Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018 Convenes Education and Youth Justice Organizers, Advocates and Funders in San Juan, Puerto Rico One Year After Hurricane Maria

Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018 (EASJ2018) is a unique education and youth justice convening co-hosted by Andrus Family Fund (AFF) and the Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF) that will elevate the collective genius of organizers, advocates and youth who have dedicated their lives to creating safe and supportive schools, closing youth jails and prisons, ending the criminalization of and violence against young people of color, and transforming education and youth justice systems. The 2018 convening will be held at La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico October 11-14.

EASJ2018 offers a unique opportunity to bring these diverse voices together in one space to create impactful, contextual change and align strategies to address structural racism and inequality in schools, youth systems, and communities. Additionally, EASJ2018 will explore the ways in which communities are building collective power to end the criminalization of youth of color and advance new models of transformative justice that seek to abolish cages and prisons.  

Leading up to EASJ2018, participating organizations sought to create space for solidarity-building and education around the global fight against disaster capitalism and colonialism in Puerto Rico and beyond. On August 11, 2018, youth justice organizers from the continental United States joined organizers and cultural workers from Puerto Rico and the diaspora in New Orleans to unpack the economic and social realities of Puerto Rico pre- and post-Maria. EASJ2018 will give participants another opportunity to collaborate, build connections and engage in shared movement-building strategies.

“EASJ2018 gives attendees a chance to step away from the incredible work they are doing every day in their communities and on the state level, and share it with others in this space,” said Jaime Koppel, Deputy Director for Strategic Partnerships, Communities for Just Schools Fund.

In an effort to amplify the growing movement against privatized education in Puerto Rico, EASJ2018 will lift up the work of a select group of Puerto Rico-based educator organizers, who are mobilizing to save public schools in the midst of a massive wave of school closures and resisting efforts to privatize public education on the island. EASJ2018 programming will address topics such as Puerto Rican colonialism and resistance, police-free schools, investing in public education and organizing youth-led movements.

Additionally, EASJ2018 will provide an opportunity for cultural exchange and self-care among attendees through workshops and community learning tours.

“This is a movement that highlights the building of power among those who have systematically been denied power and celebrates the genius of those at the center of the struggle,” adds Koppel.  

Why Puerto Rico

The historical disinvestment in Puerto Rico is structural and historical in nature after more than a century of colonial status. Therefore, the inequities in Puerto Rico are not a result of Hurricane Maria but were exacerbated by it. The day before the storm:

  • 6 in 10 children in Puerto Rico were living in poverty.
  • Puerto Rico had a poverty rate that was almost double the poorest state in the United States.
  • The median family income in Puerto Rico was $20,438, which is half of the lowest median income in the poorest state of the U.S.   


“The fact that EASJ2018 is taking place in Puerto Rico one year after Hurricane Maria is very intentional. We know that solutions to youth justice and education in Puerto Rico are found from within. Those closest to the problems have the best ideas on how to solve them. So we are entering the communities of Puerto Rico with the understanding that we know nothing and we are here to learn everything. And, that we can bring resources and learnings from different parts of the United States to create fertile ground for real, collaborative work,” said Leticia Peguero, Executive Director, Andrus Family Fund.

EASJ2018 will provide attendees with an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the struggles for racial justice, education, and youth justice in Puerto Rico. EASJ2018 will feature speakers, organizers, healers and artists from Puerto Rico as well as community learning tours, where attendees will experience the work of local organizations first hand.

“The time is now to lift the veil of invisibility and work together with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters to enact inclusive, sustainable change,” Peguero adds.

About Education Anew: Shifting Justice (EASJ)

Co-hosted by Andrus Family Fund and Communities for Just Schools Fund, EASJ is an entirely female-led biennial convening that bridges education and youth justice organizers, advocates and funders. The 2018 convening will be held at La Concha Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico October 11-14 and will include visits to a number of community organizations working in the area. Learn more about Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018 at http:///

For media inquiries, contact Mary Tveit, or 404-432-5067

Out Of The Margins: Planting the Seeds of Liberation

Xiomara Caro Diaz

In this episode, we speak with Xiomara Caro Díaz, Director of New Organizing Projects at the Center for Popular Democracy and Advisory Committee member of the Maria Fund. Hear how Díaz, a “community connector,” works to support individuals and social movements struggling against broken systems and policies in Puerto Rico, pre- and post-Hurricane Maria.

Learning Session: Career Development, Entrepreneurship & Economic Supports for Vulnerable Youth

AFF’s learning sessions are an opportunity to highlight the work of our grantees and other leaders in the field, as well as a chance to help convene funders and practitioners to continue learning. Through these sessions, we seek to create a learning community that can help advance effective practices in service of all young people.

Learn how nonprofits, city government and businesses are working together to create pathways and build supports that help formerly incarcerated or foster care youth access viable, living wage training and jobs.

Panelists will highlight collaborations across sectors, the supports youth require to access and succeed at employment, and the organizing, policy, and entrepreneurship initiatives they are undertaking to continue connecting youth to short- and long-term employment.

Speakers include:

  • David Fischer, the founding Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. He leads efforts to expand, improve and align publicly supported programs to help youth and young adults gain work experience, add skills and explore potential career paths.
  • Marjorie Parker, the President and CEO at JobsFirstNYC. She has over 20 years of professional experience providing oversight of adult and youth services initiatives, and serving as an organizational consultant.
  • Gregg Croteau, UTEC‘s first Chief Executive Officer. He has overseen the growth of the agency from a grassroots safe haven to a nationally recognized youth development agency.
  • Noah Schectman, the Director of Evaluation and Learning at More Than Words, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers youth to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.
  • José García, a program officer on the Future of Work team at the Ford Foundation. Prior to joining Ford, he served as program officer for Strong Local Economies at the Surdna Foundation, where he led the design and implementation of a $4 million grant-making portfolio to spur business development and acceleration while focusing on quality job and wealth creation.