Oakland
More Than Statistics

More Than Statistics

By Sharon Merino What does it entail to give oneself to the cause? It means long hours, stress, frustration, and little sleep, but most of all hope — hope that all the hard work will pay off; hope that you will meet your goals; and hope that the work will truly impact everyone you spoke...
Conquering Fear - An Organizer's Story

Conquering Fear – An Organizer’s Story

By Grace Luk On my first day of TOLA, I was faced with one of the most nerve-racking tasks: canvassing and approaching strangers. Clipboard in hand, I became one of those people I often ignore on sidewalks persuading others to sign a petition, or support a cause. My job was to educate the community about...
Rearranging Meaning

Rearranging Meaning

By Kyle Peerless I am so grateful for the TOLA program. The curriculum and guest speakers we are exposed to in conjunction with our campaign work allow us to develop skills to become effective at connecting with people in a way that provides perspective and inspiration, and the impetus to take action against injustice. In...
“You should be shy about stealing, not asking”

“You should be shy about stealing, not asking”

By Monica Gomez Growing up, my mom would teach us to speak up and to ask for help when we needed something. When we didn’t ask, she would say, “Te debería de dar pena robar, no preguntar.” (You should be shy about stealing, not asking.)  Even though I am not a shy person, I sometimes...
Inicando Conversaciones

Inicando Conversaciones

Por Aurora Castellanos Mi abuelita nos decía que su herencia, desafortunadamente, seria la diabetes que ha afectado a nuestra familia por generaciones. Aún recuerdo que a la edad de cinco años, observé como la diabetes le quitaba la vida a mi tia Lupe, la hermana mayor de mi abuelita. Al escuchar las conversaciones en mi...
Oakland vs Big Soda - Sparking Conversations

Oakland vs Big Soda – Sparking Conversations

By Aurora Castellanos My grandmother used to tell us that our inheritance will unfortunately be the diabetes that has affected our family for generations. Even at the young age of five I remember seeing my tia Lupe, my grandmother’s older sister, battling diabetes as the disease took the last breath of life out of her....
My New Organizing Family

My New Organizing Family

By Roger Saechao “This will be a very intense sixteen week fellowship,” said TOLA Director, Christian Garcia, during my initial TOLA interview. Without a doubt the first two weeks at TOLA have been challenging. However, the experience also has been inspiring, positive, and motivating. I have had the privilege to meet experienced professionals and community...
Alumni Highlight: Local Government Representative

Alumni Highlight: Local Government Representative

The following post was written by Karina Rivera. Karina was a graduate of TOLA’s second class in 2011. She is currently working and organizing for County Supervisor Wilma Chan. I joined TOLA with the hope of learning what it takes to become an effective organizer and leader.  Both my mother and sister have done organizing...
Alumni Highlight: The New Citizen Organizer

Alumni Highlight: The New Citizen Organizer

The following post was written by Dariana Naveo. Dariana was a graduate of TOLA’s fourth class in 2012. She is currently organizing with AnewAmerica, an organization that works to promote the long-term economic empowerment of new Americans – new citizens, immigrants, and refugees – and to encourage their full participation in the political, social and...
Our Commitment to Education

Our Commitment to Education

The Organizing and Leadership Academy (TOLA) was founded to inspire and teach effective, non-ideological community organizing skills to a new generation of leaders. These skills are taught throughout the fellowship, but afterword’s TOLA alumni go on to careers in various fields, but they continue their commitment to community service. TOLA fellows and Alumni regularly participate...
A year in review

A year in review

As we welcome the new year, it is important to remember the year past. To commemorate all that was 2012, we here at TOLA have put together a series of photos that best demonstrate what 2012 was for TOLA. Watsonville Retreat Every TOLA class goes on a retreat after the first week of in-class training,...
TOLA 4 Graduates!

TOLA 4 Graduates!

After two years TOLA continues strong with it newest edition of organizers. TOLA 4 just concluded its journey. These phenomenal young leaders hit the ground running from day one and made MAJOR electoral changes in the East Bay. Through their work on local causes, with candidates, and local revenue measures they have gained immense support...

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