Our mission is to create an arena for established and emerging community leaders and organizations to grow and develop in their capacity to bring about sustainable justice and equality through dialogue, creative expression and collective action.
By facilitating inclusive spaces, we bring people together from local communities in Kansas and surrounding states who face specific struggles. Through creative expression, popular education, critical dialogue and learning to live sustainably, people will figure out how best to move forward in solving their problems. Centrally located in the thriving and diverse NorthEnd neighborhood in Wichita, The Seed House ~ La Casa de la Semilla is a catalyst in developing a rich public life, neighbor-to-neighbor engagement, and practicing democracy in a neighborhood context.
We believe that creativity lays at the foundation of any efforts to bring about social change; by actively exploring creative expression one can achieve social innovation, thus fostering the development of new perspectives of seeing and understanding the world.
Nothing inhibits creativity more than fear of failure. The Seed House~La Casa de la Semilla is a place that provides freedom from fear and anxiety, setting the arena for innovation and experimentation by challenging individuals to think beyond their comfort zone. Leaders have the opportunity to develop a critical eye on the efforts put forward and to generate solutions to issues we face every day. In this process of experimentation, creation and evaluation, failure becomes a significant learning tool.
The Seed House ~ La Casa de la Semilla is a space that elevates leadership to higher levels of inspiration and dignity, creating individuals capable of great discernment and innovation who are sensitive to the opportunities and threats posed by important societal and historical trends in our communities. For the self-actualized individual, there is no end, just a constant movement to expand and grow; it is in that growth process that The Seed House will be an instrument that facilitates new and effective ways of thinking and behaving, a cultural hub that can serve as a connector between diverse communities.
It is the belief of The Seed House ~La Casa de la Semilla that poverty and isolation from society is not a personal choice, but something that is created at systemic levels that need to be addressed while at the same time creating a more stable and sustainable life for people and their children.
We believe that places are made and given meaning by the people who live in them and the relations among those that inhabit it. We recognize the fundamental role of the arts acting as the adhesive for connecting people across different constituencies as well as in finding innovative propositions to ways of living together and exploring tangible change.
Racism functions on multiple levels of society. It is not simply an attitude or ideology that some people express towards others based on racial identity; that is racial bias. Systemic racism excludes people of color from access to economic and social resources and institutional power. Racism intersects with other types of oppression; thus, our approach to racial justice work must be intersectional. The Seed House mission also prioritizes gender justice, addressing sexism, heterosexism, homophobia, and transphobia. Our relationships reflect this work, and we know that we will continue to find points of intersection and collaboration on these issues.
At The Seed House ~ La Casa de la Semilla, we walk with people and groups doing their own thing, finding their own solutions to the needs of their neighborhood or community. Our role is to provide support, resources, spaces for collaboration, and questions for reflection and analysis.
Armando Minjarez is a Mexican interdisciplinary artist, designer and community organizer. His activism and social justice work started at age 16 as an undocumented high school student struggling to enroll in higher education, and eventually leading a state-wide campaign for undocumented high school students to pay in-state tuition rates in Kansas. His practice is guided by themes of displacement, collaboration and empowerment to open spaces for the development of social change strategy, creative expression and resistance for people of color. He is cofounder of local non-profit The Seed House~La Casa de la Semilla, co-founder of the NorthEnd Urban Arts Festival and founder of the art collective ICT ARMY of Artists, and most recently named one of 33 Knight Cities Challenge 2017 grant winner for the project Horizontes.
Armando has presented work, conducted research, and facilitated workshops and trainings on racism, displacement, migration and creative expression in Canada, USA, Mexico, and throughout Europe. His creative and community work has been featured on the New York Times, Buzzfeed, C Magazine, CityLab Latino and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
He is a communications fellow at the Opportunity Agenda, Creative Change alumnus and has been awarded grants by the Knight Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Wichita Cultural Funding Committee and the Kansas Humanities Council.
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.
Laura Dungan, Community Outreach Director, 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 The Department of Homeland Security 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 her further growth fostering 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?
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.
Marquetta Atkins is a community educator who brings her passion for working with youth of color and her creative energy to the table as a facilitator. For years she has dedicated herself to ensuring that young people are equipped with the tools for a better future. She was born and raised in Wichita, KS and graduated with a degree in Communications from Wichita State University. Her persistence in reaching her educational goals equipped her to be a mentor for high school youth in Wichita, including her own children. She is an active mentor with Sisterhood, a program operating in the Wichita public high schools. Her passion for youth development is rooted in her conviction that youth are the change-makers we need for the transformation of our communities, both today and in the future.
In 2015 she founded Camp Destination Innovation to expose young people to a variety of career options, encouraging them to create their own future. The camp also helps youth explore strategies for social-preneurship and civic engagement, grounding their professional development in a larger vision for whole and healthy communities. Marquetta is a member of the Entrepreneurship Task Force, striving to eliminate the barriers facing young people and women as entrepreneurs. She created Women Entrepreneurs of Kansas (WeKan!), an initiative to support the growth and power of women entrepreneurs. Marquetta’s talented facilitation challenges people to question their own assumptions and dig deeper into critical awareness. Inspired by Maya Angelou, Marquetta seeks to challenge dominant narratives and create the kind of world she wants to live in.
The Board of Directors
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