On March 7-8, 2008, Highlander staff members Mónica Hernández and Elandria Williams facilitated workshops at El Foro Latino and Foro Juvenil, the annual statewide immigrant leadership gatherings for adults and young people in North Carolina sponsored by El Pueblo.

The two gatherings were held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC, and attended by nearly 300 immigrants from across the state. Both were very diverse — attended by documented, undocumented, and migrant activists from urban and rural areas whose countries of origin included Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, and more.

Mónica led a workshop at El Foro Latino on leadership and base building for social change that was attended by 40 people. This session explored how different styles of leadership enhance or hinder social change, and it helped participants identify concrete steps to strengthen leadership development in their own organizations and communities.

Elandria led two workshops At Foro Juvenil on youth activism and young people’s role in social change attended by a total of 125 people. These sessions used popular theater and other techniques to help participants identify the forces and institutions that hold young people down and how they can “flip the script.”

The youth workshops also highlighted the ongoing impact of Highlander’s education work. The planning committee for El Foro Juvenil included two youth and two adult allies from El Pueblo who attended Highlander’s 2007 Seeds of Fire youth leadership camp, and Elandria was assisted by two young people from El Centro Hispano who also attended the 2007 camp.