Saturday, July 13, 2013

✰The Positive, the Problematic & the Potentially Glorious ✰

Suggestions Brainstormed at the “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind” workshop at Allied Media Conference (AMC) 2013 


The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is a very special conference, dear to our hearts and one of the best ones for childcare, youth programming, and nurturing an intergenerational movement.  It builds on feedback from each year, with a we begin by listening credo, and continually works to build collective access. We want to recognize that a lot of planning and effort happens to intentionally support caregivers and children and we thank everyone involved. Please accept the more critical feedback within this list with love and as part of the ongoing conversations to help move forward for next year.


lacing cards, a chew proof baby book, & baby blocks


The Positive
  • Parents and caregivers feel excited to bring children to the AMC. One mom said that the combo of childcare + Kids’ Track makes the AMC one of the few places she wants to bring her small child.
  • Youth are excited about coming to the AMC. They get a lot out of the experience such as workshops that are engaging for youth (such as scratch, flash animation, green screen*) and build media skills they can use outside of the conference. Children can also meet others with similar kinds of parents and not feel isolated by being the only kid from a political family.
  • Non-parents enjoy seeing children around them. Having childcare be in the main space and seeing children around them feels good.
  • One mom, who was at the AMC with her two young children for the first time, said that the combo of childcare + Kids’ Track makes her very hopeful.
  • Relationships are being built and nurtured so we can also support each other in more organic ways all around, and outside of, the conference.  
  • Two of the youth are already making plans to come to next year’s AMC!

    * Although we later found out that the greenscreen workshop either didn’t happen or was moved to an undisclosed location. The tweens, as well as several adults, went to the indicated room which was empty & waited & waited & waited & finally gave up.






The Problematic
  • Youth not prioritized in “all ages” workshops. Youth arriving late to “How to Create Magical Card Decks”  felt uncomfortable and left because the workshop was crowded and full of adults. Youth can feel intimidated if a the “Kids Transform the World Practice Space” is mostly attended by adults and want to leave the room when they come in to see this is the case.
  • Unsafe equipment/supplies (such as razor blades at small child level) in some of the spaces that are listed as “Appropriate and engaging for all ages” workshops
  • Railings on 2nd floor are extremely dangerous for small children, who can easily fall through. Putting up decorative cloth on the railing only makes it more appealing and thus more of a hazard.
  • Lack of clear structure for volunteers to know what is happening and what is expected of them: A childcare volunteer said that they were given no information about kids’ names, caregivers, allergies, etc., when they came in to volunteer. It felt extremely disconnected, confusing, and upsetting to not know what one was supposed to be doing and for there to be little communication during shift changes (people just coming and going without saying anything other then goodbye) or when taking children outside.
  • No quiet, dark (or able to be darkened) room for children to nap. Also, a shortage of childcare providers means that there’s no one to watch napping kids.






The Potentially Glorious
  • Put a cap on how many adults (without children) can be in a workshop that is geared for youth.
  • Quality control to make “Appropriate and engaging for all ages” workshops both engaging AND safe. Have a check-off list for presenters to go through to make sure their space is safe.
  • Have childcare (and the Kids Track) on the 1st floor!!!
  • Have an additional nearby quiet/napping room with extra volunteers
  • Provide healthy food/snacks with regard to food allergies and restrictions
  • Childcare organizers advocate for healthy food
  • Put trigger warnings on workshop descriptions instead of labeling sessions as “not appropriate for kids.” Allow caregivers (and other adults) to choose whether to attend based on content, not a sometimes-arbitrary rating system. *
  • Give trigger warnings before the start of the workshop. (This warns people who may have forgotten/not read the trigger warning in the description.)
  • Have name tags for all kids that include caregivers’ names and allergy info. Incorporate nametag making as an art activity at the beginning of each day so that the kids feel ownership of their name tag (and are less likely to take them off).
  • Childcare volunteers should do a head-count before taking kids outside & then another before returning to the childcare space.
  • Have a short (1-2 page) orientation handout for all childcare volunteers that includes how long they’re expected to stay and WHAT is expected of them. Information needs to be shared with ALL childcare volunteers.
  • More paid (2-3) childcare staff. More childcare and Kids Transform the World Track volunteers. Also, more intersections that conference attendees can get involved in supporting caregivers and children at different comfort/commitment levels as well as more learning opportunities on how to do so.
  • Science fiction geeks! How about creating a sci-fi workshop for tweens/young teens with accessible language? Also consider other themes, like how sex-positive subject matter could also be created into a class for tweens which need this kind of information.
  • Have AMC youth scholarships to cover travel expenses so that more children can attend the conference with their caregivers. Also all different groups and collectives could consider organizing (based around geography or issues, for example) collective support/scholarships for caregivers and children in their midst.
  • Network with the Disability Justice folks to collaborate on broader platforms of access.

