On the weekend of May 18-20, Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) hosted over 200 attendees in Chicago, Illinois for their national conference: We Choose Equity, Not The Illusion of School Choice.
J4J is a national alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led base building groups organizing to win community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public school systems in their neighborhoods, states and nationally. Launched in 2013 with 13 cities, J4J has now grown to 31 cities across the United States and also Johannesburg, South Africa.
In order to win in the current political climate, our social movements need to be more effective, more resilient, and more rooted in collective healing than ever before. Youth on Board’s ListeningWorks project is harnessing the power of radical listening to strengthen social movements, build bridges between divided communities and create a shared vision of liberation. Using our signature Action & Support model—refined over twenty five years and based on radical listening, restorative justice and social emotional learning—we are building a national cohort of movement builders, civic leaders and community organizers dedicated to transforming healing and support systems for themselves and deepening engagement with their communities using a relational and love-centered approach. We invite you to learn about our model and join our efforts to heal movements and communities across the country.
Forbes just released its annual list of the wealthiest folks on Earth, who have an average net worth of $4.1 billion. Every time one of these lists comes out, the first thing I do is scan for names that are not white men, and every time, I'm disappointed. You could hardly find a more striking visual to demonstrate that colonial dynamics are alive and kicking here in the 21st century, dividing the world into haves and have-nots.
The Journey for Justice Alliance, a Schott grantee partner and national network of community-based organizations in 31 cities, released a new report, Failing Brown v. Board, last week. The report illuminates just how inequitable public education remains today, largely across racial lines. Through examining course offerings at high schools in 12 cities (and one elementary school in Chicago), this report, which is backed by substantial research, shows how black and brown students are denied “access to inspiration” in comparison with their white, more affluent peers. Failing Brown v. Board was released on the first day of the new Poor People’s Campaign.
Each of us can think of an educator who made a positive impact in our lives, picked us up when we were down, or helped kindle a lifelong curiosity and love of learning. Teacher Appreciation Week is usually a time to simply reflect on the importance of educators in society and to thank them for the incredibly important work they do.
When parents, youth, community members and educators join together, they can move mountains.
From West Virginia to Oklahoma and a growing list of states across the country, educators are making demands that go far beyond fair wages and benefits: they are advocating for newer textbooks, smaller class sizes and pushing back against the austerity measures and harmful policies that undermine student-centered learning environments. Local communities are locking arms with educators and joining those efforts.
For most people, medicine is something used to treat or cure a disease, often a man-made drug, or sometimes an herb. Sometimes it refers to the whole field: hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, and so on. In Native Americans traditions, however, medicine is a way of achieving balance. An Indigenous medicine person doesn’t just heal illnesses — he or she can restore harmony or establish a state of being, like peacefulness. Medicine people live and practice among the people; access to them is constant and unrestricted. And the practice of medicine is not just limited to the hands of medicine people: everyone is welcome to participate. Engaging with medicine is a part of the experience of daily life. Traditionally, Indigenous people don’t wait to be out of balance before they turn to medicine.
One of the most inspiring sights of the historic West Virginia teacher strike was seeing educators taking the time to assemble bags of food to deliver to students while schools were closed. In a state in which one in four children is in poverty, the food drive helped struggling families while the strike was ongoing — but it was also an indicator of the kind of labor-community cooperation and solidarity that can achieve important victories, even in the face of daunting political odds.
Today there are an estimated 30,000 officers now in schools, up from roughly 100 in the 1970s. Although the stated purpose of these officers is to maintain a sense of safety, a very troubling consequence is greater arrest rates and referrals for minor disruptive behaviors — with especially harsh results for girls of color.
Every day, Native youth and communities demonstrate the ability to thrive and persevere despite historical, structural and institutional inequities. Native youth have shown that they are invested in a better future – not just for Native people, but for all Americans. By working in partnership, funders believe that we will see Native communities make great strides in healing, restoration, and advancement of our greatest resource – our youth.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education, in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, with support from Nike N7, recently released a set of recommendations for helping Native youth live healthy lives. These recommendations came directly from Native American leaders who hold expertise across health, physical fitness, education and youth development sectors. The report, Original Instructions, outlines both challenges and opportunities to philanthropy. It’s a first step towards using our resources to recognize and learn from the resilient Native youth.
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