Sharing. Learning. Action.
Leadership workshops and retreats.
Strengthening the efforts of local groups.
Our mission is to create an arena for established and emerging community leaders to grow and develop in their capacity to bring about sustainable justice and equality through dialogue, creative expression and collective action.
Margi has been working for social change for 15 years, primarily as a social justice educator with youth and adults. She grew up in rural Kansas, later migrating to Arkansas, New Jersey, Arizona, and finally back to Kansas. In each of these places, she has organized and collaborated on efforts to address climate change and ecojustice, immigrant rights, global economics and migration, gender justice, racial justice, and health and healing within activist communities. She has learned how deeply liberating it can be to name our shared experiences and tell our stories as an act of resistance to oppression. She fell in love with the wisdom sources that have nurtured her growth and rooted themselves in collective transformation, like popular education; post-colonial theory; womanist, feminist, and mujerista communities; queer theory; and process theology. She spent five years in the borderlands of Southern Arizona, where she witnessed people committing incredible acts of courage in an environment of fear and hostility. In Tucson, Margi worked as the Education Director at BorderLinks, using experiential learning methods to engage people from across the U.S. about the border and immigration issues. She oversaw BorderLinks’ team of bi-national educators, including program development, curriculum writing, and community relationships with over 200 partner organizations in the U.S. and Mexico. She and her colleagues designed an immersion program in Chiapas, Mexico, to connect folks across multiple borders and build transnational solidarity. She is an experienced interpreter/translator, facilitator, writer, and speaker, and she loves to cook for people! She is actively involved with the ICT-Army of Artists and she serves as a board member of SoCe Life. She is passionate about celebrating and nurturing the life of our communities in Wichita and in Kansas.
Co-founder / Community Development Director
Laura has been in the field of Community Organizing for over 25 years and was mentored by Shel Trapp, co-founder of National People’s Action in Chicago. Laura is the Founding Director of Sunflower Community Action, which began in a predominantly African-American community with block clubs that grew to multi-racial statewide scale.
Through this organization, countless indigenous leaders in Black, Brown, and Anglo communities worked together to realize thousands of dollars in neighborhood infrastructure, and a large $7.2 million settlement for Kansas consumers from a predatory subprime lending company.
Kansas Latino leaders, also, secured the passage of the In-State Tuition bill for Hispanic youth. While at Sunflower, inspired by Myles Horton of the Highlander School, Laura, established an annual Leadership School that provided space for hundreds of Kansas leaders to train and develop themselves. At the national level she was organizer of an action at Homeland Securities with 700 people that resulted in negotiations allowing thousands to complete their citizenship process before the fall presidential election in 2008. With the understanding that people are the experts of their own problems, she organized a workshop with 10 national leaders held at Highlander Research and Education Center and began a relationship that became the grounding for a Highlander-esque inspired organization in Kansas, The Seed House~Casa de la Semilla. With music and spirituality as integral threads in the community organizing fabric, the Rockwood Institute and Center For Courage and Renewal facilitated and encouraged further growth and the fostered a deeper and more expansive creativity in the weaving of a new world. Laura’s current big question is:“If it is Love that Wins, what does it look and feel like to win your enemy?”
Co-founder / Creative Director
Armando Minjarez is a Mexican interdisciplinary artist, designer and community organizer, focusing his social justice work primarily on immigrant rights and racial justice. He came to this country as a teenager and soon became involved in the Kansas immigrant struggle in the national campaign calling for the passing of the DREAM Act in 2004; he became one of the first students without immigration status in Kansas to enroll in a higher education institution through the In-State tuition legislation passed in Kansas in 2004. With a vast curiosity and passion for justice, Armando was the founding organizer for the Southwest Chapter of Hispanos Unidos in 2006, eventually working as a community organizer. He has since been active as an activist and spokesperson for the immigrant justice movement at the local, state, and national level. Armando has led thousands of community leaders, from across the country, to be face-to-face with decisions makers debating the fate of millions of immigrants in the US.
He graduated from Kansas State University with a BFA. Armando has moved his organizing experience into the art world, evolving it into an interdisciplinary practice. Colonization, collaboration and empowerment are guiding themes as he facilitates safe spaces for the development of social change strategy and creative expression in the organizing field at The Seed House ~ La Casa de la Semilla, where he is co-founder. He is also the founder of the art collective ICT ARMY of Artists and artistic producer at The NorthEnd Urban Arts Festival.
Armando has presented artwork, conducted research, and facilitated workshops and lectures on racism, displacement and migration of people in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. His community engaged art projects have been featured in national media such as New York Times and Buzzfeed, has recently been published in the International Journal of Education and the Arts. He is a communications fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, Creative Change alumnus and has been awarded grants by the Puffin Foundation, Wichita Cultural Funding Committee and the Kansas Humanities Council.
Co-founder / Facilitator
Emira has been in the field of community organizing for nearly 15 years. She is a leader in her community, organizer and currently the coordinator and facilitator for the Citizenship Academy. She has been in high-level meetings with decision-makers at both the national and state level. Most notable are: Former George W. Bush Advisor, Karl Rove; Former Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, and Former Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius. For more than a decade, Emira has been providing opportunities for people in the immigrant community to deepen their own leadership and legalize their status through Democracy Schools. She is a co-founder of The Seed House ~ Casa de la Semilla. She has appeared in national media such as the Washington Post and Democracy Now. Most recently Emira traveled to Eastern Europe with an initiative of the US State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Office of Citizen Exchange for a “Legislative Fellows Program: CITIZEN LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES” and provided trainings on Community Organizing and Leadership Development in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.
Visual Arts Teacher
Artist / Rabble rouser