On October 10-12, 2008, Highlander held the third session of THREADS, our new multi-racial, intergenerational leadership and organizer training institute, which includes participants from organizations in eight states: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

THREADS: A Leadership and Organizing School - III THREADS: A Leadership and Organizing School - III
Participants in the third THREADS workshop.
For more pictures, click here.

This session focused on organizing 101 and included brief introductions to Highlander’s core methodologies: popular education, participatory research, cultural organizing, and multilingual capacity building. Participants also engaged in the interactive “Hungry Woman” exercise, which enabled them to explore the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to social change, including service provision, legal advocacy, economic development, electoral campaigns, and community organizing.

In addition to these activities, participants met in small groups around specific organizing issues, talked about the impact of the election on their work, and discussed plans for the next two sessions, which will be held in participant communities.

I was able to do this because of what I have learned at THREADS and Highlander.” – THREADS participant from North Carolina, after helping to organize a successful immigrant-rights rally in Hendersonville, NC

The Sunday following the session, the team from western North Carolina team held a march in Asheville and a rally in Hendersonville to protest recent workplace raids by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials and the arrest of over 100 immigrants by local police operating under a “287g” agreement with ICE that allows them to enforce immigration laws. Over 200 people attended these events, highlighting the impact of these draconian enforcement policies on the immigrant community.

During the THREADS workshop, other participants supported the North Carolina team by helping them make signs, discussing experiences and strategies, and offering moral support. Following the workshop, several participants and three members of the Highlander staff also went to the rally in Hendersonville. After the event, one of the organizers commented that “I was able to do this because of what I have learned at THREADS and Highlander.”

For more information about THREADS, click here.