    * Info about difficulties in planning rating system: when organizers plan the conference they don’t know what room workshops will be in and they also edit the descriptions a lot.





Utopian
  • What if EVERYONE doing a workshop committed to :
    • keeping sharp and/or dangerous objects out of reach
    • making an announcement at the start that kid noises are welcome
    • encouraging people (of all ages) to ask for definitions/clarifications if they don’t understand terms that are used
    • giving trigger warnings

  • AMC organizers:
    • create a small working group which includes caregivers and kids on how to make the AMC more kid-friendly.
    • Create a collective vision/official statement of how the AMC wants to include children and caregivers.
    • Create a 5-year plan to work towards meeting these goals. Rushing too fast to create inclusion without necessarily understanding how to do so can create additional problems and push us past our capacities. We need to work on these issues in an extended committed fashion.



      We brought toys that would be safe for babies and all- ages because last time we didn't have anything fun for 
      all the small children in our heavily talk-based workshop 


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Suggestions brainstormed at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair 2013



check in table

What are some ways to support families in your midst?


  • Having youth-led workshops. Have the kids/youth lead a workshop for everyone!
  • Include images of children in the outreach & publicity to show that kids (and all ages) are welcome to your event. Welcome children’s artwork and participation in the media making process.
  • Don’t marginalize the kids’ space and caregivers so that they’re excluded from the larger event.
  • Don’t marginalize supporting families as being only “parents and kids” issues.
  • Follow through on what you offer. Get support of your own to help you process your own issues and boundaries so you can be clear on what you can offer, and take care of yourself while supporting others.
  • Learn from doula-ism: Many new moms are reluctant to ask for help with basic things (like doing dishes, cooking meals). Offer to do these things so that they don’t have to. Cook in bulk so that they can freeze leftovers and reheat them later.
  • It shouldn’t be on parents to lead the call for childcare.
  • Create different ways of participating in demos for those who would be left behind on a long walk. For example, one group rented a bus to bring children, parents, and others who couldn’t march the entire way.
  • If parents are willing to open their homes to meetings, those would ensure that the space is kid-friendly and kid-welcoming. However everyone should plan to pitch in with set-up and clean-up.
  • Parent should feel okay asking for help. Create a culture in which it’s okay to ask for help.
  • Offer resources for parents if you feel they could benefit from them.
  • For white parents not teaching their kids about race, offer resources to talk about other races, ethnicities and cultures.
  • Offer to collectively help parents get/pay for resources that they can’t otherwise afford (like cloth diapers).
  • Volunteer with the Montreal Childcare Collective.
  • Offer alternatives rather than criticisms.




    Thank You: Montreal Anarchist Bookfair, Montreal Childcare Collective, and QPIRG ! < 3





Thursday, April 4, 2013

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind at NYC Anarchist Bookfair, Sat April 6, 1-2 pm

This Saturday afternoon, DLYFB contributor and mama Jennifer Silverman and I will be facilitating a discussion on ways to create family-friendly, all-ages spaces in our movements and communities as part of the NYC Anarchist Bookfair.

Note that we are NOT at the main bookfair venue. We will be speaking at:

ABC No Rio

156 Rivington Street (between Clinton and Suffolk Streets)

Get directions here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind in Washington, DC! Sat, March 9

DC BOOK RELEASE PARTY  
for
Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: 
Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
 
featuring co-editors Vikki Law, China Martens, and area contributors. 
 

March 9, 2013, at 5 pm

St. Stephen’s Auditorium
1525 Newton St. NW Washington, DC 20010
phone: 202-487-8698
 
Join co-editors China Martens and Vikki Law along with Mark Andersen of Positive Force and We Are Family for a discussion and celebration on ways that social justice movements and communities can support the families in their midst.

This event is for all ages. Bring your families and loved ones!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind in the Bay Area--March 15 & 16

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind
San Francisco book party

Fri, March 15th, 8 pm

Modern Times, 2919 24 Street, San Francisco (Mission District)
http://moderntimesbookstore.com/


How do we create new, non-hierarchical structures of support and mutual aid and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Let's build an all-ages, inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind.

Join co-editor Vikki Law and Bay Area contributors Diana Block, Encian Pastel, Sasha Luci, Mariposa, Maxina Ventura and Tiny, Ingrid DeLeon and the Po' Poets Project/Poetas POBRES Proyecto for a reading, performance, discussion and celebration of ways to support families in social justice movements and communities. Let's build an all-ages, all-inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind! 


This is an event for all ages; bring your children!!

Victoria Law is a mother, writer and photographer. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles Of Incarcerated Women, which won her the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award. She is also a co-founder of Books Through Bars--NYC and a long-time volunteer at ABC No Rio, a community arts center in the Lower East Side. She parents a 12-year-old daughter who is unimpressed by any of this.

