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Friday, August 6, 2010

Dream Clouds, Rain Drops, and Lighting Bolts

At the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, June 2010, seven radical childcare collectives (From NYC, Austin, DC, San Francisco Bay Area, Philly, Chicago, and Baltimore) facilitated a workshop together. It was called "Building an Intergenerational Movement for Collective Liberation: the Work of Childcare Collectives Across the States and the Galaxy!"

I would like to share the group results of 3 "visioning exercises" which the whole room participated in. Thank you everyone in our workshop that day!

Dream Clouds: We broke down into 5 smaller groups to discuss and write on a ‘dream cloud’ our answers to these questions: "Why is childcare work important and how is it political work? What would childcare look like in your ideal vision and who do we envision to be taking on this work?"


- Supporting women in the low income and women of color movement

- Makes women stronger

- Kids give revolution work perspective

- Mode of resistance vs. individualistic culture

- Mode of resistance vs. state-run, church-run, privately-run childcare

- Diversity in the movement


Meeting needs today while strategizing vision for the future

Practicing holistic and humanizing work

Building community and long term relationships

Exposing kids to the wide world

Prepares a next generation to be activists

Engaging with kids in a different way than authority

Rethinking division/not separating

Really valuing intergenerational work/not just some people’s responsibility

Kids are insightful

Enhancing pluralism

Applying your talent

Ideal vision-kids are in all spaces

Cultural shift

Not exclusive

Creating a fully intergenerational space to enrich us all

Make fun

A group to take care of selves and each other

Hold each other accountable

Don’t be flakes

Nutritious food access



Necesitamos a todos en el movimiento (mams, papas, ninos) – we need everyone in the movement (moms, dads, kids)

Debemos crear espacio para los ninos para que el movimiento sobreviva – we need to create space for kids to be around so the movement can survive beyond the current generation

Apoyar y reconocer a mams de color, para que podamos organizarnos – help and recognize us mamas of color, so that we can organize

Para que las mamas y papas tengamos un “break” – give moms and dads a break from childcare

Responsabilidad por educar politica de los ninos – responsibility for political education of children

Para abrir la mente de los ninos – to open the mind of children

Criar ninos en comunidad, es una co-responsabilidad – raise kids in community, it’s a co-responsibility

Incorporar a los ninos al trabajo de organizar – incorporate the kids in organizing work


Poder para los ninos – empowerment of children

Accessible – accessible

Divertido - fun

Saludable - healthy

Alegre - happy

Limpio - clean

Familiar -

Colorido – colorful, diverse

Seguro – safe

Verde - green

Techo – roof? Covered? Protected?

Comunitario - communal

Intergeneracional – intergenerational

Inclusivo - inclusive

No violento – non-violent

Integrada - integrated

Participation politico (de ninos) – political participation (of kids)

Multilingue y multicultural – multilingual and multicultural

Imaginativo - imaginative

Organico - organic


childcare is never optional

early childcare workers valued and respected

all genders and races, diverse movement included

childcare is a shared responsibility and everyone’s work

more work for cis-gendered men

kids being integrated into the community

treating young people as full members (anti-adultism)

making childcare empowering and freeing




kids are awesome

having kids around is normal (many ages being together is normal)

learning/working with different styles

trained (some needs require extra knowledge)

working on policy changes to resource the work that needs to be done

all feel effortless

using childcare as a political tool, we are providing a service together

men who come out to do childcare don’t feel criminalized

childcare spaces that support children’s full gender expression

not segregating children with special/heightened needs, never say no to a child


dialogue between children and parents and elders

relationships with children less authoritative, different ways of interacting with children


snacks/food for all ages

childcare givers are nurtured

teaching and learning with kids


Model new world through PLAY!

Personal is political

Kid/Parent led

Supporting mothers and the work of mothers

Keep it intergenerational

Build support for immediate needs

Making connections between parents/community caregivers child allies

Develop multiple intelligences

Collective and community building

Challenge white supremacy & ALL forms of oppression!

More men involved in caregiving for children

Bringing marginalized groups to the center!


