June 23rd marked the last gathering of the Tijuana Pilot Learning & Organizing Network, under this phase of the Foundation for Change’s grant through the Ford Foundation. It was a bitter-sweet day, given that during these last 9 months the Network’s participants definitely forged strong personal ties with each other; and more strategic ties in relationship to each other’s organizational work. During the duration of the pilot project Network participants achieved the following, to mention a few:
Many groups in the Network served as Hosts to network meetings & learning opportunities from November to June, 2012;
As a result, Network participants, and allies, participated on site visits to Los Laurels Canyon; to Playas de Tijuana; to Maquiladora Industrial Parks in the Otay region of Tijuana; to the Border Fence (Tijuana side), to the Kumiai Nation of San Jose de la Zorra (about an hour and a half, southeast of Tijuana); to the facilities of Fundacion Esperanza, an organization focusing on home ownership for low income communities in Tijuana through revolving credit; and to RECIMEC’s facility (RECIMEC stands for the Network of Citizens Improving their Communities) near the still pristine area of the Rio Almar, which is being paved in order for trucks to access an new mega industrial park in eastern Tijuana.
The site visits experiences were new to many participants; and therefore generated new knowledge and new perspectives on social justice and environmental justice issues in the region;
Along the way: Network participants learned how each organization in the Network approaches community organizing…
Network participants also learned how others within the Network are forging strategic relationships on a regional and binational front…
In the end, Foundation for Change recognized, and valued, that All 11 organizations in the Network care deeply about environmental sustainability issues in the San Diego/Tijuana region; and are working arduously to rectify problems in Tijuana in order to create a better metropolitan region for all….
Foundation hopes that this is the beginning of a more strategic relationship to groups in Tijuana, and vice-versa.