A little less than two weeks ago my colleagues and I pulled off a national conference on community organizing and education reform, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We were celebrating our book, A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform. As one of the central planners, I got a first-hand look at the craziness that is running an almost 300-person conference. I slept for about a day and a half afterwards. But the conversations I had, and the presentations I got to sit in on, made it all worth it.
My favorite part, of course, was having the chance to pull together a panel on cultural organizing, with some superstars I’d been wanting to meet: Caron Atlas from Arts and Democracy was there, Ashleigh and Kassa from Project HIP-HOP in Boston, Koby Murphy from Philadelphia Student Union, and Anasa Troutman, fellow at the Movement Strategy Center. And the audience brought their own expertise, like Leroy Johnson from Southern Echo, who spoke about how if people are not celebrating and dancing, he is doing something wrong.
In the coming days I’ll post some specifics about their presentations, and some video when it’s available. I came away inspired, and more than ever aware of the vast array of work out there.