Sunday, July 31, 2011

Democracy Summer 4th Session

 by Bryan Troupe

So, just how good was session 4 of Democracy Summer?

Participants have consistently given each session high marks, and Susan Rubio Rivera, Executive Director of M.U.J.E.R., summed up Thursday’s experience saying that the 4th session was the best one to date!

Session 4 of Democracy Summer, hosted by Catalyst Miami, was full of activities in which everyone present interacted with one another.   

Gretchen Beesing, VP of Communications at Catalyst Miami, led an interesting presentation which involved the audience discussing the meaning of three words: activism, advocacy, and service. Attendees were asked to write one word that came to mind when thinking of each word. (For example, for the word “advocacy” one person wrote the word “hippie” next to it.)  One of the positive outcomes of this exercise was its ability to show the many different ways that different individuals can perceive the same three words: activism, advocacy, and service.

This session was really special for me because I was given the opportunity as an intern to facilitate a fantastic panel discussion that took place. The four panelists were:

·         Linda Carmona-Sanchez of Alliance for Early Care and Education
·         Ana Obregon of M.U.J.E.R.
·         Juan Rodriguez of Florida Immigrant Coalition
·         Anjali Sardeshmukh of Mobile Midwives

Linda Carmona-Sanchez spoke first, referring to a trip that her organization took to the State Capitol in Tallahassee. She said that this was many of the organizers first time ever being to the State Capitol. “They were able to see that their Congress people were actually human; they talk, breathe, and sleep just like us.”

Ana Obregon was the second speaker. She spoke about her experiences with the organization M.U.J.E.R. and what the organization was able to do for individuals in the community. One of the great points she made was that M.U.J.E.R. “empowers women to bring co-partners to be part of change.”

Juan Rodriguez presented next, and showed a touching video that left hardly a dry eye in the room. Juan spoke of his experiences of family members being deported and the long road to his gaining citizenship. The video that Juan presented put actual faces on the issue of immigration.

Anjali Sardeshmukh gave an eye-opening presentation about birth justice. Her organization, Mobile Midwives, was able to prevent Jackson Hospital South from being shut down. One of the interesting facts that Anjali gave was that Black babies are twice as likely to die in infancy than white babies, which is why her organization believes so strongly in providing midwives to these disadvantaged neighborhoods.

After such a strong Democracy Summer Session 4, Session 5 promises to be even more outstanding!

Democracy Summer is a program whose goal is to build strong social justice analysis, skills and strategy into the nonprofit sector of Miami-Dade County. We will do this by strengthening the role of nonprofit service organizations as sites of movement building, organizing and mobilization for progressive social change.

Here are some of the websites of attending organizations:
M.U.J.E.R. =
Alliance for Early Care and Education =
Florida Immigrant Coalition =

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