At age 12, Movement Mastery founder Carlos Saavedra migrated to Boston from Peru. He joined the immigrant rights movement as a teenager, eventually playing a major role in the national immigrant youth movement and winning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy that results in legal relief for 1.7 million undocumented youth. Having grown the immigrant youth movement to scale using a highly effective model of mass training, Carlos stepped back from the national immigrant youth network to help support a range of social movements through the medium of training.
Here’s how Carlos explains his love for training and the creation of Movement Mastery in his own words:
“When I was 18 years old, I had this one-on-one meeting with a student leader in Boston about him joining the movement. I gave him my card, which said “Youth Organizer for the Student Immigrant Movement.” He asked me what organizing was, and if it was something you went to school for. I said, “No, we just learn it as we go.” He said, “Really? There are no manuals? No instructions?”
That left me thinking. So, I went to the library and asked for books about organizing. After looking through 20 books on how to organize your closet, I found Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky. From there I started to learn the craft. I read all the books and went to as many trainings as I could. I quit college because I wanted to do this more, and eventually went off to work for United We Dream.
A couple years after we built that network, people asked how we did it. I explained to them that we were able to build United We Dream and keep it alive because we were always able to increase our capacity for learning to be able to match the amount of problems that we faced. We learned dramatically from mentors and other movements. That’s how we were able to survive.
I wanted to continue to learn, and not just by myself, but also in community. How can we borrow from the fields of biology and psychology? How can we learn from all the traditions of organizing? How can we build on all these fields towards a larger vision of creating the world as we want it to be? How can we build on the best elements and strengths from the different traditions of organizing in the US and internationally to find creative solutions and organizing methods for our times?
I thought that the best way to do that was through a training institute, and that’s how we came to found Movement Mastery. We continue to develop new trainings and support movements and organizations, all while trying to build a more relational approach to the way we teach and learn in community.”
We hope to be a place where changemakers and dreamers can come together to learn in a mutually supportive community. Join us!
Kate Werning met Carlos through her work in the immigrant youth movement with Voces de la Frontera and Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kate serves as the Institute Coordinator & Trainer and helps support our training and coaching programs as well as the infrastructure of Movement Mastery. She remains active in the organizing scene in Wisconsin and as a yoga teacher, integrating collective values into her classes.
Lissy Romanow is also an experienced organizer and serves the team through her role as the Training Pedagogist. Lissy supports the creation and revision of training content for Movement Mastery, and continues to organize with Neighbor to Neighbor, If Not Now, and other efforts in her community in Boston.
The Momentum Team is an amazingly dedicated volunteer team that has worked with Movement Mastery to co-develop and support the creation of the Momentum Trainings. This team includes the incredible Paul Engler, Belinda Rodriguez, Max Berger, Mimi Hitzemann, Guido Girgenti, and Carolina Canizales. Also essential to this team are the many facilitators that volunteer to come back to training and help support the next generation of participants.