Parenting is full-time; parents need childcare to get involved

Youth must be included within the spaces of the movement

Addresses priviledge issues- single moms want to be involved in organizing; non-parents can help make it more accessible; can't do both full-time childcare work and organizing work/ activism is great "uniter"

Childcare is political act- as is motherhood! Responsibility of an entire community- intergenerational movement building improves the movement

Act of solidarity; opportunity to bring more women in! families interdependence- we all need each other!

Creating spaces where the children can really feel like they belong and everyone in the space takes an active role in caring for children

Ideal childcare would have more resources, space, and people

Intergenerational spaces, extended family, merging with senior organizations

Fluid, having healthy connected relationships

Getting childcare extremely accessible

Whenever a break is needed 24/7

Who? -everyone, in different facets, it will reshape a child's perception of community

Children being the center of the movement

After we finished that exercise we rotated in two circles where we each answered a question one on one - taking turns listening. "In relationship to the vision that you just talked about in your small group, what’s really going on with your childcare work. What is your practice/relationship to childcare work?"

Rain Drops: "What is the most powerful thing about the work that’s going on right now, what’s revolutionary about this work?" Each person will write their partners answers on a rain drop.

This is what everyone came up with:

  • -trading childcare
  • -free!
  • -adds creativity back into movement
  • -multiple age groups
  • -getting women/parents voices heard
  • -supporting women of color voices
  • -cooperative-based
  • -non-commodity
  • -no money for childcare
  • -parents are struggling and I don't know what is happening with our childcare. however, I am super excited to share ideas from here with my community.
  • -break down the current paradigm of individualism
  • -most affected people leading
  • -women of color at movement's center
  • -addressing intersectionality
  • -momentum
  • -coalition
  • -accessible free art classes for youth
  • -inter-generational community
  • -building relationships with youth and families over the years; seeing them grow
  • -takes a village to raise a youth
  • -long sided revolutionary struggle
  • -inter-generational dialogue
  • -celebrating lack of life experience (wonderment)
  • -inter-generational sustainable structures of support rooted in anti-oppressive work
  • -building community
  • -empowering
  • -spontaneous mutual aid among parents
  • -figuring out what's going on with parents in neighborhood
  • -build/support family while addressing oppression
  • -connection to basic fundamental human interaction
  • -reminder of specialness of all individuals
  • -blends pragmatic politicking with beauty of parenthood
  • -sharing time and ideas and space with other mothers/relatives, neighbors, friends
  • -children learning to be a part of the community
  • -most powerful: radical curriculum in childcare collective
  • -most revolutionary: community bridges and building them
  • -movement won't survive if children not integreted
  • -faja contra el abuso de ninos
  • -organizacion de hombres para cuida a los ninos
  • -looking to the future for revolutionary childcare
  • -childcare not affordable
  • -providing a need
  • -potential
  • -womyn-friendly space
  • -caring for children of incarcerated mothers
  • -bridging generations
  • -holistic change
  • -create structures that incorporate all
  • -anti-colonial
  • -long-term strong relationships with organizations and kids in them
  • -connection with movements in South Africa
  • -support
  • -dialectic of childcare
  • -parental involvement
  • -revaluation of care work and making it truly a central community effort
  • -provide support to dis-empowered community
  • -todos los grupos incluyendo hombres tienen la oportunidad de cuidar los ninos
  • -children becoming powerful, vocal, creative, active, in movements along with parents
  • -forming deeper relationships with people in the community
  • -making new friends within and across movements
  • -community
  • -long-term vision of revolution
  • -allowing more marginalized to empower each other
  • -willingness for community care and support
  • -moms most affected so their participation is crucial
  • -building community through childcare
  • -creative ways to make childcare affordable
  • -meeting
  • -personal
  • -radical childcare
  • -public support in loving way
  • -disabled kids campaign: DC collective
  • -special needs
  • -that a childcare collective exists
  • -radical collaboration
  • -mamas leading
  • -parent networking
  • -forming co-op
  • -kids absorb and electrify the movement
  • -free
  • -transformational
  • -retos culturales
  • -apoyo a madres solteras
  • -learning from kids
  • -male involvement
  • -challenge gender roles
  • -intergenerational culture spaces
  • -relationship building
  • -cultivating new spaces out childcare community (parents, kids, allies, everyone)
  • -involving children in political actions
  • -seeing this!!
  • -powerful opportunity outside traditional childcare
  • -political and cultural re-imagining
  • -re-imagining gender roles
  • -challenging oppressive dynamics
  • -men's involvement
  • -I get to step out of my comfort zone
  • -inter-dependent
  • -inter-group connection
  • -engaging youth
  • -support childcare providers
  • -kids' perspective integral to personal growth
  • -inclusion
  • -opening space
  • -awesome

Lighting Bolts: "Talk about one super difficult, road blocking challenge to the work." Each person will write their partners answers on a lightning bolt.

