“Politics is a challenging space to develop relationships; so many of my friends would appreciate the Encampment’s compassion in giving space to the youth for growth and education. The Encampment is unlike a typical classroom environment; it allows people to have natural discussions, see real situations, and learn from real advocates.” — Monica, 2023 Encamper

In week 3 of the 2023 Encampment, Encampers met with community organizers from the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) and learned about their work in the community. CAUSE’s mission statement is to “Uplift the experiences and build power with immigrants, workers, students of color and BIPOC community members.” Organizer Odette Moran discussed how they got started, how and why they do what they do, strategies, and current campaigns. The emphasis was on the importance of relationship- and community-building. Some of the current campaigns address environmental racism, affordable housing, the health and safety of farmworkers, and immigrant rights.


The next day, Encampers and staff met at the CAUSE office, where Ms. Moran answered an Encamper’s question about a mural on the wall. The picture shows her describing the mural section that shows fish dying, one of the effects of an oil spill in their community. The topic of different Industrial pollutants was further addressed as the Encampers and CAUSE youth then took part in the clean-up of a coastal wetlands at Ormand Beach.  This is part of a larger plan for restoring the beach and creating public access. Many Encampers named this as a highlight of their time because they could see a tangible difference from doing this community service.

“We’re here at a local beach, Ormond beach — I’m an Oxnard resident and this is the first I’ve heard of it. We are here with a local youth group from CAUSE. We are picking up trash, helping our community.” — Summer Program Intern Adriana Diaz, EFC alum 2019 and former PFSP intern

Encamper Johan talks about the clean-up.

The Encampers continued to work in the small group workshops they were creating and received feedback from the staff and other Encampers. In Systems of Oppression, five Encampers (Ola, Ariella, Brooklyn, Max, and Jaden) provided an interactive exploration of the systemic causes of oppression in the U.S. As part of the process, Jaden facilitated an activity that illustrates the negative effects of some societal conditions, such as language barriers for immigrants, disabilities, and lack of funding and/or digital access. People participated by moving in or out of the circle according to how life experiences they have had related to those conditions. Click for a peek into this activity.

This workshop was one of the ones offered at Saturday’s InterGen to in-person participants. On Saturday, the workshop began with the acknowledgment that both the glossary provided and the workshop itself were “not meant to be a thorough and complete analysis” but to provide a way to “take one step in” for discussion and awareness. The workshop addressed systems of education, housing, healthcare, and criminal justice, with an emphasis on “intentionality,” defining it as “to recognize how communities (ours and others) have been impacted by systems of oppression and create a call to action.” Click here for the introduction.

The workshop covered the topics in an interactive way that engaged the participants. Racial capitalism was named as the underlying foundation for the other systems. They showed a short video entitled Reversing Runaway Inequality then invited discussion. The discussion quickly focused on housing disparity and ranged over the long-term consequences of redlining in communities, passing generational wealth in the form of houses, and denying VA Bill housing benefits to people of color. Another participant pointed out how generational wealth or lack of it is embedded in society and how to manage or grow money it is not taught in the educational system.

Responding to the strong criticism leveled at the educational system by several participants, EFC alum (1979) Maria Hernandez talked about the power of being on a school board to effect change. Click to view video.

Click for a video collage providing few brief glimpses into this workshop.

The InterGen program is an opportunity for family and friends of the Encampers, EFC alums, local community members, and other supporters to learn first-hand what the Encampers have been thinking about and working on in their three weeks together. This year, the workshops were youth-created and facilitated. While in-person participants had the option to attend either the Arts and Activism or Systems of Oppression workshops, the virtual InterGen featured the Feminism and Gender workshop, led by Ursa, Jessica, Quin, and Imani. Due to the limitations of technology, we were able to offer only one workshop virtually. (The third workshop, Arts and Activism, was documented in last week’s post.)

While the virtual workshop suffered from technical difficulties, the in-person participants were fully engaged with the topic, which proved to be an emotional one for many people. People responded to slides with questions such as:

The conversation was animated during the gender discussion that followed actress Abigail Thorne’s (AKA Philosophy Tube) exploration of author Judith Butler’s theory of performative gender. Click here to view that video.

Intergenerational participants mentioned many ways of looking at their own and other people’s gender expressions. They described the painful effect of gender roles on themselves or loved ones and advocated for more freedom to choose one’s way of expressing oneself in the world beyond gender stereotypes. Many participants believe that people who are non-binary are forerunners in this important work and the problem is not with gender but with genderism, which could be defined as the prejudice and injustice that accompany choices made outside of societal gender roles. This was also related to the role of feminism in freeing people from stereotypes. Some women of color said they felt alienated from mainstream feminism, saying they preferred “womanism,” because it articulates race as well as gender inequality. Men and women participants embraced the possibility of change that feminism represents in its ideals.

Click for Ursa talking about gender and race as constructs.

“I found the printed material with its glossary of definitions of terms helpful to have. Other than some production choices, the overall content of this workshop was rich and in-depth. The definition/questions/response piece on Gender and Feminism had Zoom and in-person audience members engaged offering their answers; I appreciated hearing others as we went along instead of just a Q & A at the end.” — Roni King, EFC alum (1971)

“… [Encampers] led the participants, both in-person and Zoom, into a rich and personal discussion quickly, creating a safe place in which people were willing to share deeply … They contextualized the topics in a rigorous yet understandable way, then connected all the learning to issues that needed to be addressed urgently through political and social action.” — Josh Buhs, 2023 parent

In the second session, Encampers presented poems, paintings, and public service announcements (PSAs) that related to their EFC experience. The art work and poems spanned topics such as the banning of books, gun violence, the power of dance, forgiveness, the mother-child bond, gender identity and the lives of fieldworkers and other people who face language and economic barriers as immigrants.


The Encampers made PSAs inspired by their work with Israel Vasquez, community organizer, who uses them to communicate with farmworkers about resources in Ventura County, CA. That workshop was covered in the week 2 post. The Encampers provided resources both local and national for such issues as changes in the U.S. citizenship test that adversely affect immigrants, gun violence, domestic abuse, mental health and homelessness.

The presentations ended with Jane Sapp leading the singing and playing keyboards on an EFC favorite. Click to hear, “I’m Gonna Lift My Sister Up.”

“The [in-person] InterGen Weekend was a success. Speaking with other guests and family of Encampers, the consensus seemed the same: Youth attendees were serious, thoughtful, empathetic in imparting the knowledge they’ve learned and shared with us. Kudos to all staff.“ — Roni King

“What an incredible group of youth — I am filled with hope for the future, inspiration to do more myself, and so very thankful for everyone who is involved in making the Encampment happen.” —Kim McIlnay, 2023 parent

Our thanks to Adriana Campos-Ojeda (aoc.cinema@gmail.com) and Elibet Valencia Muñoz (https://www.elibetvm.com/) for photo and video documentation. Thanks also to Ruth Thaler-Carter, EFC 1970, for her copyediting. She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com. Any errors here were made after her edits.