Day 10 of the International Exchange: Learnings and Pivots
We spent our final day on the Intercambio reflecting on some of our learnings, knowing we are only just beginning to metabolize this rich and intense experience. Many collective conversations will undoubtedly be needed to deepen our understanding and make real our commitments. But the seeds that have been planted are already starting to sprout.
Pivots — Personal, Organizational, and Movement-Level
These reflections helped spur cohort members to identify personal, organizational, and movement-level pivots that they want to integrate and advocate for, including:
- No longer equating America with the United States and recognizing that our country is not the only America
- Investing more deeply in language justice and seeing it as something that all participate in, not just as access that goes one way
- Including and centering Afro-descendant people in our work with meaningful representation
- Supporting Black women to be in leadership positions and following their lead
- Using existing international networks like Grassroots Global Justice and the fight to have Indigenous women’s rights included in CEDAW as ways for local organizations to connect with global issues
- Centering sexual violence as a global tool of oppression
- Challenging the gender binary
- Integrating immigration interventions into all our movements for the inclusion, protection, and safety of immigrants, regardless of which movement we work in
- Describing our U.S.-based work in a way that connects to a global context. How might we re-frame work we are doing on gentrification and environmental racism as land defense? How might refugee communities that have been removed from their land participate in land defense wherever we build community?
- Building stronger links and shared struggle between Black and Indigenous communities, including having conversations about land and reparations that unite, rather than divide, us
- Doing intergenerational organizing across the life span and confronting ageism against young people and elders
- From a global perspective, targeting institutions that are attacking our homelands
Our reflection time also surfaced regrets and some lessons on how we could have taken even more advantage of our time in Mesoamerica, including:
- Having a shared collective analysis before arriving about the harmful role of the U.S. in the region historically and currently
- Having collective conversations about the ethics of us as people from the United States coming to this region and examining what is our responsibility to account for the damage the U.S. has done
- Having more time for strategic and tactical discussions between cohort members and local leaders
- Moving beyond healing and relationship-building to deeply commit to addressing systemic change
We know that violence against girls and women is a global problem and that the United States plays a major role in perpetuating violence around the world. We know that the problem is systemic and that lasting solutions also need to be systemic. And we know that none of us are free until all of us are free.
We end this exchange with deep gratitude for our partner JASS and the local leaders who shared their experiences and knowledge with us and with whom we have built relationships over these last ten days. We also have deep gratitude for those at home and work who made it possible for us to be away for several days. And we appreciate ourselves for taking the risk to come, for being open, and for committing to changing our movements so that when we say “all women and girls”, we truly mean it.