SWUs' 2018 Youth Leadership Organization started their internship on June 12th. We had a total of 20 energized youth from all over San Antonio. Some belonged to charter others to public school. The first days where the hardest, trying to break the ice and feel comfortable with each other.
We did a lot of energizers and games to know each other. Many of them would use their lunchtime to play soccer. Youth developed a ton of different types of critical thinking. From popular education, privilege, systems of oppression, mental health, youth organizing, and facilitation. The youth went into three low-income grocery stores in San Antonio. They observed prices, quality of products and bought groceries. They identified healthy foods and learned tips on buying food. Paid attention to marketing by looking at what was at eyesight level and easy to grab. Youth enjoyed cooking and developing recipes.
We went on a Toxic Tour in the Southside community of San Antonio known as Kelly Gardens. Youth learned about the reality of Kelly Air Force Base. How the base contaminated the communities, and till this day they continue to do it. They also got to meet inspiring Kelly Gardens community leader duo. Mr. Robert Alvarado, and Mrs. Lupe Alvarado. They talked about continuing the environmental justice work, the fight continues.
During our summer, news emerged throughout the whole country. Families were being separated, adults and children in different detention facilities. Many of the children were being kept in abandoned Walmarts in the hot desert in West Texas. House bill 3630-Keep families together Act made it to the Senate. We spoke about it and made calls to our state representatives. Many of our youth were panicky making the calls. They got confidence and started dialing as many times as they could. The lines were very busy and went straight to voicemail. One youth got to talk to someone and rely upon the message. The very next day SB 3630 passed. Families caught in a United States port of entry stayed together. Later that week SWU o organized the Mama Caravan. We headed out early to Brownsville, Texas to a Federal Immigration court. SWU, YLO and other organizations demanded that separated families get united immediately. Some of the youth were new to the experience. Some even got interviewed and got to go inside the federal court.
For their last week, we took a camping trip to Garner State Park. They enjoyed the cold water of the Frio River and long active hikes during the day and night. We use this to get in tune with nature ground ourselves and work on our mental health. Our summer was about learning and making special connections.
Keep on the lookout for our YLO hike dates and programming.