Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Be The Change 2011 Day 2

Day two of Be The Change was all about rolling up sleeves and getting down with what movement building is all about, learning how to identify root causes of problems in our communities, and effective tools to create the change we want to see in Georgia.

The day started off with a workshop on movement building. It's a workshop that I've done the last few years, but this year the lovely and talented Dejah Ault did the bulk of facilitating. The workshop focused on solid models designed to start conversations and build relationship with communities you're working in.

After the workshop there was a social justice market place. Several amazing organizations set up tables with literature and spoke with youth about their work. Atlanta Indy Media, Georgia Students for Public Higher Education, Women's Feminist Health Center, Student Career Alternatives Program, and Art as an Agent for Change were all there.

After lunch the day brought a bunch of high impact presentations on not only what Dr. King referred to as the giant triplets of evil(militarism, racism, and poverty), but also on effective tools to create change in the community. We were blessed have a crew of super talented, dynamic facilitators from some of our closet ally organizations including Anton Flores from Alterna, Allie McCullen from Georgia Students for Public Higher Education, Dawn Gibson from Atlanta Indymedia, Charmaine Davis from Working Women 9-5, Jeremy Foreman from Hands On Southeast Georgia, and Pablo Paredes from the Bay Area American Friends Service Committee kept the energy high, and the information flowing. I was surprised at the amount of information participants were able to soak up. During youth report backs I remember thinking, "dang, these youth are ready to facilitate the workshops that they just got out of!"

Every social movement has used art to express ideas. Some so art is the essence of human expression. We've all had moments when art spoke to us in ways a speech could never do. Art as an Agent for Change worked with WonderRoot Community Art Center to put together a program Saturday night called, "The Art of Activism" and they invited youth to plug their talents into it. I gotta say it was by far the dopest thing I've every seen AAC put together. Not only was there a barrage of amazing spoken word, music performances, and youth putting their talents out in front of folks, there was also live painting going down during the show.Folks were just blown away by the work of artist Corey Barksdale.

We ended the night with a big bonfire with smores, and a lot of great conversation at the lovely landtrust.

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

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