The Encampment for Citizenship Is Democracy in Action!
EFC's 70th Anniversary Celebration
On November 19, 2016, Encampment alums and supporters celebrated the EFC’s 70th anniversary.
“… at the Encampment for Citizenship, I was challenged to think critically about society … We visited historical Civil Rights Movement sites … to correlate issues that were present in the ‘60s with current national issues … Being in a place with youth that were equally as passionate as I am to achieve social justice allowed me to openly speak about issues in my home community that impacted indigenous undocumented farmworker youth.”—Litzy, 2015 and 2016 Encamper
There was an air of excitement and hope as alums caught up with each other and turned their attention to how the Encampment can continue to develop youth leaders in these challenging and divisive times.
“People have talked a little about ‘these times’ and what happened in the most recent election. We’ve been involved in lots of movements over the years, with all kinds of oppressions, and we’ve fought back. Black people fought back, women fought back, immigrant movements in America have fought back—and fought back successfully against that kind of repression and oppression.
“I see this time as no different, and I also don’t see this as a time where we are just leaving it to you [most recent Encampers], although I do believe that because you attended the Encampment, you are uniquely situated to lead, and if not lead, at least participate in those movements ... Those of us around you are ready to fight with you, and we will prevail!”—Peter Neufeld, alum 1966 Kentucky
After an opening circle, EFC staff member Michael Carter facilitated a discussion of social issue trends through the decades. Many of the issues that our most recent Encampers are grappling with have a long history and evolution: police brutality in different forms; gay rights to trans-rights; immigration issues over time; Earth Day to global warming and the Dakota Pipeline, etc.
Staff member Michael Carter leading discussion on Social Issues Timeline.
“When I first became a part of the Encampment, I was oblivious to the history of oppression when it came to communities outside my own. I relied on standard knowledge to educate me on this country's historical events. I have realized that there has been a threat to humanity, and even worse, it is the same threat that brutalized our past generations. It is important to have a community available like this and it is important we expand and bring as many others in with us. It is important because it physically, mentally and spiritually proves that a diverse group of people can govern, live and prosper together.”
—Deanna M, alum 2015 Mississippi and 2016 Massachusetts
Deanna (alum 2015 and 2016).
EFC alums from Pomfret School (KC, Talibah, Angel, Wade) with Steve Davis, EFC board member, and Pomfret's director of Diversity & Community Relations.
The intergenerational aspect of the Encampment was prominent throughout the event from the interactive activities to the inspiring speeches by recent and older alums.
Speaker Aurelia Brazeal (alum 1963).
The afternoon session included a discussion addressing the questions, “How would you like to see the EFC move forward?” (i.e., broaden its impact and be more visible as a force for social justice?) and “How you can be a part of moving EFC forward and expanding its scope and impact?” Encampers and supporters brainstormed and volunteered to take on various tasks related to fundraising, recruitment and some summer program logistics.
Jane Sapp leading recent Encampers in song.
Participants sharing stories about the EFC in their lives.
Chuck Trimble (alum 1956) speaking.
Nicole Gotthelf (alum 1972) and Andrea Peyser (alum 1966).
Youth Advisory and National Advisory Councils Formed
Recent Encampers A’Shaela and Litzy reported on the training for the newly initiated Youth Advisory Council, which took place on Friday, November 18. This group will provide a mechanism for the newest Encampers to have a direct voice in recruiting, fundraising and curriculum. A core group of recent Encampers trained with Ruvi Perumal and Mabel Picotte on basics of what the EFC board does and coming up with a structure both for council members and other youth who cannot make a regular time commitment but would like to be involved.
During the reunion, we also convened the first face-to-face meeting of the newly established Advisory Board. The meeting included Aurelia Brazeal and Charles (“Chuck”) Trimble, as well as Elliott Black and Ada Deer, with other participants joining the discussion intermittently. We brainstormed about how to approach various foundations for possible financial support, and generated some preliminary thoughts about how press coverage could help with both fundraising and recruiting efforts.
Special thanks to Ruvi Perumal, Social Media and Projects Coordinator, who organized the Youth Advisory Council training. Shown here with Tom Raffaele (alum 1962).
Celebrating the EFC's Founders
David and Jonathan Black and Sally Pollak brought Algernon Black and Alice (Nanny) Pollitzer, EFC’s visionary founders, to life. Jonathan Black said, “My father would be especially thrilled to see that the Encampment has flourished for so many decades, and how it is being revived by some extremely devoted people, both staff and enthusiastic Encampers.”
Descendants of co-founder Algernon Black and family members Jonathan Black, Kaarina Salovaara, Elliott Black, Anne Rivers, David Black.
Sally Pollak, one of co-founder Alice Pollitzer's granddaughters.
EFC executive director Margot Gibney read an excerpt from EFC alum Ed Peeples’s book Scalawag that includes an account of Nanny, then in her late 80s, inspiring assembled Encampers by continuing to finish her talk while people outside shouted racist comments and threw stones through a window — even when a rock and pieces of glass hit her in the back, nearly toppling her. For a more detailed account of this and his other EFC experiences, read Ed’s book.
Early Encampment Archives Showcased Online
We are pleased to report that, in honor of our 70th anniversary, Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, where EFC’s archives are located, created an online link that shows much of the early history of the Encampment.
November 19, 2016, Named “Encampment Appreciation Day”
in the Borough of Manhattan
Intergenerational enthusiasm continued with inspiring talks by recent (Litzy, Deanna, Angel and Kaiyana) and older (Charles Trimble, Aurelia Brazeal and Miles Rapoport) Encampers. Our co-hosts were Anne Klaeysen, EFC board member, representing the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and Gale Brewer (alum 1968) Manhattan Borough president, who read a proclamation honoring the “Encampment’s 70 years of service to the nation” and declared November 19, 2016, “Encampment Appreciation Day” in the Borough of Manhattan.
EFC alum (1968) Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough president, reading proclamation. Co-host Anne Klaeysen, EFC board member and Leader in the New York Society for Ethical Culture (right) holds the plaque.
A Special Thanks
We thank all the participants who came to celebrate the Encampment and help move it forward. Special thanks to Jason Neal, EFC alum 1991, and development consultant Tracy Gary, who put together a silent auction; to all the people who donated art and books; the lucky winners who helped support the EFC in a fun way; Steve Leibman, alum 1969 and board member, for his usual unstinting help in making this day a success. Nanny’s granddaughter Debby Pollak and Roni King (alum 1971) with the help of volunteers, made sure that we had two delicious meals. Everyone, named and unnamed, helped make the event such a great success.
Miles Rapoport (alum 1966).
Ada Deer (alum 1956).
Talibah, A'Shaela, Ardiana, Lupe (in front), Angel (recent alums), Evangeline, Favio (alum 2016).
Encampment is a Gift
The evening concluded with these remarks by Jason Warwin (alum 1989):
“[The Encampment] was a gift to me. It was a gift to all of us … I need to give thanks to all those Encampers who came before me and all the people who helped to build this organization. But more than giving thanks, I need to pay it forward. I need to think about the next generations coming up. I need to think about the fact that I had the privilege and benefit of being a part of this organization. I see what it did for me, and now I have a responsibility to others to make sure it’s still here for generations to come.”
Jason Warwin (alum 1989).
Inspired? Please give generously to make Jason's words a reality for the newest generation of young social justice leaders.