The Institute for Community Leadership(ICL) Civic Engagement Pilgrimage: A pilgrimage is a journey of cultural spiritual significance. A pilgrimage may involve sacrifice, leaving certain things behind, and opportunity for collective reflection. For the ICL staff and youth this summer, our six-week pilgrimage is about leaving behind many personal comforts in exchange for creating circles of listening and speaking about civic connections—what we get from one another, what we give to one another, and how we create community.

In collaboration with many partners, ICL has organized a delegation of 35 staff, college interns, high school students, and volunteers who are traveling the West Coast connecting with thousands of people.  We are organizing house meetings, and holding meetings with over a hundred organizations from both the private and public sectors.  We are meeting with small businesses and corporate leaders, and with members of faith based organizations, community based and civic rights organizations, and unions as well as leaders in government agencies.  Our delegation is meeting with workers and grass root community members.  We are also participating in public events, both large and small.

We get up early every morning, make our own meals, journal every day, participate in classes and seminars every day, care for one another’s daily needs, and sleep on floors and in tents. We have intentionally left many of the conveniences and comforts of home life and hotel society in an effort to focus on one another.  We are different races, languages, races, and socio-economic backgrounds.  We have different faiths, different beliefs, and different life experiences.

We have come together in a shared understanding that we need to do something relevant about the condition in which we find ourselves in our country.  When it comes to contradictions, inequities and the use of force to problem solve—or Dr. King’s triplets of injustice—materialism and consumerism, militarism and racism–  this summer is about showing up, stayin’ woke, and doing something about it!

It is our hope you will consider joining us this summer.  Please read our eblasts.  Help us pass them along to others.  Some will be stories of who and what we encounter, others will tell of our struggles, findings, and what we are learning. We look forward to advancing our role in shaping civic life, together!