Jolt’s Levántate y Lucha Institute will return on April 2nd and 9th to bring Latinos together to connect with our history and culture, in addition to learning how to organize our communities for change. After a major success at the Levántate y Lucha Institute in February, the program will return with a new cohort to keep growing the network of young leaders building the movement of mobilized Latino voters. But Levántate y Lucha is not just a chance to learn what it means to be an organizer, it is also a way to reconnect with the history of Latino organizing in Texas and become part of the next chapter of that history.
Jolt Curriculum and Training Specialist Minerva Villa wants everyone to sign up for Levántate y Lucha to “refill your bucket” of hope after several scary and challenging years for Texans. “I think being in places with other people who think like you, who look like you, who want the same things will make you feel a little more hopeful and a little less scared, and I think we need a lot of hope right now.”
Villa is the lead organizer and facilitator of the Levántate y Lucha Institute, and she said the February Institute was one of the very few trainings she has done on zoom where the participants were so engaged in the conversation that they did not want it to end. She went on to add that this time around, she hopes participants will “come away with new skills that they can immediately put into practice.”
In addition to discussions of Latino culture and identity, the Institute contains several different training modules designed to help people discover the power they can have in Texas. These include learning how to tell a story of self, Organizing 101, how to make what’s called a Hard Ask, and the ins and outs of how elections and voter registration work. Along the way, participants will join small group discussions for the chance to discuss the topics on a deeper level.
“I am so gravitated to what Jolt Action is doing. It brings me back to my youth … I see Jolt as a group trying to revitalize, invigorate and get young Latinos ready for this,” said Jose Orta, a participant in the February Institute who is also running for Williamson County Commissioner. A self-described “social activist by birth” growing up in a migrant family, Orta also recalled organizing his community as a teenager and then becoming involved in the Austin Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization (ALLGO) during the middle of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
In all his yeas of experience, Orta said that Levántate y Lucha “was one of the best workshops that I have attended simply because it was a hands-on workshop,” and he was invited to “actively participate” in real-time surveys, reactions and discussions, rather than be forced to passively listen to the presenter.
The Levántate y Lucha Institute will take place on two Saturdays, April 2nd and 9th from 10:00am to 3:30pm, and participation is completely flexible. It is recommended that all participants join for both sessions, but individuals who can only come for one of the days, or who cannot attend for the entire duration of the session are still welcome to apply for Levántate y Lucha. Applications are open now until March 28 at 11:59pm!