This has been a very substantial week. I’ve learned so much, met so many, and been so amazed. The US Social Forum is easily and beautifully worth the enormous amounts of energy put into planning, arrangements, organizing, building, and arriving there.
There were so many choices. The choices went beyond the 4 pages of workshops available during each two hour time slot over three days, beyond the extra page of workshops running throughout the entire afternoon, beyond the breakdancing, capoeira, live performances, and parades popping up in lobbies and on streets all over downtown Detroit, and way beyond basic necessities like eating and sleeping. I felt pulled in many directions. It was almost a surprise to sit down in each workshop once I arrived and find out what incredible topic had finally grabbed me most forcefully; it was definitely a surprise to find out what themes trickled out of those mad grabs. I found myself particularly chasing media related workshops, like “Movements begin with the telling of untold stories” with the Media Mobilizing Project and “Grassroots media networks v. immigrant criminalization” with Deep Dish TV. I found myself helping to conduct a media-based workshop which we had planned although I hadn’t really realized how important the issue is to me, “Digital Storytelling for Social Change” (in collaboration with A2S and GOT BP).
And it’s a good thing too, because now I’m a journalist. Check out what I’m going to write. I pitched the story of my workshop tour to a website for community-funded journalism – a wonderful idea, I think, because community-funded should mean pertinent and important to the community. Even cleverer, advertising revenue is also community-directed, so anyone can go onto the website, take a survey (click the button that says “EARN credits”), and apply some dollars/credits to whichever story they’d like to see written. Like maybe mine –
And it’s a good thing too, because now I’m in Oberlin, Ohio conducting my first workshop based on the curriculum I developed in India. And that’s not the half of it.