• ffjdane

The Changemaking Series: “Lessons in Liberation” from and for Our Schools

Image of a school bus from behind with "The Changemaking Series: Lessons in Liberation" placed in trees and sky above.

An invitation...

Each year students and staff return for another cycle of this thing we call school. The anticipation is palpable. At best, we hope for deep learning and authentic connections. At worst, we have concerns and fears for our children’s fundamental well-being and safety. So many different people, experiences and realities, hopes and dreams, converge at this one institution. The complexity of the whole endeavor is dizzying, for everyone.

Given the incredible promise and potential of schools, we cannot help but wonder, "What needs to happen for our schools to truly become compassionate and empowering places of learning for all?” If ever there was a question demanding more than one answer, it’s this one. There isn’t one magical brush stroke that will “fix it all.” Instead, we will need to take countless little (and sometimes big) steps to move us in that direction.

Thankfully, we are not starting from zero. Far from it. Right here in our own community, as well as throughout the country, there are young people, educators, families, and community members collectively moving us towards a more liberatory place. But their efforts rarely make the news, or they are written about using frames that fundamentally discredit or minimize their potential to transform.

For the upcoming school year, each month we will offer a post highlighting and uplifting some of these people and their important work. These posts will not be tidy solutions wrapped up in a polished bow. Rather they will be full of grit, heart, and the vision necessary to do this work with all of its complexities and sometimes its contradictions.

We invite you to move beyond the often hollow soundbites that can over-simplify issues and recycle harmful narratives of our children and schools, and join us in a practice of something more nuanced and nourishing. These posts will feature interviews of local changemakers working to transform education, highlights from the groundbreaking compilation book Lessons in Liberation: An Abolitionist Toolkit for Educators, as well as suggestions for how to bring this work into your own life and spheres of influence.

It’s going to take all of us thinking and acting in new ways to make schools the kind of places that are empowering for all, but some people are already there, are already creatively and thoughtfully applying a lens of liberation for all to the practice of education. We look forward to getting to know these people and ideas with you. Here’s to a revolutionary school year and to seeds of change. Onwards!

Do you know of someone we should talk to? Message us at ffjdane@gmail.com.

Families for Justice is a network of people working to dismantle white supremacy through multi-generational community organizing and direct action.

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