When we arrived on Friday evening we didn?t slow down to get out the car and walk to the front door. We left bags, coats and cell phones and ran to the door like we were coming home from college for Christmas break. There were people I knew and people I didn?t who got there before me but that didn?t stop us from giving and getting big hugs upon arrival. I remembered to watch my head going down the stairs to the kitchen. This was my second time attending the Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekend and the first for some of my friends.
I?ve always learned so much from Bring It! Things generally start with going directly to the kitchen and hanging out with Michelle while she cooks amazing food and discussing the difficult but worthy fight to save DC?s school system. When I attend Bring It there is generally no sleeping. We were up talking and laughing for hours about how to save our world. We talked about redefining words and phrases like Ghetto and No Homo; starting trends on social networks and giving them new meaning like; Beautiful and #YesHomo. We discussed healthcare reform and conspiracies at their worse, and of course black history. We inspired each other and even did each other?s hair, all in the first night. We did it all again the next night too only this time it was by a beautifully warm camp fire along with s?mores and listened to stories of good times and bad times from a great inspiration, Kwasi Seitu.
We learn about so many important things. From having a training on how to be a straight ally to queer communities, learning from a Social Movement History Timeline, talking about power, to an anti oppression training, we did it all.? The discussion with a movement elder always seems to shed light on things I?ve either been extremely confused about or was just extremely misguided by what my society would have me believe. As someone who has always had trouble staying attentive, the Bring It trainings gave new meaning to, ?Staying on the edge of my seat?.? I wanted to hear it all, and found it hard to blink, too. I learned more from reading a social movement history timeline in a few moments that I had cared to learn in any history class.
This place and these individuals are strong. They will share with you in no uncertain terms their perspectives, and they have all the facts. This gives you the opportunity to make an educated decision on where you stand.? Never once at Bring It did I feel less important because I ?didn?t know? or disagreed. What really meant a lot was that no opinions were forced upon me. Bring It is the ultimate comfort zone; we used gender pronouns and respected everyone?s wishes. We created our own rules and stuck to them. I had never heard of using ?I? statements before but saw first-hand how much it helps avoid generalizing my own ideas. Whenever I had an experience or opinion to share I only said it from my point of view and visa verse. When I say ?comfort zone? I really mean comfort zone. I spent my time in every training, with my pillow and blanket and my tea cup at my side. And when it was time to go, I?ll never forget all the very inspired friends of Bring It gathered outside in the falling snow with the Caribbean music played as loud as possible and we dance, we danced in the snow.
The name Wayside ?Bring It? weekend speaks for itself. I drove a mere four hours including traffic to Bring It all. I brought my questions, my interest and my yearning for betterment. I brought a lot to the Bring It weekend but I left with so much more -? new friendships, new perspectives and a new drive to stand for all things right. The Bring it weekend, to me, is not just a training it is and will continue to be an inspiration to all who graces its presence.
Article and photos by Kenisha Salvary