Mid-South Peace and Justice hosted a series of workshops called “G.O.T. Power” at the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) this fall. In this post, Mid-South Peace and Justice Center Training Director Gio Lopez reflects on the workshops and their alignment with the mission of NCRM.
At the National Civil Rights Museum, the exhibitions allow us to be witnesses of the history of oppression, racism, pain and sorrow throughout American history. Though the context may be different our country faces many of these problems today.
We still live surrounded by an oppressive system for people of color, the working class, the poor, the uneducated, the non-heterosexual, the non-masculine male, the physically unable, and even for the less privileged.
The museum’s exhibitions allow us to witness the proof of grassroots, nonviolent organizing effectiveness and the power of people who are hungry for social and economic justice. Many people today want to take action and be part of the change. In addition to learning the history of the movement, hundreds of people are getting involved hands-on, pro-active work for change and justice for all.
Civil rights and social change did not happen overnight. There were hundreds of people organizing through meetings, planning, strategizing, campaigning, direct action and civil disobedience. In addition to learning the history of the struggle, they trained, rehearsed, and took action toward making a positive, more lasting change.
Grassroots Organizer Training for Power -G.O.T. Power- Mid-South Peace and Justice Center’s training program, is a movement-building program that trains individuals and organizations in the skills of community organizing and further develops movements that can shift the balance of power in communities.
Thanks to our partnership with The Links Education Center of the National Civil Rights Museum G.O.T. Power – Mid-South Peace and Justice Center’s training program was able to host 7 public workshops and trainings, almost 5 neighborhood summits and trainings for specific organizations and grassroots groups of our community to continue building the movement and strengthening the power of the people.
Participants from all over the city gather to explore, learn and share. Some of the workshops and trainings G.O.T. Power offered at the Links Education Center included:
- Community Organizer Training – provided foundational skills for organizing and creating systematic change in a group or community while keeping nonviolence as a foundation.
- Storytelling for Activists – with Elaine Blanchard. This workshop encouraged participants to improve their listening skill and develop their own storytelling skills. Storytelling builds a bridge of understanding from one person to another; stereotypes are dissolved and both teller and listener are connected by their shared human experience.
- Founding and Funding Grassroots Groups – with Jacob Flowers taught participants the process, skills and actions needed to establish and financially sustain grassroots organizations.
- Nonviolence Skills Training – with Meta Peace Team focused on practicing the basic skills for nonviolent peacemaking and violence de-escalation.
- The Labor Liberation – explored the complexities of the labor movement in intersection with people’s diverse identities as workers.
- Media 201 – was an advanced media workshop focusing on: media planning, pitching stories, messaging, advanced interviewing techniques and creating talking points.
- Privilege and Oppression Awareness – encouraged the participants to recognize oppression and privilege within themselves and others in a safe space.
The partnership between Mid-South Peace and Justice and the National Civil Rights Museum will continue throughout 2015. The next workshop Privilege and Oppression Awareness will be on January 29 from 6-8:00pm in the Links Education & Cultural Center.
Mid-South Peace and Justice offers workshops/trainings in Spanish as well. For more information or to register for a workshop, please visit www.midsouthpeace.org or call us 901-725-4990.
Have you taken part in any G.O.T. Power workshops? What was your experience like?