Wednesday, January 13, 2010

RIFA Movement Building Traning

Almost nine hours in a car. We left at 1:30 headed to Oakland to pick up Ju, and then once there hit the 880 to the 580 to the 5...oooof. Traffic was intense until we hit the 5 and then it was smooth sailing from there. I took the week somewhere around Modesto and drove us in to beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Arrival time 10pm.

The training was held at the downtown Marriot Hotel (all i had to say was: Sup fancy), our room on the eight floor was sweet. I think i like this. Then I got a text from my buddy Gift "i'm here".

Gift, is one of the very first people that i connected with on DAP, yet he always had this aura of mysteriousness, at some point i even thought he might be undercover ICE. Through out the past year we have connected, since our experience has been very very very similar, same age, worked through school and now this. I had promised to meet him way back in april 2009. Finally it would become a reality.

The training would not start until Saturday at 9am, so I had told Gift i would be free to hangout friday. He and a buddy picked me up at the hotel and we went for a few beers, and some nice conversation. Once again i am amazed at the level of ease with which the transition from digital to analog contact occurs. Not an awkward moment, no weird silences; nothing but laughs and good times. We ended up going on a hunt for Kogi tacos (Korean BBQ taco truck...yes i know...there is a god). Overall the night was awesome, so i extend my biggest gratitude to "jack" for being such a cool dood and driving us around.
Back to the Hotel 3:30am.


I was not sure what to expect at this training. To be quite honest, i was a bit skeptical about it all. Being a bit burned out from some of the let downs from 2009. Yet i figured it would be great to add to my knowledge base of the movement and to meet and network with some great people.

I saw many familiar faces there, Matias, Kemi, Lizbeth, Erick and Benita (whom i knew only via electronic 1's and 0's). I also met a ton of new people (shout outs include): Cyndi, Jeff, Yohanna, Jose, Julieta, Carlos, Macrina, Ivette, Juan, Ivan,Italia, The Rosa kids, and many many more.

The first part of training was focused on the power of narrative, the power that our stories have to make people connect and join our cause. We broke off into smaller groups and shared our stories, then gave each other feed back. The regrouped in the conference room and a few of us were picked to share our stories. There was a powerful story told by a young lady who's name escapes my mind at the moment; she told of how eve with the barriers she faced she continued to go forward and get multiple degrees only to face the frustration of being unable to use them. I was also called to share my story, and as always i improvised and grabbed from by trunk of bits and pieces. This was the biggest crowd to date for which i have shared my story (120ppl) and it felt so liberating. The support for us was extraordinary.

The next part of the training focused on moving from a story of me to us, and forming strategy and goals. then focusing on specific skill sets that form the team. Overall i was impressed with the level of participation, support and attentiveness at this (my first) training.

I was satisfied to see so many people of so many backgrounds coming together to plan and start the movement to get just and humane immigration reform passed.

We left Sunday night at around 6:30, and even though i arrived at my apartment at 2:30 in the morning, i felt re-energized, motivated and calm

1 comment:

  1. I felt very energized and calm when I got home too. I think it felt more like a vacation for me. Before this training, I had some down days, you know, those days when we just feel so down for the same old reasons, and it was nice to connect with people I needed to be with the most. I went back to SD feeling empowered and ready to this work,and happier!