Saturday, February 6, 2010
And Then There Were Us
"Party like a rock star!"
Today, I woke up, and I felt the energy of a 200,000 person march pulling me out of bed. The sun light and city sound filled me with heart and soul of the people. The people who are fighting for everything that we believe in. I heard the calls and the cries of those lost, those born and died to a world that surrounded them with hate and despair. I heard these cries and it made me realize that these cries will only continue to echo through out our time unless we do something, so I got up and got ready.
After looking at the schedule, at least 17 workshops per session, Mario and I strolled out without saying a word, or at least that I can repeat because all we did was talk shit about people and ideas that make us nervous or frustrated or confused as to why they exist. That space to vent and express that agitation in my heart is so essential for making sure I treat everyone with respect and listen to what they have to say -- no matter how I might think it's ridiculous; every voice should be heard, processed, and given the same respect.
My first workshop was about sustainable leadership, recruitment and retention in the not for profit sector. Though somewhat unaccesible and frustrating that Eliza Byard wasn't there, I found the time to think about two things: how can sustainable leadership in the youth movement last continually, and does it need to, and is working in the not for profit sector something that I want to do?
I walked down to a Theater of the Oppressed workshop put on by a Boston Youth group. It was refreshing to be able to do something creative and applicating our high level thinking in a way that provokes social change. In our workshop, we split up into groups to "share our stories dramatically."
Holiday and Shatavia and I got to have lunch today. Beautiful people. I'm so excited to be moving to Atlanta.
Then plenary where Rea Carey talked about being active within the LGBT movement and that equality isn't a compromise; you can't be just a little equal. Her suggestion? Once a month, talk, write, and meet with people to change their minds. One person. Do you know how many people that is if everyone at the conference did that for a year? 72,000. That's a lot compared to just me, but really? I think we need to do more. Tanner and I agree.
I went to the third session with Kip and Robin around Queer Radical Minds retreat. The retreat focused on this idea of building a broader base and incorporating civil disobedience. I facilitated and presented the small group discussion on radical inclusivity. It turns out I'm a good facilitator. However, some kid from TEP said that he didn't come away with anything. I told him he didn't sound very open to the info, and he responded by aruging he was. He walked into the meeting and said that he was sent to spy on us by TEP. Great. Queers spying on queers.
Finally, and I think most importantly, I made it to the Gay for Pay workshop, which brings me back to whether I want to do this for a living. Honestly, if I'm going to be doing something in the not for profit sector, it's gonna' have to be in the queer movement. I met an Emory student today and I was talking to him; he told me that a lot of people do pre-med, but there's excellent liberal arts programs to utilize. I guess we'll have to see! Regardless, I came away from today with a really clear idea of what it would be like to work in the social justice movement. It sounds fun!
After the conferences we had caucuses. I don't want to go into how angry I got, but let me just say how I feel: SOCIAL JUSTICE IS AN INTERGENERATIONAL PROCESS. If you think it's ok to completely disregard all the work, progress, and people who have come before you, and disrespect those who have come before you, there is no room for your attitude in this movement, and you better check that at the door.
Later, Sherry Wolf and I tooled around and ate hour'dourves and talked about socialism.
At last, Kyle and I came back to our apartment to meet up with Mario. We all had a big ole' time talkin' love. Kyle and I went to S4, and it was fabulous.
** DO SPEAK UP ON BEHALD OF YOUR ADULT ALLIES
** DO REMOVE YOURSELF FROM FORCEFUL PHYSICAL ATTENTION FROM STRANGERS.
** DO MEET YOUR BFFS DAD
** DON'T BUY INTO PATHOS SPEECH RIGHT AWAY
** DON'T DISREGARD EMPOWERMENT SPEECHES
** DON'T BUMP INTO PEOPLE AT S4