Today, we officially convene for the second Education Anew: Shifting Justice. We are excited about the possibilities this year holds and know that the solutions to many of the issues we face are found within the genius of our attendees—organizers, advocates and youth of color—who know there is another way to shift justice. We also know that change doesn’t happen in silos. This is why we convene. To share our knowledge and lived experiences that #ElevateTheGenius. To create a safe space where resistance is celebrated. To dream of a world that is equitable and allows young people of color to live a life with dignity. To learn from “la lucha” of our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters for the liberation of all.
Holding EASJ2018 in Puerto Rico is not only significant because of the devastation of Hurricane Maria, but also because of the economic and cultural devastation before Maria. Before Maria, Puerto Rico had a poverty rate that was almost double that of the poorest state in the continental U.S. This gross inequity is the collateral damage caused by the island’s colonial status, which strips away its political power in the interest of foreign capital. Despite the atrocities the Puerto Rican people have experienced, we know there is genius on this sacred land, and we are humbled by the opportunity to soak it all up.
This year, EASJ will facilitate more ways to collaborate and learn from folks on the ground through community learning tours that explore Puerto Rican culture and history, more than 20 workshops that dig into subjects such as Interconnected Movements and Narrative Change, mbongis rooted in Afro-Puerto Rican healing practices and a video booth where you have the opportunity to share your genius.
We look forward to sharing this experience with you, whether you are joining us in person or following us on social media. Throughout EASJ2018, we will be live streaming videos on Facebook, live Tweeting, sharing Instagram stories, and recapping events here on our blog. You can also view interviews with guests such as author Mayra Santos-Febres and bomba musician Marien Torres-Lopes on YouTube. Please share your experiences by tagging us on social media and using #EASJ2016 and #ElevateTheGenius. Pa’ lante!