As continued from our last discussion, Atlas is on the verge of expansion, materially and theoretically!
We spent a lot of time (nearly an hour, to be exact) discussing the constitution and the cooperative model of Atlas. We explored the concept of citizenship for Atlas’s members. In a society where a significant population is denied citizenship, these youth will become citizens of Atlas. They will receive the life rights within this center that were otherwise denied to them in the greater society. Under this line of thinking, Atlas is not merely a center of services for immigrant youth; it is a society, a community, for the deprived. It challenges the dominant social structure by giving immigrant youth the life-based rights to develop skills, access to services. Under this model, it also teaches the values of reciprocity and community. Someone in the meeting wittingly pointed out that the youth can say, proudly, “I may not be a citizen of the United States, but I am a citizen of Atlas!”
Such talk is enough to create tingling sensations, which can only be realized by doing the undone, creating luminous hope from ashes, and breeding power from oppression. If Atlas has citizens, it is a nation. How can a center, accepting everyone regardless of nationality, create a nation? Is the alternative to borders creating new borders? Someone else suggested the members of society be kins, instead of citizens. This creates greater family unity, affirms our motto of creating a safe haven, and perpetuates the values of a society, which is based on reciprocity and sharing.
Citizen or kin? Village or Nation? Family or state? We have yet to decide. What do you think we should do?
During our discourse, we realized we need to refine our mission statement. Atlas is more than a center; it is home, it is community. Our mission statement needs to reflect these principals. We give our youth rights: rights to work, to develop skills, to be valued.
We then talked about how to expand, and the factors of expansion that need to be addressed.
SparkPlug Foundation supports projects in their fetal steps. It would be an awesome way to have some start-up grant! Brendan, who won a SparkPlug award for The Working World, is going bubbling with ideas about how to go forth with the application. We are super excited as we prepare ourselves for the May 20th deadline!
We are planning on having an Art Gallery, a movie showing of Following the Snakeheads, and speed-dating events to fund Atlas. All of these ideas are super mind-blowing. Wouldn’t you like to be part of the innovation?
Everyone I talk to about Atlas says ‘that’s a great idea! how can I help?’
A lot of people want to volunteer. We have law students and other graduates helping us with grant application. Other want to help us fund raise. In fact, we have two more candidates that may be interested in joining the core of Atlas.
All this is inspiring, even to us who are performing it. With each action, each meeting, our dreams become a little bit more materialized. As it becomes more materialized, we gain more confidence in our ability to effect positive change. In turn, we work with even more zeal to materialize our dreams. Before we know, this cycle will leap. Atlas will open. The youth will not be denied. We will succeed.