Last weekend, I met the present and future of education justice in Utah.
Parents, students, organizers and activists came together to find consensus on the most important issues in their communities and build their organizing muscle to win.
My privilege was to facilitate sessions about understanding power and building an organizing framework. The curriculum was a mix of organizing theory and practical applications. Woven throughout the workshops were discussions of how white supremacy culture shows up, dealing with out-of-touch (but powerful) community leaders, and the difference between organizing and mobilizing. While I have led sessions on all the topics we covered, this weekend became more about mentoring junior facilitators than teaching. It was 🔥🔥!
In Spanish and English, these emerging and established leaders role-played, asked questions (and then answered them), connected dots and laid a foundation for progressive power in Utah.
After a bootcamp day and a half of workshops and a mega house meeting, they came to consensus on the first issues to take on:
- A new high school in the historically excluded neighborhood of Glendale (Salt Lake City)
- Belonging and Representation in Schools
- School-based Safety, including trauma and mental health care
Over the next few months, they will continue to fine-tune their organizing skills, reach out to neighbors, conduct research meetings and identify specific levers they can pull to make a difference for students and families.
They will build power.