Diana Block has been an activist for forty years. She spent over a decade parenting her two children while underground and on the run from the FBI, an experience she chronicles in Arm the Spirit: A Woman's Journey Underground and Back.


The Bay Area Childcare Collective was formed in 2002 in response to the very real need for childcare among social justice organizations. We hope to play a part in building a movement that prioritizes the voices and political agendas of women and mothers, especially women of color, low-income women, and immigrant women.


Ingrid DeLeon is a poet, clothing designer, actress, Prensa POBRE reportera, mama of four children, poverty and im/migrant scholar in residence at POOR Magazine and author of El Viaje: The Journey of One Immigrant Mother published by POOR Press.

Mariposa, a POOR Magazine indigenous scholar and Indigenous Peoples Media Project Coordinator, has just recently relocated from a reservation in the Southwest back to her birthplace of San Francisco. She is committed to standing as the source of transformation for our peoples healing and being that source of love even when people don’t even love themselves. She is a co-founder of the Eagle and Condor Healing Project, which aims to support family reunification and birth in Indigenous communities by providing healing spaces, performance art, and one on one consulting with individuals and/or organizations.
 
Maxina Ventura
is a longtime anarchist activist who chose not to send her kids to any school. They are great learners and pretty wonderful people, helping most recently to set up the Occupy Berkeley encampment in the SF Bay Area. Max is a singer grown on Bluegrass and Old-Time music, and trained in the classical musical world. For many years, she has been exposing the folly of activist movements trying to separate parents and kids.

Sasha Luci is an unschooling mom of three living in the Bay Area.

Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia) is a poverty scholar, revolutionary journalist, lecturer, Indigenous Taino, Roma mama of Tiburcio, daughter of Dee, and the co–founder of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE/PoorNewsNetwork. She founded Escuela de la gente/PeopleSkool- a multi-generational, multi-lingual, poor and indigenous people-led skool for all peoples outside the instition. She founded several cultural art, poetry and theatre projects like the Po Poets Project, the welfareQUEENs, Theatre of the POOR and she co-founded with Tony Robles, Hotel Voices and Born N Raised In Frisco, to name a few. She is also the author of Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America, published by City Lights, co-editor of A Decolonizers Guide to A Humble Revolution published by POOR Press and currently in production on her second book- Poverty SkolaShip #101- A PeoplesTeXt- due to released in 2014

Po Poets Project/Poetas POBREs Proyecto de Prensa POBRE are Youth, Adults, Elders struggling to stay alive and thrive through race and class oppression using our voices, our poetry, our stories, our art, to create change for poor folks locally and globally.

AND

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind
East Bay book party

Sat, March 16th, 7pm

Solespace, 1714 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
http://solespaceoakland.com/

How do we create new, non-hierarchical structures of support and mutual aid and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Let's build an all-ages, inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind.

Join co-editor VictoriaLaw and Bay Area contributors Tomas Moniz, Lisa Gray-Garcia (aka Tiny of POOR magazine), Jessica Hoffmann, Mari Villaluna and Briana Cavanaugh for a reading, discussion and celebration of ways to support families in social justice movements and communities. Let's build an all-ages, all-inclusive revolution that leaves no one behind! 

This is an event for all ages; bring your children!!
 
Briana Cavanaugh
has been a community organizer for more than twenty years. Her focus has been primarily on collaborative “human services” public policy with a love of community and spiritual group facilitation. She’s been an activist single mom since 2002 and made the surprisingly terrifying leap to homeschooling her tween in 2010, by his request.

Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia
)
is a poverty scholar, revolutionary journalist, lecturer, Indigenous Taino, Roma mama of Tiburcio, daughter of Dee, and the co–founder of POOR Magazine. She is also the author of Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America
 
Jessica Hoffmann is a coeditor/copublisher of make/shift magazine and auntie of the marvelous Ruby Joy Hoffmann.

Victoria Law (editor) is a mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, which won the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award and earned her the 2011 Brooklyn College Young Alumna Award. She parents a 12-year-old daughter who is unimpressed by any of this.

Tomas Moniz is the founder, editor, and a writer for the award winning zine Rad Dad (anthologized as a book in 2011). Looking for radical parenting community, he created Rad Dad to provide the space for parents (and in particular fathers) to share, commiserate, plan, and support each other in challenging patriarchy one diaper at a time. He is helping to raise three children and lives with a menagerie of animals in Berkeley, California.



 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Radical Parenting and Sustaining a Multi-Generational Movement: A conversation with Vikki Law & China Martens on "The Final Straw" - Ashville FM!!


Listen to our first radio interview together on Ashville FM. 
Thanx Bursts!
This week we speak to Vikki Law and China Martens about the newly published book,Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities (PM Press, 2012) , which they edited and contributed to. We talk about multigenerationality in struggle as well as intersections of age, class, gender and race.
This show will be streaming from 12/17-12/23/2012 at Ashevillefm.org and available for podcast and download at Radio4all.net