By Alex Aldana Blogging Scholarship Recipient Recap on Saturday’s SONG Rural Organizing workshop
A wrong turn down the second floor, in the hopes I could find the nearest wash room, and listening to the echoes of vivid voices on this particular room,, made me forget about my personal deeds in the toilet to what I thought would be one of the most relevant and charming workshops on Saturday afternoon at the conference.
It took me a minute to sit down near the exit (in case I had to go really bad) to blend it with the topic under discussion. I had actually bookmarked the workshop and perhaps had forgotten about it. No coincidence again I was meant to be here.
SONG’S Rural Organizing Workshop brought me back to my community, to the desert. In the Coachella Valley, being distant from all other cities and services from California, definitely brings to light good ideas not only to “queerify” spaces, but also to invite by immigrant community, including the farm workers, students, artist and allies to create something like the work SONG does in the South:
“We Decide Who We Are. We Decide Who We Love. We Decide How We Survive and Thrive”
“We believe that Community Organizing is the best way for us to build collective power and transform the South. Out of this belief we are committed to building freedom movements rooted in southern traditions like community organizing, political education, storytelling, music, breaking bread, resistance, humor, performance, critical thinking, and celebration” -said along the lines of one of the presenters representing Southerns On New Ground.
It’s amazing to have organizations like these in the south, facing all the “anti-immigrant” sentiment that impacts the well-being of many.
What really touched my heart is to remember my origins, the land in which me and my mother migrated. yet my work comes with me to every city or state I find work and opportunity, i find the moral obligation to come back home, whenever I can, and remain active, engaging, helping the inter-generational activist to create spaces that don’t exist, but also bridge those who do exist and yet don’t work with one another. The power of collaboration.
I’d love to see Catholic Charities work with our Queer groups in the Desert! (Sarcasm).
I think It is time for me to come home after a long year of learning. I’m hopeful to bring back home this tool to refine our communities understanding of what the queer immigrant life has looked like, and could look like, outside the urban context, and understand how queer life and rural life came to be positioned in many people’s minds as categories that often feel like they’re mutually exclusive.
Problems like crystal meth use among young man having sex with man (YMSM), hostile border patrol offices, bullying and new HIV infections continue to affect this land that I grew up. A Land divided by the expensive golf club and fancy hotels. With a Music Festival that brings Thousands, but is nowhere in our youth’s budget to attend or makes a positive impact to address our struggles in the community.
The Legacy and Dream of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer communities as committed to liberation, dignity, and safety for all people must be remembered, amplified, and carried forward….
I never forget where Home is in my heart. Year after year, I’m grateful to bridge services and empowerment to my younger generations that probably think moving to West Hollywood and Los Angeles is the best option that they have to succeed as queer youth.
The best remedies practiced for many generations are found in the house, with our elders. In our community. Never forget to give back to yours.