Donate on Indiegogo! Support our trip to Atlanta & Miami!


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To enhance our campaign for a Moratorium on Out-Of-School-Suspensions and learn best practices for inter-generational organizing, the Youth Organizing Institute is taking members of NC HEAT (NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens) & EJA (Education Justice Alliance) to Atlanta to meet with JustUSATL, and Project South then heading to Miami to meet with Power U!

This trip will bring high school youth and elders together to:

  • Meet with leaders and members of Project South and Power U to understand their inter-generational organizing models.
  • Explore challenges of organizing in the south specifically around race and religion and develop new outreach strategies.
  • Discuss current campaign for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions and the challenges associated with educating teachers, peers, and administrators about restorative justice (particularly within the context of a region with low union density and right-to-work laws).
  • Build network of inter-generational organizations building power to fight the school-to-prison-pipeline and working for racial justice, immigrant, and LGBTQ justice in the South.

Funds raised will be used for:

  • Purchasing the van
  • Travel expenses (gas, housing, food)

We have already received a grant for $6,500 of our $10,000 budget for the van and our trip. Please help us get across the finish line!

Donate Today!

First Ella Baker Gala a Success!

monse-carlyOn Saturday, December 7, the Youth Organizing Institute held its first “Ella Baker Gala to Celebrate Youth Organizing and Honor Adult Allies” at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh.  The event was incredible! We raised over $4,800 and honored two amazing women – Erin Dale Byrd and Bridgette Burge.

We sang, ate delicious food, made some new traditions, and created a collective collage to honor the people who inspired us when we were young.

We also gave out the “rising revolutionary awards” to the young people (under 12) who we know will be the leaders of tomorrow.

We know Ella Baker believed that youth should have their own organizations and people affected most by the issues should lead the charge for change.  The Youth Organizing Institute will continue to honor these great freedom fighters and honor their legacy by staying true to their values.

If you missed the event you can see some of the pictures online and be sure to mark your calendars for next year!

Register Now for the 2013 YOI Winter Training!

educate agitate organize


We’re excited to announce that our annual winter training is now open for registration! The training will be held Friday, December 6th and Saturday, December 7th, with an optional sleepover on Friday night in Raleigh.

This year’s workshops will include Restorative Justice Practice, Human Graph Direct Action, Exploring Intersections Between Racism & Homophobia, Story Collecting, and Talking to Your Principal About Restorative Justice.

Please pre-register by Monday, December 2nd if you want to attend this training. Feel free to share this with any teen who has a passion for and a love of justice!

Another world is possible!


Youth Organizing Institute to Hold First Annual Ella Baker Gala on Dec 7th


Saturday, December 7th
6 – 9pm
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
1801 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC 27605
Onsite childcare will be provided.

Join us while we party and celebrate a year of hard work and community building.

This 1st Annual Ella Baker Gala seeks to make some new traditions – we’ll have delicious locally-catered food, excellent local music, and spoken work – and feature a fantastic raffle that shows off the local wealth and talents around us.   This is a chance to see your movement family and make a few new friends.

The theme of this year’s gala is “Honoring Our Ancestors” and we’ll dedicate the evening to remembering those who paved the way for our resistance today.

Tickets are sliding scale $25 – $100. Scholarship tickets are available.

You can also show your support for youth-led organizing by placing a message or ad in the Solidarity Program, which will be given out at the Gala. The community event will have youth and adults from across North Carolina. It is a great way to spread the word about your organization or business’s commitment to building and supporting strong youth leaders. Space and price ranges from a full page at $100 to a $25 solidarity message.


Recap on the Week of Action Against School Pushout!

pushbackiconFrom September 28 to October 7, the Youth Organizing Institute, NC HEAT and the Education Justice Alliance held a Week of Action against school pushout, participating in NC Pride, holding a Press Conference outside of the Wake County School Board office, holding a march in downtown Raleigh against the school-to-prison pipeline, and phone banking to remind people to vote in the school board election.  Here’s a recap of each event:

Saturday, September 28: NC Pride

Youth from NC HEAT, iNSIDEoUT and various high schools throughout the triangle march together in the NC Pride parade.

Youth from NC HEAT, iNSIDEoUT and various high schools throughout the triangle march together in the NC Pride parade.

NC HEAT and allies preparing for pride and the march against school push out!

NC HEAT and allies preparing for pride and the march against school push out!

Alongside iNSIDEoUT and around 50 other teens, NC HEAT marched in the NC Pride parade in Durham to raise awareness for the criminalization of queer youth and youth of color.  It was a fun celebration and a festive way to kick off the week!

Tuesday, October 1: Press Conference to Launch Campaign for a Pause in Suspensions

Members of NC HEAT, YOI and EJA speak out against suspensions in Wake County.

Members of NC HEAT, YOI and EJA speak out against suspensions in Wake County.

News 14 Carolina – “Wake Co. group wants school district to ease suspension policy”

YOI, NC HEAT and the Education Justice Alliance came together to hold a press conference in front of the Wake County Public School System central office in Cary to announce our shared campaign calling for a pause on suspensions in Wake County.  We spoke in front of the WCPSS building as well as during public comment after the school board meeting.  Click here for a video of NC HEAT members speaking during public comment (0:21:00).

