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. Since then Wayside has hosted over a thousand people—organizers, interpreters, youth, lovers and seekers of justice. Staff has supported, fought, and won campaigns to end racism and xenophobic policy and attitudes in schools and communities. Educators and organizers have worked with individuals and organizations to deepen thought and action. They have done the daily community organizing to fight oppression, economic exploitation, and the separating of families. Wayside has offered space to organizers and hard working people for respite, reflection, and the celebration of love. Staff has created space where youth can be fully themselves and think critically about their schools. Wayside has connected people across language, class, race, culture, gender and sexuality to confront state violence. So much of this work has happened in streets, in people’s houses, and the place that is Wayside.
About a year ago, Wayside fully established itself as a non-profit and elected a new Board of bold leaders. The Board began to take on some big questions: What and who is Wayside? Where do we work and how do we work? What are our core values and principles? How do we get to liberation together? What is the role of organizing and education in local communities and at Wayside? What is the role of Wayside as a place in this current political moment? Grappling with these questions while running an organization was and is not easy. One thing that did become clear during this process was the need to move on owning Wayside and claim it as movement home for now and for time to come. The land and house are core resources we will need in the coming years as state repression increases. Our movements are determined to resist and nurture new leadership and will need spaces to think, dream, transform and simply be together.
Due to the generosity of a long time donor and supporter, Wayside has been able to lease the land and house at no cost outside general maintenance and taxes. The intention has always been for Wayside to purchase the land and the house. After much thought and deliberation the board has decided the time to move forward on a permanent movement-building space is now. In the short-term, this means a strategic shift in focus from on the ground organizing and programming to raising the funds needed to purchase Wayside outright. Wayside will temporarily suspend all programming and organizing until we have reached our goal of purchasing the land. This is a very difficult decision but one we believe can solidify Wayside as a home for radical organizing and education.
In the coming months Wayside will begin a fundraising campaign to purchase the land and will engage in a strategic planning process for how to most effectively offer Wayside to movements and communities. As we focus on fundraising our board will also build a strong political, organizing, and educational strategy to implement after the land is purchased. If you or your organization is interested in renting Wayside please feel free to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org)! We will be in touch about how you can support and engage Wayside during this time. We are excited to embark on this new effort with you.
In deep gratitude and with much love,
Wayside Board of Directors
Central to Wayside’s vision is the belief that those directly affected are the ones best qualified to create solutions to the problems affecting their communities. In addition to creating spaces where people can come together and reflect on those problems, we offer a variety of organizer skills training programs to increase the capacity of our communities to implement those solutions. These range from evening programs to weekend workshops to months-long internships. Most can be offered both at Wayside and in your area.
We can work with you to tailor a workshop agenda to the specific needs of your group. Possible topics include Fundamentals of Direct Action Organizing, Grassroots Fundraising 101, Framing Issues and Campaign Strategy and many others. Contact us to create and organizing skills workshop that’s right for you and check out our ongoing programs at the links below.
- Breaking Barriers, Building Power
- Youth Organizing Intership
- Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekend
- Summer Youth Organizing Weekend
Please contact us if you’d like more information on this program at Wayside or if you would like to organize an event specific to your group.
Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekends are intensive, 2-day introductions to social movement work and organizing skills. Designed for organizers generally in the age range of 18-24, the weekend covers big picture questions like “What is a social movement” and “How do I leverage power through organizing” all the way down to nitty gritty workshops on how to run meetings, use art in activism, and getting your message out. Every weekend is somewhat shaped by the group of participants, so no Bring It! Weekend is the same, or covers the same topics.
Participants come from organizations, colleges, and universities from all over the South and Midatlantic. We work with a wide network of trainers, so we have new and old faces at every Bring It! Weekend. Wayside also invites a movement elder to attend part of each weekend. We have been fortunate to have inspiring organizers from a variety of backgrounds, including prison industrial complex organizing, Black liberation struggles, housing and immigrant justice movements, and more.
Each summer Wayside puts together a three-day camp for youth between the ages of 13 and 19. The heart of the weekend is anti-oppression, public education, conflict resolution, and the school-to prison pipeline. The weekend is based in a popular education framework that fosters youth facilitation, relationship building, analysis of current youth situations in their schools and communities. Wayside brings together around 15 to 20 youth each summer in order to to continue building together the inclusive and just world that we want to be part of.
During these three days, youth have the opportunity to interact with other youth from different socio economic class, race, ability, and cultures. They have three amazing days of fun, laughter, and swimming, building relationships and running around the beautiful place that is Wayside.
We work closely with other youth leaders and alumni of our Bring It! Youth Organizing Weekend, our workshop that works primarily with older youth. In this way our younger high school aged organizers meet and work with older organizers with more experience and facilitation skills.