On August 17-22, 2008, Highlander friends and supporters in California held a series of events to celebrate Highlander’s 75 years on the cutting edge of social justice organizing and to draw lessons from this experience to nurture and inspire current and future organizing efforts in their local areas.
- On August 17th, over 100 Highlander friends and supporters gathered in Los Angeles to celebrate Highlander’s 75 years of cutting-edge work for social and economic justice. The party included talks by Robert Ben Garant, screenwriter/actor and great-nephew of Highlander’s founder Myles Horton and Pam McMichael, Highlander’s Director, as well as music by Jacki Breger and her band. Pictures from the party are available at www.highlandercenter.org/photo-gallery-la-2008.asp.
- On August 20-21, 50 people attended a two-day popular education training facilitated by Highlander staff Monica Hernandez and Anasa Troutman in San Francisco co-sponsored by the Partnership for Immigrant Leadership, the Center for Political Education, and the School of Unity and Liberation. The training brought together many people who had never met before, helping to strengthen cross-issue and cross-constituency organizing efforts in the Bay area. Pictures from the workshop are available at www.highlandercenter.org/photo-gallery-sf-2008.asp.
- On August 20th, 65 people gathered at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in Occidental, CA for a conversation with Highlander Director Pam McMichael and staff members Monica Hernandez and Anasa Troutman. OAEC Executive Director Dave Henson, who has a long relationship with Highlander and previously worked on environmental justice issues in the South, organized the event. Highlander staff was particularly interested in seeing Occidental as we develop our long-term vision for the land Highlander is purchasing next door.
- On August 21st, over 100 people came to the San Francisco Friends Meetinghouse for a showing of You Got to Move, a documentary by Lucy Phenix about people from communities in the South on different points of their journeys of becoming social change activists, all of whom were connected to Highlander. Following the film, Phenix with movement elders Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez, author 500 Years of Chicano History in Picture, and Clayborne Carson, Stanford University Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, reflected on the film and Highlander’s history, and drew out lessons for today. Once again, the event brought people together who were not already in each other’s circles.
- On August 22nd, over 100 people gathered at the Million Fishes Gallery in San Francisco for a Highlander house party that included performances by award winning saxophonist Francis Wong and a choral presentation of Highlander history by the Rockin’ Solidarity Labor Chorus and Vukani Mawethu Choir; and talks by artist/activist Kip Williams and Highlander Director Pam McMichael. A short video from the house party is available at www.highlandercenter.org/photo-gallery-sf-2008.asp.
Many thanks to all who helped organize and/or participated in these events.