Monday, January 24, 2005

There's No Place Like Home

And there's nothing like traveling to give you some perspective on life, on your hometown, and on the good things you've got that you take for granted everyday. After my less-than-cheerful previous post, I've gotten some light and fresh clean air and have once again remembered that life is pretty fuckin' good.

I just got back last night from Denver, where I attended a 3-day training for trainers offered by GIFT, an amazing organization that has dedicated itself to training the next generation of fundraisers of color who want to build social justice community groups by raising money from everyday folks--poor people, people of color, immigrants, youth, etc. These folks actually give most of the money that's given to non-profits in this country (upwards of 75%), but for various classist and racist reasons are not prioritized as donors or fundraisers by many progressive groups.

The training was fantastic, definitely the best training I've been to in many years (and I've been to lots of workshops and seminars on various fundraising and non-profit management topics in recent history), and I met some cool people who are doing extraordinary work in their communities. From organizing young women of color in Albuquerque (Young Women United) to building a coalition of Latino organizations in North Carolina, from running environmental justice campaigns in API communities to providing crucial support to grassroots groups in New York City, the groups represented by the participants at the GIFT training are engaged in meaningful and necessary work to make this country a real democracy that includes everyone that lives and works here, not just the folks who are 'citizens' and 'voters'. And my comrades from these groups reminded me once again how much great organizing work and movement-building is going on, slowly but surely, day by day, even in the US, the belly of the imperialist beast.

Denver was interesting. It's in a spectacular natural environment, with th snow-capped Rocky Mountains on the horizon, stretching as far as the eye can see, almost seeming to surround you. But Denver's not a very integrated city, you could say. Definitely saw Black folks and Latinos, but the downtown scene in the bars and restaurants was pretty white. I didn't observe any overtly racist discrimination; people were pretty friendly if not overly-curious about our group--a multi-racial people of color crew that roamed the somewhat desolate streets of downtown Denver every night. The last night I was there I realized with a shudder that Littleton, Colorado--where Columbine High School is located--is only 20 minutes away.

Although I had a great time at the training and in Denver, I do get homesick quite easily when I travel, and I was so happy to come home last night, especially after a long day of airport waiting and delays. Seeing H. was, of course, sweet and nourishing to my soul. As M., my hotel roomie in Denver, said after overhearing some of our phone conversations, H. softens me and 'makes me all melty'. He is the true blessing of my life.

Today, I welcome myself home with a nice Frisco-style brunch, with good coffee and grub, the Bay Guardian on my lap, and some phat beats playing in the background. There really is no place like home.

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