The main purpose of this institute is to take a proactive role in the development of new generations of leaders in our communities. A major part of our time is spent on discussing and analyzing significant issues that impact our communities. Our Future Community Leaders (FCLs) will prepare and execute an action plan aimed at addressing and understanding issues that affect our New Mexican communities (e.g. water rights; land; health disparities; food justice; environmental justice; educational equity; etc.).
IMPORTANCE OF LEGISLATION AND POLICY DEVELOPMENT
Part of the institute focuses on legislation and policy development. We believe that it’s vital for our FCLs to understand how the legislative process works and how it connects to their lives and how legislative decisions can in turn positively or negatively affect their communities. We want FCLs to understand the value of policy development in our state and how it affects the social, economic, political, and cultural development of our local communities. Ideally, FCLs will incorporate what they learn about the legislative session in their action plans so policy development can be meaningful and “alive.”
The institute culminates in a community presentation of a report based on their action plans. This final report will include an assessment of what the issue was, who were the parties involved (both for and against), consequences for the passage of the bill or policy, and recommendations for moving forward. Community leaders, researchers, scholars, and other young adults will be involved in the educational process so that this institute becomes an intergenerational exchange of knowledge, expertise, and know-how.
SOUTH VALLEY COMMUNITY
Because CESOSS is firmly grounded in our local South Valley community, we strongly believe in the interconnectedness of land, water, culture, and traditions. We will discuss the deep connections that this community (as others) has to the land and water and how important the preservation of culture/traditions is to local communities. We also have incorporated policy development as one of the larger frames for this curriculum because we believe that it is pivotal for developing leaders to understand the importance and impact policy has on our local communities. We can no longer afford for our communities and youth to see themselves as detached from legislation and policy development.
Our entire curriculum will utilize a critical approach based on a social justice lens. This means that we will approach and introduce every concept with a more critical perspective that teaches FCLs about the inequities that exist in our society. This is done so that FCLs understand that we do this work so that we become leaders/activists who are not only aware of the injustices and inequities, but that understand and can analyze the underlying and complex structures in place that perpetuate and uphold oppressive systems.
It is also our goal to help FCLs understand that there are alternative forms of leadership and activism that take place in our communities. We want FCLs to break from the traditional notions of what it means to be a leader. We want to encourage our FCLs to understand the problematic notions behind individuals coming into local communities with top-down and/or quick-fix approaches. Local communities are vibrant and complex spaces that need to be treated with utmost respect. Our ultimate goal is to help in the development of future leaders who are critical, who have a critical consciousness, and who work alongside communities in order to elicit change and achieve justice.
Becoming a Leader/Macehual Model
History of Our People/Struggles
Connections to Land and Water
Importance of Culture and Traditions
Research/Technology/Social Media as a Tool