We’ve just graduated a new cohort of LDIR Alumni this past summer and it was the first time we’ve implemented a program like this. Over the course of 3 months, Advancing Justice Los Angeles clients and volunteers came together to raise their awareness of the impact of their identities in a US context. 12 participants were accepted across various background – and together we workshopped the skills necessary to be advocates and develop community based solutions to systematic issues. Leaders gained storytelling, communication, conflict management, and team building skills to create action projects that can effect change in their communities.
In those three months and intensive weekends, they touched on various aspects of the LDIR program curriculum such as: building solidarity: stories of self, getting activated through different approaches of social change, community needs assessment, embracing difference, finalizing their action project, and moving it into action.
Here’s what our participants had to say about the program:
“I think it’s really important to have the program. Events like this and seminar are so important. I really really feel like a big need because so many people are just in a habit and grind in life, so you don’t have the opportunity to have deep conversations or to get to grow with other people cause different environments and don’t have the space to do it. The seminars are important because you’re learning tools – hard skills. and LDIR did a good job and it did a good job to do so.” – Marissa Nagiri.
“The curriculum was set up in the way that able to express yourself. It was the effect of the curriculum. Everything we learned was really valuable and though we may already know some of it, we always need practice – social issues are always changing and our ideology needs refining.” -Maneesha Horshin.
And now our participants are well on their way of developing their community projects and implementing it into action. The developing of an action project was arguably the most powerful part of the program and a big reason our participants joined this program. Here they had the chance to not just develop their leadership skills but also apply the tools and resources they learned as well, but have the space and resources to guide them. At times like this, when people want to find a way to take meaningful action… the points in which someone new can enter social justice work can be confusing. That’s why we wanted to create this space and opportunity. We now have two groups – one working on increasing caretaker rights and awareness and one conducting surveys on health issues in the undocumented API community. We’ll share more updates on their projects soon!