FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ivy Quicho
National Organizing Director
[email protected] | 951-333-4306
LOS ANGELES– On September 10, 2016 AF3IRM, in conjunction with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and in partnership with People’s Yoga Los Angeles, launched the first-ever School of Youth Activism by AF3IRM LA (SOYA LA).
SOYA LA is a free, holistic three-part program for high-school-aged girl-identified youth. Over the course of eight weeks, participants will participate in trauma-informed yoga, sensory strategies, and transnational feminist workshops. This unique program is the first of its kind in Los Angeles and is designed to provide youth with the knowledge and tools to not only cope and survive our daily oppression, but to heal, organize, and dream.
The trauma-informed yoga guides participants in the restoration and nourishment of the mind-body connection, as they begin the process of shedding histories of generational trauma. Sensory strategies for everyday living is also taught to participants, providing them with tools to check-in with their bodies and to find productive ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Using the AF3IRM-specific praxis of transnational feminism, the third component of SOYA LA is workshops focused on knowledge-sharing, co-creation, and visioning to build feminist leadership.
Topics range from revolutionary love and healthy relationships, to sexual violence including street harassment and rape, to analyzing gentrification from a girl of color perspective, to practicing an intersectional, LGBTQ inclusive feminism. Participants will gain direct action organizing skills and will also learn how to plan a campaign.
The first session consisted of an introduction to yoga, a training on breathing techniques, and a discussion on collective-care. Feminist quotes were intertwined throughout the yoga session, while participants had the power to choose positions that felt best for their bodies- one characteristic of trauma-informed yoga. The girls discussed how living in today’s society is stressful and learned ways to pay attention to their breathing as a means to take control of our bodily reactions to triggers. The group discussed how self-love cannot be separated from taking care of ourselves, and how self-care alone, outside of the context of collective-care, is an individualistic concept that reinforces Capitalist values. They talked about how oppressors intentionally dehumanize us, separating our mind from our body, because it is easier to control us. The group asserted that it is our responsibility, our duty, to care for each other as we organize against oppression, in order to begin practicing the kind of liberated world we want to live in. See photos below.
Drawing a connection between the healing and resistance models of our ancestors, as well as building upon current research and community knowledge, AF3IRM LA has developed SOYA LA to recognize the necessity of creating new practices of survival which address the needs of the women and youth of today. As our communities of color face deep subjugation, exploitation, and genocide, we know that we must hold and lift up our communities as we envision and fight for a truly liberated world.
AF3IRM is a national organization comprised of nine chapters engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism and dedicated to the fight against oppression in all its forms. AF3IRM’s diverse, multi-ethnic membership is committed to militant movement-building from the United States and effects change through grassroots organizing, trans-ethnic alliance building, education, advocacy and direct action.
To help support the School of Youth Activism and future sessions, please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/soyala2016.