Southwest Workers Union had the opportunity to send one of our Youth Lead organizers. Selene Garcia. She went to Brooklyn, NY for Uprose 7th Annual Climate Justice Youth Summit. During this two day summit, 60 organizations from all over the nation. We all took action and marched the streets of Brooklyn. Where we demanded a "JUST" transition environment. All our communities are going to be/are affected if we don’t change the way we do things. Sea levels will rise and weather will change with hotter temperatures. It will lead to stronger natural disasters. Youth from all over the US gathered and spoke on issues going on in their communities. From oil pipelines to environmental racism, or targeted by others.
The following day we broke out into learning circles. There were many awesome educational workshops. In the ones, we did catch. We learned about philanthropy and activism. Led by Farhad from Chorus Foundation. The focuses of the discussion were to understand how foundations work. How do we shift power to local grassroots movements? We touched on topics that oftentimes many local organizations run into. For instance, reporting, character limits when writing grants, foundations disconnected from grassroots organizations. Definitely the one that hit home was the Just Transition: Recovery to Puerto Rico. Our brothers from Organizacion Boricua led the discussion. As most of you know many of the islands will be the ones experiencing the rise of sea levels. On another note, it's not only the sea levels. But with rising temperatures, there will be stronger hurricanes. Hurricane Maria definitely left a large hole in Puerto Rico's heart. From the island infrastructure to losing its agriculture stance. They are now rebuilding their homes, but some still have tarps that FEMA gave out to put on top of their roofs. They spoke on how they are rebuilding and learning how to farm and cultivate the land.It was a great experience. To be able to meet other youth in the nation doing the same work in their communities.
The fight for us here in San Antonio doesn’t stop. Yes, we’ve been working on the Climate Adaptation Plan. We hit the front lines in San Antonio around the same time. Were our youth organizer, Brenda Aguilar. She spoke to other youth on the importance of taking a stand and defending mother earth. It is astonishing seeing other youth in San Antonio taking the streets. Demanding a change and standing up to the government that doesn't listen to youth. When they are the leaders in the future. Youth should be able to be in these platicas and decision making.
For October, the youth leadership organized a fundraiser to accumulate some funds. For our annual winter retreat. We hosted two movie screenings. We had about 15 youth come out and enjoy horror movies.We also partook in San Antonios ZineFest, where we sold our comadre economies booklet,Roots of Change medicinals handbook. One of our own youth leaders also sold their very first zine. We raise the and create our own alternative economies. Towards the end of October, we also had a family youth-led event where we had crafts and cooking demos. The community members learned how to decorate a sugar cookie. A bubble art activity. They also got to decorate their own sugar skulls and take home to put on their altar. We had Metro Health do a healthy vegan chili and fun exercises for the family. We had about 50 community members come out and enjoy our Fall Fest.
We heard about Second Baptist Church wanting to open a children detention center. Where the church would make about 5 million if they were to invest with this private facility. So the youth went to an action in opposition of the children detention center opening up. We fought hard and made it clear that we didn’t want none of that here in the East Side.
To close out the year we had our annual winter retreat at Canyon Lake. The youth leaders got the opportunity to enjoy some time in the outdoors. Took some time to go check out Canyon Dam. Rolled down the hills to feel the excitement. We touched on commitments, workshops and organizing matters for the upcoming year.
Its been an amazing, inspiring year. We can't wait to see what develops in the big 2020.Truly honored to be working alongside the youth leaders. If you feel like what we have been doing touches you and would like to be a part of the Youth Leadership Organization. Feel free to email Bonnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.Also we will be going to the MLK march on January 20th. We will be posting updates on time and location once the date gets closer.