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Alternative Spring Break 2013-2014 - "Till the Winds of Freedom Blow": Working towards rights, justice, and liberation through the lens of black, arab, and queer resistance

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Trip Name: 
"Till the Winds of Freedom Blow": Working towards rights, justice, and liberation through the lens of black, arab, and queer resistance
Trip Location: 
Bay Area, CA
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Trip Description: 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Many of us have a root social issue (or two--or three) that for whatever reason pulls at our hearts and preoccupies our minds. Our concern may be based in our personal experiences with any number of things to racism and sexism, class inequality and sexual identity--or it may be based in our empathy for the suffering of people on the other side of the city or the world. Yet with such large structures confronting us, we may feel powerless to respond, to resist, to recreate the world. And as power concedes nothing without a demand, it is up to us to figure out what demands we make and how best to make them. 

With studying black, arab and queer organizing in the Bay Area as case studies, we aim to to examine the different methods of affecting social change with the goal of helping participants finetune what works best for them.  In this trip, we will explore important questions in understanding how systems of oppression function: what is the distinction between equality and justice; human rights and liberation? Should we be idealistic or pragmatic in our activist approaches? What is “intersectionality” and how do we take it into account? What’s more effective; working bottom up or top down? We will spend time learning strategies and tools from various organization and individuals committed to social change--from civil rights groups, community farms and grassroots organizers to politicians, lobbyists and artists/media makers. Potential site visits include East Palo Alto, Oakland, Berkeley and Stockton, in addition to San Francisco.  

Though the primary lens for this trip comes through the leaders’ intellectual and experiential understanding of black, arab and queer liberation, we aim to create a space that celebrates the organic intellectual/organizer in all of us--learning from knowledge we all hold from our own experiences and building a course around the interests of all participants. Neither an understanding of any or all of these issues is required—just a commitment to learning and actualizing change.

Trip Leaders