We started off the year by having an art build, we created banners for the Martin Luther King march. Many of the youth that attended where first-timers. When we took the bus to the start of the march, the youth were excited, we took the moment to talk about ending the stereotypes and bridging the gap between our brown and black communities. Many mentioned that their families where a bit skeptical about black people. Often times our families have been taught to exclude others because of their race and because of assimilation. I made it clear to them that they need to be able to break those pensamientos.
Our meetups included watching a documentary on ethnic studies in Arizona. Precious Knowledge, it was followed by a discussion. Many of the youth voiced on how they wished their school system offered classes on Mexican American studies. The youth had space to create their own workshops for the upcoming spring break programming. Had a facilitators training with them to prepare for the upcoming events. Showed them the way an event is run. We had a very productive Pop-Ed piece where we saw an influx of trabajadoras and youth come together. They learned about screen printing and had a discussion on workshops/skillshares they would like to see offered at SWU.
For the month of March, we had our Spring Break Glo-Up. It was youth-led. Many of the youth leaders facilitated their own workshop. The workshops included: Introduction to Drawing by Selene Garcia. They taught the youth how to draw by using an example of their own, artwork and spoke about trying something new and if you in yourself feel like it's not good, with practice you will get better. The next group of youth leaders Hezrai Avila, Salma Castillo, and Nazareen Venegas ended up doing a collaboration together and demonstrated a quick and easy way of making healthy snacks. They ended talking on the importance of consuming fresh fruits instead of processed foods.Last but not least we had Justin Rivera and Miranda Cuellar do a workshop on the theatre of the oppressed. Youth got to act out different scenarios. San Anto Cultural Arts and Southwest Workers Union did a collaboration for the 300th. We had a popcorn style discussion on what the youth would like to see in the mural. Youth got to help out by priming the walls that were going to be used for the mural. One of our main goals was to work on our, mental health and we end up taking some time out of San Antonio and visited Pedernales Falls, State Park. In this trip, we ended up taking a hike and getting in the water. We had a total of 15 youth attend our spring break glo-up. Throughout the months we had mural community meetings for input on the work and design San Anto Cultural Arts was coming up with.
Gearing up for Mothers Day, Trabajadores de Hogar en Acción and Youth Leadership Organization ended partnering up and doing an event together. They decided to ask Ernesto Olivo to do a skillshare on beaded bracelets as a small gift for the Mother’s Day Event. In this event Mommas got to come and enjoy being pampered, they got their hair done, makeup done and mini manicures are done. Followed by open karaoke and a special surprise of Mariachis. It was an overall beautiful event.
The summer internship ran for 8 weeks at Southwest Workers Union. We had a total of 15 youth participate this year. They learned about facilitation, culture, art, popular education good relationship building and mental health. They even got to call their Senate, to end family separation SB 3630. We traveled to Brownsville to protest against it and demanded to unite the children to the families and stop separating them. Some of the youth never had experienced being a big action. Three of them got to be interviewed by news reporters. This summer they also spent time in the Roots of Change garden, where they utilized it to play soccer and learn about cultivating the land and being able to plant new vegetables and fruits for the season. The group learned the difference between soils and water systems. Along with the Nuestra Voz Civic Engagement program we did a phone-banking workshop where the youth got the chance to call members from the community and ask them if they supported clean energy. As SWU we always think about self-care and taking time for yourself and connect with nature, we took a trip to Garner State Park and enjoyed some time in the Frio River and hiked some trails. To top it off we had our Back to School event where we donated over 200 school supplies and backpacks to community members.
During our fall programming, we had bi-weekly community days “Elote Wednesday”. Were we passed out corn in a cup and gave out free seeds. The students, and parents, from the near by school stopped by and signed up as interested in future events. Community members learn more about Southwest Workers Union and the exciting work that we do. Artpace hosts the annual Chalk It up the event, it was downtown San Antonio and we participated alongside with San Anto Cultural Arts, most of the youth that attended was their first time using chalk as a medium. We learned how to make take a printed image and expand it into a bigger form. We exercised our communication and teamwork skills. For the month of October, we started our Fright Night Fridays, where we screened a horror film and sold concession goodies for our camping trip. We also hosted a Dia de Los Muertos workshop, we learned how to make air dry calacas, had some champurrado and pan de muerto. Screened a movie that spoke about Dia de Los Muertos and why we commemorate. We contacted community members that signed up from the Elote Wednesdays, about 10 new members showed up. It was an event for all ages and made sure our space was safe and inclusive for everyone.
November opened up with a Dia de Los Muertos Luncheon, where we invited our community to come out and enjoy some mole, rice, frijoles, salad, and desserts. Part of this event was to connect and strengthen our relationships with our members.
Last but not least to end the year we mobilized toward Warrior Roots and finally hosted a Youth Caucus during the Peoples Movement Assembly. In this breakout space, youth got to learn about things they had in common. What type of changes they’d like to see and talk about issues in their communities and schools. Followed by an exciting camping trip to Guadalupe State Park, we hiked a couple of trails and worked on our mental health. We explored nature and observed the river. Putting up a tent and starting a fire were two of the things that were challenging. But overall helped gain knowledge, communication and work on our teamwork skills.