This is what everyone came up with:

  • - New concept for community
  • - Lack of vision needs to be prioritized…not discussed.
  • - People’s bad attitudes about kids
  • - How to make sure caregivers are safe: trust
  • - Availability
  • - Too busy! Too much going on to really help.
  • - Lack of support for childcare providers
  • - Commitment to prioritize. Revaluing (childcare) beyond (a) responsibility.
  • - Accessibility of decent care (shared values)
  • - Commitment
  • - Find volunteers that want to be engaged for a long time. Time.
  • - Communication. Accessibility.
  • - Time. Willingness. “Burden” on a few.
  • - Building trust between people.
  • - Scheduling. Finding volunteers and people to participate.
  • - Time. Organizing consistency.
  • - Accessibility. Isolation of parents in our culture.
  • - Time/money. Resources.
  • - Building commitment with community members.
  • - Inherent failure of human kind.
  • - Affordability and safety of childcare spaces.
  • - Understanding childcare as collective, not just individual. And understanding South Asian community as political.
  • - Learning to relate to kids.
  • - Own upbringing and history interferes with caring, loving skills.
  • - Getting cis-me involved…questioning gender dynamics.
  • - Sustainable commitment levels.
  • - Time. Capacity. Finding dedicated volunteers.
  • - Not enough time for volunteering.
  • - People not grounded in building community. Not a priority. Reconfigure our sense of community.
  • - Community resistance to politicizing childcare.
  • - Self-esteem.
  • - Lack of respect for children and mothers in the movement
  • - Public transportation to spaces.
  • - Safety and security (eg, child abuse and molestation)
  • - Everyone should be included.
  • - Budget cuts, accessibility to any childcare.
  • - No tiene experiencia cuidar a ninos ni organizacion.
  • - Degree, license, education.
  • - Connecting with new groups.
  • - Falta de tiempo y un espacio para organizer. (No space or time to organize)
  • - Burnout!
  • - Building relationships with parents.
  • - Retention. Involving men.
  • - Finding ways to incorporate non-traditional learning/values into a curriculum; lack of funding, inability to provide childcare staff with adequate salaries.
  • - Space
  • - Growth
  • - Lack of kids in community, isolation of kids from community (private childcare).
  • - Capacity and commitment.
  • - Organizational structural support.
  • - Lack of time, lack of commitment.
  • - Sustaining membership.
  • - Lack of resources.
  • - Logistics, finding volunteers, community support.
  • - Cost of childcare ($$), lack of planning (last minute planning).
  • - Idioma (language)
  • - Time; lack of time.
  • - Time; $$$$.
  • - Burn-out/exhaustion; too few people; paid vs. volunteer childcare.
  • - Transcending ed à not transmitting trauma; overcoming gendered idea that it’s a woman’s task.
  • - Childcare.
  • - Generational separation. Separation of people with children and people without children. Lack of material resources. Lack of follow-through. Lack of time.
  • - Lack of communication between need and providers lack integration.
  • - Childcare is marginalized and de-prioritized in radical spaces. Be friends, be involved – don’t just talk at meetings.
  • - Gice … lejos (no idea what this says).

We taped everything to the wall where we could look at all these replies together. We discussed what the next step would be, and what do we need, to fulfill our collective visions. (the river below the other shapes) We came together to make rain in the closing exercise. I said it last year at the AMC, and I will say it again this year: Detroit has Rainbows! The conversations and energy I find there lasts the year long.

will say it again this year: Detroit has Rainbows! The conversations and energy I find there lasts the year long.


  1. sorry this post is so long, and somewhat hard to read.

    more about kidz city, in easier to read formats coming soooooonnnnnnnnnnn..............

  2. Wow! So glad I found this, I was at that workshop, and we just started RadChild Phx here in Phoenix! I will show this to the group!