Being in a room full of people who also believe in our cause gives me further inspiration and bravery to take risks.
The increasing structural assaults our communities are facing demand our visionary and strategic best, as well as a strong dose of courage. Movement Matters continues our process of inquiry, learning, accompanying, and building the local landscape of organizing and community leadership for equity and change. We developed our new Advanced Training Series to provide a stimulating, inspiring action space where seasoned local organizers, popular educators, and community leaders can stretch their knowledge and skills, renovate their spirit, grow with their peers, and plan their work ahead—all at a complicated time when many organizers and community leaders are weighed down and struggling to maintain energy, focus, and vision.
“Changing and controlling meaning” around our issues has been a key area of challenge for local groups and initiatives in the last ten years, a fact that has a direct negative impact on local base building efforts and policy and implementation campaigns. In August, Movement Matters completed our first advanced organizer training: Communications, Media Tools, and Strategies. The 2-day training, attended by 23 participants representing 16 DC area and national organizations, provided a theoretical grounding in media and communications as liberatory tools to combat dominant messaging that reinforces inequity and powerlessness in our communities.
This first advanced training was also grounded in Movement Matters’ own community organizing framework. It connected various aspects of communications and media work to the core organizing competencies of: relationship building, constituency building, and power building. Participants gained an understanding of how each of these organizing competencies can be strengthened by strong communication strategy and media development, and how to begin incorporating these tools and techniques into to their current programmatic and campaign work.
Realizing that video creation and sharing are tools for relationship/base building and power building is game changing.
As importantly, we created a learning and action space that encouraged participants and facilitators to wrestle, question, integrate, and grow both personally and as organizers/popular educators. Expressive arts, decolonization, ally building, trust building, personal story sharing, and altar building were some of the training elements that helped participants draw out their own experiences, open themselves to learning in community, challenge and teach each other, and claim their space and voice.
With the success of the training and requests for support and next steps, we have already begun capacity building conversations with several participants/organizations to help them develop and implement systems that incorporate new skills and practices into their ongoing organizing and base building work. The creation and development of cross-organizational “action coalitions” has been one of the key areas of Movement Matters’ work in the last ten years. With this vision in mind, we are equally excited and ready to build on participant interest in bringing various groups together to develop a joint, intersectional media and communications project that will highlight resident voice and issues in the District and begin to change meaning around our issues. More to come on that.
We are also gearing up for the next training in our Advanced Training Series, focusing on facilitation skills and group process for organizing. This training will ground participants in the necessary skills and theory to create gathering spaces that serve as a foundation for the individual transformation, creation of group identity, deepening of consciousness, and moving to action that drive movement-based organizing work.
Adelante/we move forward.
Organizations in attendance include: Academy of Hope, Empower DC, Fair Budget Coalition, Grassroots DC, HIPS, Justice for Muslims Collective, Miriam's Kitchen, LEDC Tenant Organizing Team, Many Languages One Voice, National CAPACD, ONE DC, People Power Action, ROC DC, UFCW Local 400, Washington Interfaith Network, and Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.