What People Are Saying
The history you provided was powerful and allowed me to understand the gravity of our current events. I left with compassion and understanding and a desire to be a part of the change we so desperately need.
You've made a difference in my life. Thank you for the work that you do and for being who you are.
-Emma Vasseur, Racial Justice Workshop Participant, November 2016
“The balance of activities and flow of the day were fabulous; I really appreciated how AORTA's facilitation created space for our conversation while providing context, challenge and direction. The result was a conversation I didn’t expect, and learned so much from.”
“This was a great training with a great facilitator. I came in wondering what systemic oppression is, and left with a much clearer understanding of this, and tools I can use to be a change agent. The trainer did a great job of holding space, guiding the group to understandings and yet maintaining a friendly, engaging style.”
-Workshop Participants, Edible Schoolyard, August 2016
“We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to work with us. We feel so much more knowledgeable and grounded moving forward as a board together. Your brainpower and expertise made this critical training fun!"
-Maritza and Myrna, Somos Familia, August 2016
"This is the best training I've been in. The clearly defined goals and strong sense of political alignment and intention made me able to show up and participate in a really full way."
–Workshop Participant, Bay Area Facilitation Skill-Building Weekend: Centering Power Analysis in Our Work, July 2016
“When we decided that our seminary needed to begin training around sexual violence response and prevention, we wanted to find trainers with grounding in survivor-centered work, communal accountability, and an overall radical approach to seeing violence and cycles of violence. I spoke on the phone with and AORTA trainer and explained more about the culture of our institution, the wide range of familiarity with the material, and the desire to accomplish a LOT in a LITTLE time. AORTA helped us set achievable goals for the workshop time, and we strategized about how to plant seeds rather than jam a lot of content into a little time. I was particularly grateful for AORTA’s energy around working with our school, and learning how to bring this work to a set of folks with specific roles and needs. At the workshop, I so appreciated the trainer’s comfort with the way the conversation weaved itself, as she held folks in their feelings at the moment while as well as pushing them to engage with new models to understand violence response. The theory from the workshop wove through our subsequent conversations, leading rabbinical students thinking about how to use their own power, and the implications of various social services. AORTA skillfully and compassionately started our thinking on ways to hold and hold accountable people who perpetrate violence.”
–Ariana Katz, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, March 2015
“Thank you, thank you, thank you for one of the most moving, informative, and enjoyable workshops I have ever been to. These conversations and exercises are so necessary and applicable to every aspect of the human existence and I am grateful that AORTA exists to facilitate this.”
–Participant, TransForm training, March 2015
“AORTA broached sensitive, complicated concepts in a way that respected and included the audience. Acknowledging how a worker co-op falls short of its ideals can be tough, but AORTA gave us real-life examples and specific ideas on how to make changes.”
-Jessie Myszka, Equal Exchange, June 2014
“The Conflict Resolution Training that AORTA gave us was awesome! It felt like we were in the room with a real ally dedicated to fighting oppression; giving us concise, well-thought out tools for us to use in our own social justice work."
-Emma Yorra, the Brooklyn Center for Family Life Sunset Park, June 2014
“Due to past experiences with diversity/anti-oppression trainings, I started out the day guarded and with an expectation that I’d end the day feeling bad about who I am. The AORTA trainers created a space of learning where not only did I drop my guard, but I was able to be vulnerable enough to learn.”
-Jamie McGonnigal, New Organizing Institute, January 2014
“This was incredible! The training went way above and beyond my expectations. I'm so excited to try out the techniques I learned and really appreciate the way the meeting was facilitated. Thank you for helping create an open and honest space for us to come together and talk about difficult issues, while learning and practicing how to facilitate and be better participants in our meetings.”
- Nicole Greenspan, Ithaka Cooperative, November 2013
“This was my favorite workshop. I wish I could give you an award! This is the reason why I came to this conference - to find inspiration and answers to fundamental issues in my co-op. How do I inspire myself and others? Why are we doing what we do? You helped me so much. I wish I could take you home with me. Perhaps you can visit and help us thrive.”
-Workshop Participant, The Way We Do the Things We Do: Healthy People Build Healthy Workplaces, Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy 2013, July 2013
“AORTA always leaves me with shivers in my spine and wrinkles in my brain. You can feel the long history of movement organizing and facilitation coursing through their workshops.”
-Anthony Meza-Wilson, Gallery Gachet, October 2013
“AORTA organized a dynamic, challenging, and engaging retreat that felt practical and analytical. They created a space where people felt comfortable to give and receive critical feedback-- but with a focus on systemic change.”
-George Lavender, Producer, Making Contact/National Radio Project, August 2013
“AORTA's workshop felt energizing and empowering to participate in. Excellent facilitation, deeply transformative concepts and strategic conversations about how to apply our learnings left me feeling inspired, resourced, and grateful. Thank you!”
-Annie Morgan Banks, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, May 2013
“My world opened during my first workshop with AORTA. That day changed my life, and every day, even now—two years later—I am thankful for it. To incorporate an understanding of privilege and oppression into our daily lives is one of the hardest, most rewarding, and most important things that any of us can do, and AORTA is an incredible group of people to work with on it.”
-Isaac Hollander McCreery, OSCA, Oberlin College, April 2013
“The AORTA training was informative, engaging, and genuinely respectful of all levels of experience and knowledge being brought to the training. It was clear that the trainers were passionate about anti-oppression work, and their commitment to social justice was inspiring and helped me renew my own. Just being in a room with other people who care about collective liberation is enough of a reminder that I’m not alone in this process.”
-Hannah Forman, Bitch Media, April 2013
“As a group of volunteer birth doulas, our training prepared us to support individuals in their pregnancy and birth process, but not necessarily in issues of systemic oppression. Our training workshop with AORTA rounded out our perspective in really powerful ways, to work more holistically with the communities in which we live. It was wonderful to grow and share as birthworkers, as a collective, and as people.”
-Margaret Mary Downey, PALS Doulas, January 2013
“It always seemed like such a daunting task to define who we were as an organization. When it came time to expand, we knew it was vitally important so we reached out to AORTA. Through their expert help we were able to come up with a document that really nailed our strengths, structure, and principles in about the 10th of a time it would have taken to do it ourselves. Look forward to the next time we need their help.”
-Mark Libkuman, Open Flows Tech Cooperative, 2012
“I first came to know AORTA at an anti-racism training for co-operative houses in Boston. I was really impressed with the way they helped us to challenge ourselves to address issues of oppression within our communities.
Later on, when I was planning an Anti-Oppression training for my colleagues at Close To Home, I knew that AORTA would be the best organization to help us talk about this hefty topic together as well as build our skills for talking about it with others. AORTA trainers worked with me to fully develop our vision for the training. They listened with love and ensured that they understood fully what we needed. They asked deep and meaningful questions in order to get a sense for our community and developed a training that catered specifically to our needs.
At the workshop, our AORTA trainers were amazing. They were extremely adept at facilitating the group's self-learning and empowerment through the use of popular education and their warm and engaging approach ensured that we all left the workshop feeling an increased feeling of community, power, and love. The AORTA training definitely represented a turning point in our community. It helped us to engage folks better, to really understand the anti-violence work that we do, and we learned how to approach our work with the amazing spirit that AORTA trainers bring. It was only two days but the impact will last a lifetime! I hope they can come back soon.”
-Aisha Shillingford, Lead Organizer, Close To Home, 2012