Today I helped moderate the Conversation Space, Generation Change: Opening the Door for Young Leaders and New Energy. It was inspiring and stimulating. Dave Suetholz, a union lawyer from Kentucky, talked about the power you have to make change happen when you bring people together. He witnessed during his days as a campus activist at Villanova University how Bread for the World helped to awaken and empower people. Tim King, working for Public Action for Change (PACT) in Chicago emphasized the importance of young leaders having good mentors to guide them. Liz Harstad, Chief of Staff at the Hip Hop Caucus, echoed Tim's thoughts on mentorship and the need for young leaders to be mentored from those that have done social justice work before. Having institutional support and buy-in was another insight she shared with the group. Finally, Dr. Sue Toton, a professor of religion at Villanova University, talked about the crucial role of organizing. She see's teaching as a form of organizing and encourages young leaders to learn how to organize.
Everyone stressed how important relationship building was in organizing. Internet organizing and flyers are great tools, but without personal relationships change will not happen. This message warmed my heart as a see people at this conference building new and old relationships. Movement building is happening at this conference and I am so excited to be a part of it and so grateful for the wisdom of people of all ages!
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