Thanks to all the invaluable training on Popular Education I have received as an allied (and now as a fellow of the Tamejavi Cultural Organizing Program) of the works of the Pan-Valley Institute, I now see the fruits of my work as a cultural organizer with my Zapoteco Immigrant Community in Madera, California.
Late 2009 I convene my community for a communal meeting to present to them an idea-La Fiesta del Pueblo. For the very first time in the history of our immigration journey as recent Mexican indigenous farmworkers we gather to establish consensus that we needed to start organizing to both preserve and promote our ancestral heritage-Zapoteco values. More than one hundred community member attended and they all agree that we should organize La Fiesta to commemorate a very special day celebrated annually in our native town in Oaxaca.
Las Fiesta del Pueblo enable leadership to be born and enhanced in my community because the process of organizing this magnificent cultural event require the commitment of not only the committee who was put it place to guide the organizational of the event but of many committed ordinary communal citizens who help the organizing committee from preparing the Mole and all the food that feed more than one thousand participant by the third annual in 2011. Indeed, many came after a hard-working day in the fields to help construct and decorate the Marmotas.
La Fiesta del Pueblo enable my community to do what we do best-work hard and make the best from our mole and marmotas.
This reflection comes as I attended yesterday the very first planning meeting for the 2012 La Fiesta del Pueblo celebration (Fourth annual). Only this time, I was the observer and only intervene to clarify my understandings but the meeting was conducted by the PEOPLE and in our native language-Zapoteco. (Members of the new committee was invited on last year’s planning meetings and they participated. I assigned some time of our busy agenda to emphasize basic lesson I have learned so far about Popular Education.I told them that next year I will support them with all my capacity but they will be the ones who will make the hard choices consensually and unveil the Fiesta they want to pursue).
I call it “Popular Education At Its Best”. Ordinary communal people working towards an idea- La Fiesta Pueblo.