Working for the Organizers Apprenticeship Project allowed us as a group, as well as myself as an individual, to better understand the meaning of racial, social, and economic injustice in Minnesota. The community perspective in many ways has been lost with the increasing use of the Internet and relocation of families due to work and other issues, such as immigration. OAP brings to light the need for a third place through community outreach, engagement, and making changes to improve life in communities where people are experiencing disparities.
OAP offers solutions and outreach through the training of community organizers who want to work on issues of injustice by looking for ways to liberate community members and give them a voice. Through training offered at OAP, students in the program, and through the program’s workshops, receive first hand, real-world experience working for racial, social, and economic equity. In this short semester our group was fortunate enough to experience the knowledge, power, and responsibility that organizers are gaining from the program. It is inspiring to know that.
Here are a few things we learned by working with OAP:
·You can go to the capitol and claim you’re a constituent of your district or neighborhood and make a formal complaint or argument about a bill that is on the floor. It’s very empowering to realize that you, as an individual, can truly express a concern!
·You can make a difference in your community. Several women we met on the training day in April became advocates and active members of local non-profits that were making a difference in their neighborhoods, because they wanted to BE the change they wanted to see! Two organizations that were most impressionable to me were Appetite for Change and Protect Minnesota. The women who were representing these organizations had strong roots in the community and personal experiences that made them want to make a change.
Being the change you want to see in the world is where OAP apprentices start.