Educate to Transform Workshop Summary

Activities at Conference Workshop


At our conference workshop, participants practiced using the immigrant activist approach to learning-teaching – with the objective of bringing back this approach to their current work in organizations and on campaigns.  Specifically, participants focused on community-building activities that emphasized learning through social interaction.  They experimented with activities centering on taking action to promote greater awareness.  They created activities connecting social change to personal transformation.  They worked together to foster the tradition of “militant humility” and other Japanese American activist values.


Workshop activities are documented through photos taken by activist-filmmaker Ming Lai and webmaster Aaron Hamachi and are posted on our conference Facebook page:


For example, here is a photo of a teaching-learning activity adapting a common food product into a tool for discussing Japanese American activist values, such as militant humility:


For the morning workshop session, participants engaged in two activities:  a cultural heritage exercise and an activist timeline exercise.  The cultural heritage exercise was adapted from the approach of CSUN Professor Rosa Furumoto of Chicana/o Studies who used the exercise in her work with Latina immigrant mothers.  For the exercise, participants work in small groups of four to six people and share an item they have with them representing their cultural heritage.  For our conference, we adapted this exercise to promote creative thinking in activists.  We asked each participant to identify an item on them representing activism.  Each participant then shared an explanation of their item in their small groups.  Next, each of the small groups presented to all workshop participants.  This community-building exercise enables people who were previously strangers to learn about each other while also demonstrating to everyone that concepts of activism are embedded in common objects we carry with us each day.


The second morning activity was an activist timeline exercise.  This activity was originally created by Kimi Lee for young Asian American activists taking part in Summer Activist Training, and we adapted it for our conference.  We selected approximately forty key events from the Japanese American Activist Timeline posted on our conference website and put each event on a post-it.  Usually, these post-its are displayed on a wall, but for our conference workshop we put them on three tables (see photo below).  In the original version of this exercise, participants are asked to put themselves in the timeline by connecting themselves to one or more of the events by filling out new post-its.  Participants are also able to add additional significant events to the timeline.  For our conference workshop, we adapted this exercise and asked participants to not only put themselves into the timeline but to also identify through post-its historical events that they wanted to learn more about.  The conference Facebook page has several photos of this activity, including the following two photos.


For the afternoon workshop session, participants worked in the same small groups from the morning session.  Their task was to create a teaching-learning activity in 45 minutes and to demonstrate it to the full workshop.  The small groups created imaginative activities, including an adaptation of Tony Osumi’s “Feast of Resistance” which uses common food items to teach Asian American history.  Photos on our conference Facebook page document some of these activities, especially a “paper story telling” activity emphasizing immigrant rights and interethnic ethnic solidarity:



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