Author(s)Romano, Alexandria V.S.
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AbstractThe research question addressed in this capstone was, How can community organizers design and facilitate a series of workshops to develop rural leaders for social change in southeast Minnesota? In my effort to pose a solution to this question, I collaborated with other community organizers to design educational activities and facilitation techniques used in four in- person, two-hour long sessions that would engage rural community members in social investigation, reflection, and action. I analyzed literature detailing the rise of alternative learning models in U.S. adult education, social theories centered around liberation which drove the popular education approach to critical inquiry, and skills for facilitating adult learning in a non- formal educational setting. The purpose of my capstone project was to identify an area of social change work currently taking place in rural communities in southeast Minnesota and develop a set of educational activities and facilitation techniques to support that work. The area of social change I focused on for my project brought together people who identify as white and live rurally who participated in an initial white anti-racist training to continue their political education and commitment to dismantling racism in our home communities. Readers of this capstone project will hopefully sense a major transformation throughout the development of the paper into the final project. From start to finish, my understanding of the ways in which white supremacy and racism show up in rural communities changed rapidly. At the end, I explain a few of the major learnings and implications of rural, community-based organizing for social change work moving forward.