Last week, youth organizers from across the Alliance Network gathered at the Palmer House in downtown Chicago for our network-wide convening, Alliance X. Bringing nearly 200 youth organizers together, Alliance X was a celebration of the Alliance Network successfully building youth power for the last 10 years, and an opportunity to learn from one another as well as civic engagement and organizational health experts from across the country. Youth organizers left the conference with deepened relationships in the Alliance Network and renewed energy to build youth power in their states.
Here’s a breakdown of what each day at Alliance X looked like.
Staff traveled from across the country to meet in Chicago, Illinois and kicked off the week with a welcome reception. Alliance staff got the chance to mingle in-person with network organizers and leaders, many of whom we’ve only communicated with via zoom. All attendees also received welcome bags that included print copies of the newly-released Democracy Done Right Zine.
We kicked off day two of the conference with introductions from the Alliance Team and a presentation from Chicago Votes on the history and culture of the city, and how their team is organizing young people to continue improving Chicago and Illinois. Afterwards, we heard a very moving address from Alliance Executive Director, Dakota Hall on his theory of change and what direction the Alliance is moving in for the next election year.
After our opening presentations, we all headed across the street to Millennium Park to enjoy a lunch outside together! Post-lunch, attendees went into different breakout sessions led by Alliance staff, network leaders, and some external facilitators.
To start our third day of Alliance X, we heard from the Chicago Votes team again. This time, they rallied the group around their Unlock Civics and voting in prisons work to empower voters behind bars. After lunch the Alliance Network headed into an afternoon of breakout sessions highlighting various topics like team management, running local campaigns, and grant writing.
On the last full day of conference sessions, Alliance X attendees had the honor of hearing from our plenary speaker, communications strategist Anat Shenker-Osorio, who taught us about the power of the Race Class Narrative – a proven messaging and organizing framework that weaves together race, class, and gender, advances our progressive worldview, and counters right-wing divide and conquer politics. We learned that as we witness the toxic and potent attacks on our freedoms across the country, it is critical for us to respond by setting our own agenda, rather than reinforcing our opposition’s frames.
To close out the conference, we spent day five doing a FASHION SHOW! We had different Alliance Network organizations show off their team’s merch with a short presentation to music of their choice. Needless to say, the Alliance fam got creative (and competitive 😂)
Since 2013, the Alliance Network has led major victories on economic justice, restorative justice, climate change, democracy reform, and more. Let’s continue creating a world where our democracy works for everyone and where all people – no matter where they come from, what they look like, or how they identify – live in loving, safe, and thriving communities.