Our recent InterGen Café focused on life post-Encampment, with a lively conversation about making a living while practicing social justice values and activism.

Alum Roni King, 1971 Montana, gave a warm welcome and introduction to the café: “These cafés are an important way for our most recent alums to hold conversations with Encampers from years past about topics of concern specifically to them. Our common experience as Encampers is hopefully offering strength and perspective …”  Click here to hear more.

Aaron Richardson, 2014 Illinois+, went over the group agreements. He then discussed his experience of practicing what he learned at the Encampment in college. He was part of a group called the Transformative Speaking Program. Their slogan was “Radical Ways of Changing the World through Speaking.” “We talked about pedagogy — radical pedagogy — and then took the form of a writing center and applied it to speaking. We helped people do oral presentations and helped them get over their fright about doing public speaking, as well as pushed the idea of getting to things at the root. That was our big idea: How do we tackle grassroots issues? How do we tackle issues at the very base?”

He went on to say, “I was lucky enough to be able to do social justice work and get paid for it in school …. Skills that I hit on were learning how to do administrative work [and] how to facilitate spaces where I can talk about masculinity, race, sex and gender, and things like that … You can make a job out of anything. I think that’s so important to know going into school. Knowing that, and then knowing that you can take the ideals that you have involved with social justice can be applicable to those jobs … There are no three or four jobs that you need to be into to be able to apply social justice. That’s what we’re going to get into today — talking about how we have different avenues, different lanes that we can attribute to social justice while maybe doing some other work or doing this full-time in ways that you didn’t think about.”

2023 alum Monica talked about the importance of choosing a career connected to social justice to help create a more equitable and inclusive society. “I feel a deep sense of purpose in working to effect change and promote progress for marginalized communities. It’s important to me to address systematic inequalities and assist those who need it most.” She gave the example of a recent opportunity that she participated in: donating 2,000 hygiene products to a men’s shelter in her community, which was joyful for all involved.

To get the discussion going, Monica asked the group, “When you were a teenager, what were your ideas of what you wanted to do with your life, and how did it turn out for you?”

Several EFC alums and board members answered. Click the links below for excerpts — the length of clip appears after the description.



Gerry Migliore, 1963 New York, shared various ways he had used his EFC experience, starting with working with VISTA; then a position in local government, helping people have more control over how their money was spent and advocating for a humane justice system. He created an “off-the-record” discussion with community leaders from planning boards and the justice system, and reporters for major New York papers and TV stations to talk freely about how they saw the system working or not working. Click here. [55:55]

Elliott Black, 1981 DC, remarked that he wished that someone had told him when he was a teenager that it was okay not to know what he wanted as a career. Monica thanked him for that insight and added that her fellow Encampers were dealing with the stress of applying to college and that knowing what you want by the time you go to college is normalized. Click here. [0:50]


Board co-chair Evelin Aquino talked about knowing she wanted to do something to help people and thought she would be a therapist, but once in college, she realized that she wanted to address the context that created the pain. She ended with this inspiring thought: “I followed my heart … just kept finding things that I was enjoying and were soul-fulfilling for me and were making an impact on the larger world.” Click here. [2:21]

Piggybacking on both Elliott’s and Evelin’s comments, board co-chair Dyanne London said, “I did know what I wanted to do, but it didn’t work out” — she started out wanting to be a pediatrician but became a child psychologist. Click here. [1:28]

Breakout groups are the heart of the café format. Program director Jesus Salcido introduced a poll for participants to choose a breakout group: music and art, education, law, or community organizing. Participants shared in these small groups, then reported back to the whole group. This is a long clip with section breaks for each breakout group. [14:43]

Click here to hear Aaron Richardson speaking passionately about the need for EFC alums to stay connected through the InterGen Café. [3:06]

MARK YOUR CALENDARS, EFC’s next InterGen Cafe is Sunday February 25: Let’s talk about it

Are you concerned about what’s happening in the Middle East?

Do you feel like you can talk openly with your family or friends?

Do you know what information sources you can trust?

Many young people don’t have a place where they feel they can openly share their questions and concerns. Many people of all ages feel helpless, hopeless, and confused.

In response to questions and concerns raised by recent Encampment alums, we are hosting an Intergen Café to talk about what’s going on the Middle East. Our next InterGen Café will be on Sunday, February 25, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. Pacific/4:00 p.m. Mountain/5:00 p.m. Central/6:00 p.m. Eastern.

To RSVP use this link http://tinyurl.com/efccafe225 or the QR code below or e-mail up us til Friday February 23 at admin@encampmentforcitizenship.org