Activists Come Together for Leadership Training and Movement Building
In October, more than 75 activists came together at our 14th semi-annual leadership retreat for a weekend of skills training and movement building to strengthen the leadership of the strongest activists in our region. This year’s retreat was combined with annual gatherings for two coalitions we coordinate, Mass Power Forward, our clean energy coalition in Massachusetts, and the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, an alliance of residents across the country affected by drinking water contamination by the toxic Teflon chemical.
Community Action Works began holding regular retreats because we know that one of the best resources for grassroots activists is connecting with other activists. Making those connections means activists can learn from one other, support one another’s campaigns, and work together for solutions—and it’s a core piece of our work to win local campaigns and strengthen the social change movement for the long haul. The leadership retreat is designed for activists to deepen their leadership skills, network with others working on similar issues, and hone a shared vision for a healthy, sustainable future.
The weekend brought together activists from all six states in the northeast along with leaders from the National PFAS Contamination Coalition from across the country. Activists working on a range of issues, including stopping pipelines and advancing clean energy, ensuring clean drinking water, curbing toxic pesticide spraying, and more, spent time together exploring how their efforts are interconnected.
During the retreat, we spent a day examining the barriers that hold back our movement for change, including the effects of race and class. Black, brown and poor communities face a disproportionate share of environmental threats. A 2001 study found that communities of color in Massachusetts bear over 20 times the environmental burden of predominantly white communities. No one should have to live with hazardous chemicals in their water or pollution in their air. If we are going to realize our vision for a healthier world, we need to examine how these decisions are made and the underlying structures that influence those decisions. We’re proud to stand with leaders across the region who are dedicated to building a movement for healthy, sustainable communities for all.