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
Each summer Wayside works with other youth organizations and individuals in and around the state to put 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. A collaboration between the Richmond Peace Education Center and NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens), Wayside’s summer camp works with various groups and individuals each year to creatively design a camp that fosters youth facilitation, stays youth centered, and is relevant to youth organizing needs. Issues and focus may change each year depending on the educational needs of participating youth. We work closely with other youth leaders and alumni of our Bring It! Youth Organizing weekend 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. And of course, the camp is a lot of fun, where young people come together to make new friends, laugh, find support, go swimming, and run around the beautiful place that is Wayside.