By Maryrose Dolezal
With us on the Drop Beats Not Bombs tour are Invincible, Paula Galeano, Not Your Soldier facilitator Isaac Martin, & FOR staff Liza Smith and Maryrose Dolezal. Missing from the tour, at the moment, are tour members Shauen Pearce and Brie Phillips. Shauen participated in the tour launch in St. Paul last week, and Brie will be joining at the stop in Allentown, PA next weekend. Shauen and Brie are providing back up from the offices in St. Paul and Washington DC.
Tour member Isaac Martin joined at the last minute due to staff illnesses to lead workshop facilitation. He has also been invaluable in helping with merchandise sales, translation, and packing the van! Isaac has been journaling about his experience along the way — check it out below, and check back for more soon!
Hi everyone, this is Isaac Martin. I wasn’t originally set to be on this tour, but a last minute change to the tour has given me the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge of youth activism/organizing and social justice focused youth mentorship.What is social justice youth mentorship, you may ask? Well it’s the engagement of youth to understand the social conditions of their community from a critical thinking lens. Where traditional youth mentorship is more focused on self confidence and self esteem as a way to build personal leadership and develop stronger social interaction, social justice youth mentorship encompasses all that traditional youth mentorship does, as well as develop critical thinking, community based leadership development, and community engagement. Traditional youth mentorship attempts to “fill a gap” or “void” in a young persons life, and help them participate in positive ways in the world around them. Although there is lots of overlap, social justice youth mentorship goes another few steps, supporting youth to take ownership of their identity and responsibility to question the world around them. As a young person who’s been on both sides of the coin, I can speak to the importance of any such program that seeks to make an impact not only to the lives of young people, but the communities that they live in.
There are generally two outcomes, (none of which is mutually exclusive of each other)
1. The young person gains a better sense of their skills and knowledge.
2. The young person develops a sense of self determination and takes more of active role in shaping their future. (Many end up understanding the importance of continuing their education, and while others take more of an active role in changing their communities.)
As part of this tour, we are seeking youth activist/organizers who are dedicated to making an impact in their local community. We are seeking to build relationships with college students who are committed to develop their leadership and facilitation skills as young adult youth mentors, in order to build a movement towards social justice on their campuses and in their communities.
I feel very privileged to be on the Drop Beats Not Bombs tour as a representative of theFellowship Of Reconciliation (FOR) and Not Your Soldier. I consider myself lucky to be on a tour headlined by Invincible, an amazing female hip-hop artist from Detroit, andPaula Galeano, a Colombian Conscientious Objector and Director of the “Red Juvenile” or Youth Network in Medellin Columbia.
“I guess that makes me the unlisted opening act…”
Hamline (11/5 -11/6)
We started the tour on Wednesday in St. Paul MN at Hamline University. We held our first set of workshops, Not Your Soldier & Art in Resistance. Felt good to get the tour underway close to home, well my new home anyway. (I just moved to Mpls a few weeks ago from LA, after my short and good experience organizing with Not Your Soldier and Youth Against War and Racism for the summer Counter Recruitment training and RNCstudent walk out). The response and participation in the workshops was good and gave us a feel for what to expect and what to work on for the rest of the tour. We also got to see Invincible perform that evening and see firsthand the hard work she puts into every performance.
Driving to Chicago (11/7)
We spent just under six hours on the road and got into the windy city with an amazing view of the skyline from the I-90. We’re hungry and are looking for something to eat, if you got any ideas for us while we’re in Chicago, let us know
The tour is well underway here. We stopped at DePaul University and gave our Not Your Soldier workshop to students and faculty. It went very well and we got to share some interesting experiences with the participants. During the panel discussion that evening I began to lose my voice!! (Oh no!!) I don’t know how that will affect the tour as of yet, but I am working to get better fast!!!
*Saturday morning we had brunch at the Living Water Community Church, followed by a presentation on youth militarism and resistance in Colombia.
*Saturday afternoon a few of us toured Chicago, accompanied by our host Gilberto Villesenor.
*Saturday afternoon and evening was the Peace is Always in Fashion Show hosted byAFSC at Q4, followed by an after party at Gilberto’s.