In August, PJALS members helped send three young activists in Spokane to Western States Center‘s annual Activists Mobilizing for Power conference in Portland, OR. We are excited about our long-term commitment and prioritization of leadership development–it’s how we build a sustainable movement!–and energized by the possibilities of these lessons being shared in our PJALS community. Here’s a brief report-back from them:
“I learned so much at the AMP conference! I am so grateful for the lessons I learned from national-scale pro-choice activists, from lawyers on how to lobby as a nonprofit (that was a mistake, please don’t make me lobby for anything), and from renowned storytellers on how to tell a story in a persuasive, meaningful way that can reach people in ways normal rallies and lobbying can’t.
Overall it was so important to my growth as an activist! It was so exciting to find myself around other activists with such strong voices and vision for what a better world we can build for ourselves. I know that the things I learned there will be vital for my non-profit collective, Books to Prisoners Spokane, and that I will find many ways to apply the ideas in my day-to-day life as well. I left the conference with such an invigorated energy and bright ideas for the future!”
“At AMP, I was reminded of the importance of storytelling as an activist tool. As a writer, I’ve always been interested in the way that personal stories and politics intersect. The workshops I took at the conference challenged me to think about why I believe what I believe. They reminded me of the importance of remembering why I’m passionate about topics like abortion rights and fat acceptance, even when I’m certain of my values.
As both an artist an activist, it was an invaluable reminder for me to bring to every project I work on. It was also extremely inspiring to meet people around the Northwest who are and having been doing work like fighting white supremacy, building fat acceptance, and empowering Latinx youth in their communities. I’m extremely grateful to have been able to have this experience, and to have shared it with my fellow Spokane activists Micah and Taylor.”
I’ve had my eye on AMP as a skill-building opportunity for a few years now, and I’m so thankful that folks rallied to help make it a reality for our group this year! I was humbled to be in the presence of so many experienced organizers and brilliant thinkers and especially appreciated my Saturday workshop from The White People’s Institute for Ending Racism–the depth of the examination of whiteness coupled with the critical practice needed to make theory real helped me expand my anti-racist lens and practice immensely in a short period of time.
I look forward to bringing these skills and lessons back home to our PJALS community and to deepen the regional relationships that are so important to long-term movement building. Thank you again to our supporters who made this happen (and to Micah and Hannah for being fun and supportive comrades in the movement!) and to PJALS staff, fellow steering committee, and members for walking the talk when it comes to support for building strong youth leadership with teeth.
Thank you again to those who contributed to cover travel for these three. Is there a young person in your life you’d like to share activist tools and training with this year? Refer them our Young Activist Leaders Program (YALP) and save the date for our Education for Action Conference, February 24th, 2018!