Site Supervisor Reflections
Thoughts from our Site Supervisors
For white folks who are committed to new and creative ways of building an anti-racist movement and world, volunteering with grassroots community organizations is vital to perspective, humility, and the process of unlearning oppressions. It is also a first and concrete step in supporting grassroots communities of color in a constructive and respectful way.
-Alex Tom, Chinese Progressive Association
The Anne Braden Program volunteers have been amazing to work with. It’s been a great experience to listen and learn from their perspectives, as well as offer our methodologies of placing racial justice and social justice feminism at the center of our of organizing for peace and economic justice. For the Women of Color Resource Center, it’s been a valuable experience to receive such solidarity and strong ally support from Anne Braden program participants. There’s something really valuable about being in the field, in addition to doing the anti-oppression “homework” at a personal level. This kind of work gives us what we need to build effective bridges across lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, and generation, leading to stronger alliances. It’s ever-evolving work, and we’re all in it together. We’re happy to be a part of it!
-Maryam Roberts, Women of Color Resource Center , Service Women’s Action Network
Cultivating revolutionary capacity and revolutionary consciousness is not a simple or mechanical process. It is the product of the accumulated skills and wisdom that develop only as we struggle alongside other people to understand the problems that we face and as we step out to resolve those problems. In the United States, community-based organizations are some of the best labratories for people to take action, to change the world, and that’s why it’s so important that we, as people committed to the liberation of all oppressed peoples, support the development of community-based organizations. This support can take many different forms. Some people might work as staff. Others might donate money. All of these roles are important. But one of the most under-appreciated roles is that of the volunteer who comes in to do whatever she can to help grassroots organizations grow.
POWER has been honored to have two talented and committed revolutionaries volunteering with us— side by side— as a part of the Anne Braden Program. Alex and Thomas have each and together made huge contributions to POWER’s work— from mobilizing support to take thousands of units of housing out of the market to supporting a performance about the liberation of working-class women of color.
Revolution is about the oppressed making our collective interests real in the world. In that way, Thomas and Alex have been helping to bring about revolution.
-Steve Williams, People Organized to Win Employment Rights
As is commonly appreciated among organizers and activists, the integration of practice with theory and a dialectical mutual informing of the two are key to strengthening both our day to day work as well as larger movement building. Practical experience and work with community based organizations, like generationFIVE, provide opportunities for the lessons and ideas explored in the trainings to be observed, practiced and deepened through on the ground work. And likewise, the contributions of the interns to the work, can provide crucial capacity and reach for those organizations.
For generationFIVE, our volunteers jumped in head first, beginning with participation in and support of an intensive 3-day training on child sexual abuse and transformative justice. From that first weekend, their work has helped make it possible for a much larger group of individuals and organizations to learn about and get involved in further building Transformative Justice here in the Bay Area.