Ella's Call to Action

Katrina is a member of the Ella Baker Center and was one of the congress planners. You can learn more about our membership and join here!

All photos were taken by Brooke Anderson

The first member congress for the Ella Baker Center membership was a powerful experience.  Members from the Bay Area and Los Angeles joined together at the Restaurant Opportunities Center of the Bay on Saturday October 21st for 5 hours to answer questions, connect, and plan together.  From the icebreaker activity “what’s your link?” to the closing reflection appropriately named “uplift” we joined our energy to explore who we are, both as individuals and as a membership body, what we do, in the context of work to further truth and reinvestment in our communities, and why we are passionate about this work. 

Standing with linked arms in a room sized circle, we were able to see and hear each other, face to face. This was an opportunity early in the day to acknowledge that we represent identities and experiences that cross generations, gender, sexuality, race, religion and a spectrum of how directly impacted we are by the system we are seeking to change. Mixed in with the feeling of gratitude for the unique value we each bring to the membership, there grew also a feeling of connectedness during the morning activities. At the end of this time together each member was asked to translate thoughts into words and record post-it sized answers to the questions: Who are we? What are we doing? Why am I passionate about this work?

The second part of the day was equal parts energizing and intimidating.  As presented by Ella Baker Center staff, our call to action is specifically for the members to narrow down campaign ideas and to become a powerful driving force behind the work of Ella Baker Center in 2018 and beyond. 

Victories from the ongoing campaigns were reviewed.  Pockets of applause and excitement erupted several times as the list of wins spanned multiple slides. Recent victories and momentum ushered us forward for the main course of the afternoon: voting on campaign focus areas for 2018.


After hours spent pouring over details of the potential focus areas, voting to narrow and then another round of criteria driven group discussion, it was time to wrap up.  Instructions for the closing activity were to write a message to a fellow member, crumple it up and toss it into the air. Walking out of the congress I unfolded the bright pink post it I had randomly selected from the uplift activity paper pile. The message read “We are stronger together.” Never before have those words seemed more true.