Popular Education is at the core of Wayside’s work for social justice. In addition to our weekend programs, Wayside educators travel throughout the region offering popular education workshops tailored to the needs of local communities. Recently, Carolina Velez has traveled around the region with immigration-related popular education workshops. While each is unique to the host community, they all follow this spiral-shaped model of bringing people together to share information, reflect on shared experiences, situate those experiences in a historical and political context and move towards collective action that can be brought back.
In this case, the workshops start with an analysis of systems of political and economic power, what space participants occupy within those systems, what tactics are used to keep them in that place and what skills, knowledge and alliances are necessary to fundamentally change those systems in the short and long-term. In this way, immigrant communities, student groups, community organizations and others have been coming together to reflect on how Immigration Reform, Deportation and Border Militarization share commonalities with repression abroad, like the murder of the students in Mexico and why it is important to build bonds of solidarity with other groups experiencing state repression, like the Black Lives Matter movement.
February has been a busy month with these workshops. Carolina started with a Spanish language event in Fredericksburg organized by Madre Tierra, the immigrant women’s collective that were among the founders of Wayside. Next there was a workshop at James River High School in Richmond that included students sharing border crossing stories, a family’s experience of their father in immigrant detention and the racism these same students experience being treated differently by the security guards at school. The last workshop of the month, Immigration, Justice and the Dream will happen at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg on Monday evening 2/23. Please join if you’re able. See facebook event here.
If you’d like to work with Wayside to develop a popular education workshop for your community please contact us