10 years in, and a whole lotta anxious. That was the scenario when I contemplated my future out loud with a longtime compañera, in a bar, of course. There came a point in the conversation where she leaned in as I spun myself in circles of questions, and looking real serious posed the question: So. What do you want to be in the movement, an architect or a carpenter?
My tendency at a crossroads such as this is to see where I came from. And when I look back on my path, I suppose it’s been a combination of circumstance, chance and choice. It’s woven into my story. Two weeks after September 11, 2001 I left my home in Guadalupe, AZ to be trained in community organizing. After years of what I would call ‘buffet activism’ as a student and general revoltosa I traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area hungry for more.
Six weeks turned into six years in the Bay Area. I learned about neoliberalism in food lines and homeless shelters, witnessed the cost of trade agreements like NAFTA from domestic workers who were separated from their children to be able to provide for them. And, I was introduced to a network, formal and informal of people trying to build a movement to change things up.
I had the privilege to work with people directly affected by the local and global, to study classic and modern theory and talk shop with like-minded folks about how the pieces connected, across racial lines, sector and place.