My name is Carlos Elmo Gomez an Organizer with The Labor/Community Strategy Center. I just returned Havana, Cuba. I met with an organizer named Reiner with el Centro Martin Luther king who told me that “a change to society is a commitment and a sacrifice. You will get what you put in”. This quote is a reminder of what it means to organize young black and brown communities for me.
This year it is our Goal to raise $100,000 and we need your help to do it. We started off by putting our groups together from Roosevelt High School and Augustus Hawkins High School and have been able to add Ouchi- O’Donovan Charter High School to our Taking Action sites. Bridgette Amaya, A young Salvadoran women and Monique Jones, a young Black women from South Central Los Angeles and graduates of our program currently attending West Los Angeles Community College and Los Angeles Community College. With their help we have been able to retain twenty students in each school– for those who know about organizing, this is a lot of leaders. They make sure people sign-in and call students to remind them about meetings or events. They make sure they are on time and participate. This semester we are also interning Makaylah Brown and Camrion Cooper at Augustus Hawkins High School. They have been recruiting their peers to our MTA Apartheid Campaign. Inviting young people to our Taking Action club and As well as trying to find declarants for current civil rights lawsuit against MTA. These have been some of our strongest members that we plan to have a prolonged relationship with and keeps growing.
These students have been organized through our Freedom Summer intensive political training program.Where they learned about Climate Change, Policing, Criminalization, Racism and History and go out organizing on the trains and busses. They witnessed policing and militarization in practice by MTA. From seeing passengers being asked for their fares and hearing stories about passengers being ticketed and arrested for simply not paying.
A challenge for this year is to really push our Latino students to really understand what a United Front is and what it means to be an ally to Black Folks. It has been a struggle where some of our Latino students think that if you fight for Black Revolutionary change it means having to sacrifice a Latino or Chicano@ identity, which is false. Since we have been able to retain so many of our 9th grade students who are now in college, they have been an anchor to this witness. That fighting for Black Lives is fighting for justice and is fighting for Raza. With so much anti-blackness in our homes and families it is always a struggle but not an impossible task.
Now we have a house on Crenshaw and Venice and Strategy and Soul which is on Crenshaw and King. We have plans to build a Strategy Center University, Study Hall, Library, Garden, Cooking classes, Theater, and as well continue Strategy and Soul Books, Film and Theater, and our Organizing drive. This will continue to help build our relationships more with Audubon Middle School, Miguel Contreras, Dorsey and CATCH High School and strengthen Roosevelt and Hawkins.
Please support our valuable lessons on serving the people in the name of Peace, Justice, Self-Determination and Love. To be realistic, we have to think about the impossible. When I work with people, I say, ‘let’s try to create what we want to see. We need to create it visibly.
Carlos Elmo Gomez
Youth Organizer Por Vida