2005 SFA encuentro
From August 1-7, 2005, amidst the afterglow of the Taco Bell Boycott victory, SFA held it's first National Youth Encuentro in hot and humid southwest Florida. During this week-long gathering, young people from a wide array of backgrounds -- students, artists, organizers, workers, and rabble rousers -- explored how to move forward as allies with farmworkers to construct a more just and sustainable world for everyone.
It is no accident that this event was called an encuentro, the Spanish word for meeting, gathering, or encounter. An encuentro is a safe space where participants can share ideas and experiences in at atmosphere of trust, equality and solidarity.
Following their 1994 uprising in Chiapas, Mexico on the eve of the signing of NAFTA, the Zapatistas called for an international encuentro for compañeros from all over the world to gather and discuss the significance of grassroots rebellion and possibilities for creating a better world from the bottom up. Our call for an encuentro lay within this tradition, and we hope that our gathering embodied some of the spirit of the Zapatistas as we listened and learned from one another, "walking while we ask questions."
The SFA encuentro provided an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand about the realities of corporate agriculture for farmworkers, while placing the Immokalee struggle within a larger global context. A consistent theme throughout the week was the understanding of our work as part of a larger, worldwide "movement of movements" against neoliberalism and for global justice. The encuentro was a forum to network with activists from struggles spanning the continent, bringing together an amazing array of more than 60 participants from 20 states, some as far away as California and Washington.
Through workshops, group discussions, and informal conversations, participants were able to sharpen and share skills ranging from nuts-and-bolts organizing to strategic planning to understanding the role music and art in movements for social and cultural change. The encuentro concluded with a 2-day strategy session designed to strengthen the SFA network and prepare for the next phase in the campaign to make fast food fair food. By nearly all accounts, the encuentro was a smashing success that left participants inspired, more savvy, and ready for the long road ahead.
The encuentro featured a mini-bookfair where participants picked up some great books, zines, posters, and radical literature. The proceeds from the bookfair helped to offset some of the cost of the Encuentro. The fair was made possible by generous donations from the following distributors, publishers, and bookstores:
We deeply appreciate everyone who worked hard to make this event a success, but some special thanks to:
And last but not least, our deepest thanks to everyone who was crazy enough to go to southwest Florida for a week in the August heat and make it such a unforgettable gathering!
PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 :: (239) 657-8311 :: organize (at) sfalliance.org