I was invited to the YEA! MN November Network meeting by my friend Elisabeth, a member of the Core team. She had talked about all the positives of going to these meetings, how they were safe and promoted environmental and social change. So, I decided to go. It was an immediately welcoming space, set up with chairs in a circle, food and quiet conversation between individuals who knew each other. After a few minutes, once people had checked in, the meeting began. It started with a few get to know you games, and followed with check in questions. Once those were finished, we discussed different social and environmental issues, and placed them into categories. We discussed the categories then went into more depth on other issues, eventually breaking into groups to discuss and share about a specific organization. The meeting ended with individual reflections and group reflection.
The sense of calm and hope within the room throughout the whole night was amazing. It had been a tense week, just a few days after the election of Trump, which for those in the room was difficult to process. This meeting was necessary for me after feeling like we were going to lose all environmental and social progress with a new president-elect who didn’t put positive emphasis on those things. The network meeting was a way, especially as a young person, for me to take all the negative energy that had been floating around since the election, and put that energy towards thinking about change and progress that could be made. It was heartening to be heard and to spend time with those who are like-minded. To keep this short, it a was reassuring, comforting and empowering experience that rejuvenated my passion for working towards change.