See how the Andrus Family Fund and grantee partners advanced our mission in a time of radical change. Click here.
Even before the uprisings in response to the murder of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester police, organizers have been calling for the city to defund the police and reinvest in community-led resources and support. Removing police from schools is one step in achieving this goal.
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beloved colleague and friend Allison Brown, the founder and executive director of Communities for Just Schools Fund, an AFF grantee partner and co-convener for our biennial grantee conference, Education Anew: Shifting Justice. Allison passed away from cancer on Saturday night after a long battle, leaving behind two children — Zora (14) and Massai (17) — and many movement leaders who will eternally remember her legacy as deeply compassionate, kind, regal and no nonsense.
Allison worked consistently for education justice, starting her career defending children’s rights in the deep South. She also worked tirelessly to move philanthropic resources to education organizing groups nationwide. Among her many moments of triumph was the recent plenary she facilitated focusing on education and youth justice in Jackson, Mississippi as part of our 2020 EASJ convening. Team AFF salutes our co-conspirator and comrade Allison, and wishes our sister fund CJSF (Jaime Koppel, Thena Robinson Mock, Alexis Smith, Allie McCullen, Cierra Kaler-Jones and the crew) our deepest sympathies and condolences.
The Andrus Family Fund is committed to the fight for education justice and ensuring that we continue to support the work Allison started. Please consider making a donation in her name to the Education Anew Fund, housed within CJSF and New Venture Fund here.
Rest in power and light beloved warrior.
We believe removing law enforcement from schools is a step in the right direction to fostering a safe learning environment for young people of color. While the movement grows in the United States, it has already been implemented in Canada.
During Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018, we had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Vasquez Jimenez of LAEN Toronto about how her organization spearheaded the movement to remove school resource officers from Toronto District Schools.
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:///www.educationanew.org.
For media inquiries, contact Mary Tveit, firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-432-5067
Tia Martinez of Forward Change Consulting shares her wish for the world for her children and grandchildren with us at Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2016.