, gave us the much-needed break from the city and allowed us to delve into our work with little distraction. Also, it had excellent amenities for downtime: a place for a bonfire, a lake nearby, plenty of room to tent outside, and so on.?Also, the food was great!?All of these support structures made it possible to spend all of our energies on the work. The schedule for the weekend was jam-packed! Friday night started with dinner and getting acquainted with Wayside educators and fellow organizers. From the very beginning I knew this was going to be a memorable experience because of all the folks involved.There were seasoned organizers such as Linda Leaks from D.C, who shared her personal decades long organizing history, as well as younger organizers from Howard University that led workshops on movement history and campaign strategy.
As for me, I became involved in political organizing as part of Ohio State University?s Occupy Movement. I attended the GAs, the rallies, and provided logistical support. I recently moved to Charlottesville, VA to attend UVA for my Psychology PhD.?I? immediately sought out the Living Wage Campaign activists?and heard about Wayside?s weekend workshop in one of our first meetings. It seemed like the perfect next step, as I wanted to increase my involvement in the organizing community by helping with higher-level campaign needs, such as grassroots organizing and campaign strategy.
At Wayside, the trainings were organized with much thought, and it showed. The first one was a history of movements, and what exactly ?movement? means. Another session was hosted by a radical artist from artist collective DC 51. The last session of the day was on campaign strategy. All of these sessions were dialectic in nature, and were designed to ensure participation. Wayside organizers incorporated our particular experiences and tailored the session to our specific needs.
The last segment on Sunday was a?3-hour Anti-Oppression Workshop, and was the most meaningful to me. I have always been open to examining my actions and thoughts, but it was helpful to come away with practical tools. I?ve often used
these methods since my training to explain what anti-oppression really means and now we are considering holding a similar training at UVA. Of course, like everything else, these trainings are a work in progress and the organizers of the weekend were open to ideas on improving this for the next group. Wayside will be hosting a Train the Trainers weekend, and I plan to be a part of it. What could be a better testament than wanting more!