Creating Change 2013 · Uncategorized

“Home-Queer-Home” Rural Organizing

alex picBy 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”

5 of 6 SONG Founders celebrating 20 years of SONG


“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.

Creating Change 2013

“Be The Change” – A Morning with the National Black Justice Coalition

Trevoi pic
   Trevoi Crump
  Guest Blogger 
  “Be The Change” – A Morning with the National Black Justice Coalition

Creating Change Day 3! The day started off great. I woke up anxiously anticipating the day ahead not exactly knowing what workshops I would attend. However, once I finally figured out were I was going , I headed over to the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). Even though I arrived a few minutes late the workshop was very informative. As soon as I walked in  they were at the end of a conversation, that was already in progress, but I did catch the question that was possed. The question at hand was “How do we obtain organizations such as NBJC and other relatable organizations on our college campuses?” Me personally, I thought this was an extremely important topic to discuss, coming from a PWI in Columbia, South Carolina, I found it rather interesting to hear what exactly was going to be said. The response to the question was simple, yet profound. We are the CHANGE, it sounds cliche, right? But it’s true, we must take action on our own campuses if we wish to see change in and around our communities.

One significant thing I will say was pointed out is that, the work won’t be easy and the road will definitely be long! However, again we must create the atmosphere for change to take place. I’m a strong believer in the scripture “Faith without works is DEAD.” So we continue to sit around and wait on someone else, then what will we ever accomplish? President Barack Obama stated “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers & sisters are treated like anyone else under the law… for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”  That statement speaks volumes to the world as well as the LGBT community, it’s time that we stop waiting on others to start the process, when we can start it ourselves!! The NBJC is a great organization, I was extremely excited with all the information, and handouts I recieved. I realize that I now posses the information,  needed to continue on the path that’s already been set for me. But it’s up to me as to whether I progress or fail.

NBJC logo

Until next time.



Creating Change 2013

The Power Behind Creating Change

 Trevoi pic
  Trevoi Crump
  Guest Blogger 
  The Power Behind Creating Change
 Two words Creating Change … was truly a GREAT experience. This was my first time attending Creating Change, and I must say I was completely blown away. When I first began hearing about the conference, I was a little skeptical about it. I mean, this would be my first time attending something on this capacity. However, days leading up to the conference I became overwhelemed with excitement, it hit me that I was about to partake in something great; not to mention the conference falls around my 20th birthday. Once I arrived at Creating Change it was definitely a lot to take in, so many people, so many exhibitors, and so many sessions to attend; and I couldn’t think of what to do first. I attended the Campus Pride workshop, and I definitely learned a lot. It was really good to hear about how other campuses are including  African-American students in their organizations/ and or activities, this workshop was informative and very descriptive, it’s almost like we viewed the gay lifestyle from every perspective. But it was also intresting to learn how to bridge the gap between those in the LGBT and Heterosexual community. 

It feels great to be here, being in the same room with other activist, leaders and many other LGBT figures is AMAZING!! I am most enthused about seeing so many youth, if I don’t appreciate anything else I appreciate youth who believe in fighting for their rights! I’m excited about seeing what other organizations are doing nationally, as well as locally. Out of all the events I attended tonight, I really enjoyed the Opening Plenary. It was GREAT seeing so many LGBTQ people in the same room, but not just we’re getting along! If we keep at this rate the fight for equality will be a smooth one, not easy, but smooth. Learning to work amongst each other is the first step of many, and I look forward to working with the future activist, leaders and many other authoritive LGBT figures present this weekend.

Until next time.