We are excited and honored to announce the newest expansion to NSM’s programming. While NSM has always been based on collective learning, not until now have we had an intentionally designed, comprehensive political education curriculum.

Credit: Rodney Atienza

Popular education guides the vision and practice of NSM’s education programming. Popular education rejects the “banking” method of education in which a teacher holds all of the knowledge and is responsible for depositing it into the “empty, passive” brains of students. On the contrary, political education considers all people involved in the learning process to be both teachers and learners. Popular education starts from the assumption that everyone’s experiences contain valuable knowledge.

This definition of popular education can be accredited to Brazilian educator Paolo Freire as well as the incredibly influential peoples movements across Latin America and around the world in the 20th century.

NSM’s Political Education Manifesto:

Learning together begins by recognizing and inviting into the space those who came before us, those teachers and ancestors who we each carry within us as well as those whose land we’re on today (Lenni Lenape Territory). We believe in and practice the wisdom derived from our lives, bodies, emotions and spirits. We build relationships of mutual education, where everyone has something to give and something to get. We are here to learn how to live more fully free, to deepen our connection to beloved community, and to broaden our consciousnesses with compassion and courage. Our learning has no destination, but rather it is ongoing with the goal to shrink the space between our values and actions.

We offer education programming within four overarching themes:

  • Immigration Law & Policy

    Everyone has the right to know their rights. We offer education about the immigration system and its policies in order to support immigrants to claim more agency as they navigate their legal cases. Our workshops respond to changing policy and requests of our community members. We rely on collaborations with local legal partners and are always exploring ways to democratize the exclusive power of legal vocabulary and practice.

  • Community-led, relational, multicultural organizing

    We believe in the power of the people. Our organizing is rooted by the conviction that everyone contains value and skills necessary for collective liberation. Relationships are the building blocks of trust and thus the building blocks of NSM’s organizing. Our goal is to identify and support the organizing strengths people carry within them from their home countries and merge those skills with an anti-racist, interfaith framework. We center organizers who cannot be contained by the limited mold of Western, white, professionalized ideals of who constitutes an “Organizer”. Instead, we believe in supporting everyone’s self-defined visions of strength and build accessible communities towards a more just world for all immigrants.

  • Intersectionality

    A term coined in the 1980s by Black feminist Kimberlé Crenshaw in the context of a legal challenge to the hiring practices of General Motors. Ms. Crenshaw and other legal scholars argued that the experiences of Black women in the workplace were not captured solely by the fact they were Black nor solely by the fact they were women. Rather, these workers’ experiences – like everyone’s experiences – are crafted by the simultaneous implications of these realities.

    While “intersectionality” is a big word, it represents a concept each us navigates daily. How we experience the world is shaped by the simultaneous impact of our multiple social identities and how the world values or doesn’t value these identities. Like an intersection, we inhabit the coming together of the many parts of ourselves.

  • Cultural Wellness & Celebration

    Our differences are beautiful. Our unique cultures, traditions, and histories are inextricable from who we are and what we envision for our futures. This education initiative is dedicated to integrating cultural lessons and celebrations into all branches of our work. 

Want to learn more or collaborate? Email: marguerite@sanctuaryphiladelphia.org

 Valentín Sánchez-Stoddard

Valentín Sánchez-Stoddard