Friday, October 4: 2nd Annual March to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline


News & Observer WakeEd blog- “Groups to march to Central Prison to protest Wake County school discipline policies”

News & Observer – “Raleigh groups march to reduce youth imprisonment”

NC HEAT, YOI, EJA and other allies including [??], Internationalist Prison Books Collective and UNControllables marched together to speak out against school push out–policies that lead to students of color, queer youth, students with disabilities and low-income students being suspended, expelled or dropping out at a higher rate than their peers.  The march began with a speak-out at Washington GT Elementary in Raleigh and processed to NC Central Prison, choosing the route to represent the school-to-prison pipeline.  Along the way, marchers stopped outside of Shaw University at the memorial plaque for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to honor radical history and to remember those we love who fight for justice every day.  We then held a noise demonstration outside of  Central Prison with drums and our voices, letting prisoners know that they are not forgotten and not alone.

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the week’s events!  We wrapped up on Monday by making phone calls to remind voters about the school board candidates.  Here is an N&O article about the school board election results.

Stay tuned as we announce our upcoming plans for the end of the year!

Wake County School Board Candidates Answer Questions about Discipline Disparities and Youth Engagement

This September, NC HEAT members attended a series of candidate forums for aspiring Wake County school board members and posed questions around discipline issues and youth voice and engagement in education policy issues.  These questions were also emailed to the candidates who had 10 days to respond.

Four of the eight candidates went on record, answering the questions the youth posed.

Their answers can be found on this pdf flier, which is a compilation of their responses

Sept 10, 2013: Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC
Sept 10, 2013: Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC

National Week of Action to End School Pushout

ImageThe Youth Organizing Institute, the Education Justice Alliance and NC HEAT will join over 50 organizations in more than 20 states to demand that our school systems adopt positive approaches to addressing behavior problems.  Zero tolerance discipline policies, school police or armed guards, and other punitive practices have been found to result in much higher suspension and expulsion rates, often for minor misbehavior, fueling a “School-to-Prison Pipeline.”

The week will launch a campaign to put a moratorium, a temporary pause, on level one out of school suspensions in Wake County. In the 2011-2012 school year, over 14,000 students in Wake County were suspended from school. Students of color, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities were suspended at disproportionately high rates. in Wake County where black students receive over 60% of suspensions but make up less than 25% of the school population.

This campaign asks that during the pause administrators and community members study and recommend alternatives to suspensions that implement research-based restorative justice practices.


WHAT: NC HEAT marches in Durham Pride to oppose criminalization of LGBTQ Youh
WHEN: September 28, 12:00PM
WHERE: Duke East Campus

WHAT: Press Conference to Launch Campaign for Pause in Suspensions
WHEN: October 1, 2013 5:00PM
WHERE: In front of the WCPSS administrative building (5625 Dillard Dr, Cary NC 27518)

WHAT: Youth-led End the School-to-Prison Pipeline March to Central Prison 
RSVP and share our facebook event
WHEN: October 4, 4:00PM-6:30PM
WHERE: The march begins at Washington Elementary School (1000 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC ‎27601) and ends at Central Prison (1300 Western Blvd).
**Watch this video, created by NC HEAT member Q Wideman about last years march.

NC HEAT Plans Second Annual March

flier smaller fileAs part of Dignity in School’s National Week of Action Against School Pushout, NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens) and the Youth Organizing Institute are calling for a MARCH & SPEAK-OUT against the School-to-Prison pipeline.

This is the Second Annual march, led by NC HEAT members.

The march will start with a speak out at Washington Elementary in Raleigh (1000 Fayetteville St.) and proceed to Central Prison for a demonstration with music, drums and raised voices!

Bring friends, signs and noisemakers, and WEAR YOUR BACKPACKS! Show up to push back against school pushouts!

Big Plans for the National Week of Action!


On September 21, members of YOI, NCHEAT and the Education Justice Alliance met to discuss our plans for the upcoming year.  In particular, we planned out the upcoming Week of Action, part of Dignity in School’s National Week of Action Against School Pushout. The Week of Action will take place from September 28 through October 5.  NCHEAT will start out the week by marching at NC Pride in Durham on September 28.  On October 1, there will be a press conference to announce YOI, NCHEAT and EJA’s campaign for a moratorium on out-of-state suspensions, taking place  immediately before a Wake County School Board meeting at which students and parents will speak out against the crisis of suspensions in Wake County.  On October 4, NCHEAT will lead Push Back Against Push Out, a youth-led march against school pushout and the prison-industrial-complex. YOI and NCHEAT members planned out costumes, speeches and chants in preparation.

Get excited!  More info on the Week of Action will be announced soon.

Youth Grill Wake School Board Candidates on Discipline Issues

Sept 10, 2013: Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC
Sept 10, 2013: NC HEAT members line up to ask questions at Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC

On Monday, September 9, seven NC HEAT members attended the Cary Candidate forum located at Covenant Christian church, to ask perspective school board members the questions about the epidemic of suspensions and racial disparities in school discipline practices.   NC HEAT members used data-driven research to generate thought-provoking questions to encourage candidates to discuss their vision for how to address the school-to-prison pipeline in Wake County.

NC HEAT members highlighted that data shows that youth of color and disabled youth are suspended and pushed out of public schools at a rates alarmingly higher than their white, non-special needs counterparts.  Perspective candidates Nancy Caggia and Bill Fetcher seemed unable or unprepared to adequately address these policies issues.  Both candidates stated that they would not support a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions.  After hearing the research and questions presented by NC HEAT members, NC HEAT hopes that the candidates will consider working more closely with students and communities to solve our school discipline crisis and create policies that treat every student, regardless of race, gender, gender presentation, ability, or sexual orientation with dignity.