Just a month before quarantine our Director of Cultural Organizing, Eroc Arroyo-Montano had the opportunity to be a co-facilitator and advisor in collaboration with the Educators Healing Gathering hosted by "Our Fire Collective." Combining healing justice and popular education, Eroc moved educators through different practices and helped to advise the group on next steps.
Eroc explained, "Immersive gatherings can allow educators to find wholeness individually and thrive together. The goal is that we build solidarity and vulnerability through challenging, rejuvenating, and connecting activities grounded in nature and contemplative modalities, and a ‘3-day away’ effect taking time and space from their challenging contexts."
As the “Our Fire Collective” describes on their website, “Educators are asked to hustle before they are allowed to heal. We are exposed to trauma with students, their families, and communities.” The Educators Healing Gathering was an important retreat leading to transformation, rejuvenation, solidarity, and a renewed passion for crucial movement-building work.
Considering the difficult moment we all find ourselves in, one participant had this to share:
"At the retreat in NH, I got more hugs in two days than I get in months here [at home]. My people here just don’t hug much. And if they do, they don’t do it well. (Perhaps because most of my people I know through work). At that time, I needed those hugs more than I could have expressed. And goodness knows I am relying on those hugs to get me through the next few months. So thank you. I got so much out of the retreat. But the hugs are sustaining me in this moment.”
Recognizing the tremendous value of these kinds of retreats and gatherings for organizers, UFE has transitioned our own work to continue to be able to offer similar spaces of reflection and healing, albeit in a new and slightly different format. We may be physically distant, but we are still here for each other. *Virtual hugs!*
CHECK OUT THE PHOTOS BELOW!