SOUL is a training center based here in Oakland. We just relocated to downtown Oakland recently, and we discuss ourselves as a educational school to build a movement. We place ourselves in the social justice work in the Bay Area as an exercise center here. We concentrate on political education and organizer skills trainings, and we definitely think it is critical to see the fusion of those a couple of things.
Our political education starts on a very basic level by identifying the systems of oppression that we live under here in the United States. We see four primary systems of oppression that we need to address on a very basic level to get through to the next systems. We start talking about classism, as it pertains to capitalism, and then move to heterosexism, also talked about more broadly as homophobia.
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We talk about male supremacy, known more as sexism loosely, and white supremacy as it relates to racism then. In focusing on those four systems, we recognize institutionally how critical it is to merge the discussion about these various systems and political education to organizing, and exactly how organizing is one method to initiate change for a more just world.
We utilize a lot of young organizers as well as elder organizers, and we’ve seven different programs to talk with that fusion about. We definitely promote an organizing orientation to education work. How do you get involved with this type or kind of work? Personally i think like I was born involved with it really.
Both my parents and my older brother, on an extremely early just, early, early level began presenting me to principles. I feel like I had been bred that way really. I believe my first political action was, just to age myself, I was in the 5th grade, against the first Gulf War. So I’m only 26. And in terms of how I got involved with SOUL, I used to be actually teaching for an extremely short period in the Oakland middle colleges. I had been at that time working at a wonderful organization called Streetside Stories, which really is a literacy arts organization with programming in various Title 1 middle academic institutions in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA.
Given that I was raised in San Francisco, born and raised, it was a really unique chance to get to work, and get more hands on experience in the educational schools. Year ended Following the school, I ended up taking the job with SOUL and I’ve been here almost three years now.
For the first calendar year . 5 I used to be working as the coordinator of the educational alternative program that is out into the high schools, and then was recruited to apply for the positioning of co-directorship here. For days gone by year . 5 I’ve been the Co-Director of Organizational Development and Communications here at SOUL.
What do you love the most about your work at SOUL? And what’s the most challenging thing about your work? I feel like essentially the most challenging thing for me here is kinda spotting what I have to offer, you know. And if someone you were dealing with thought to you that the hardest thing about the organizing work I’m doing is the non-public impact that the political is wearing me every day, what advice do you give them?
That’s a hard one. What are some resources you can recommend to people who are thinking about this type or kind of work, or your preferred publication? I don’t know easily have a favorite book. When there is a person who is thinking about organizing, but they can’t come to your trainings, what are some action steps they can take? Well, this organization actually, POWER, People Organized to Win Employment Rights, just came out with a great publication called Towards Land Work and Power that’s very, super accessible. It’s actually in three different languages, Chinese, Spanish and English.