On May 25 youth, community members, activists, friends, and family gathered to celebrate an amazing woman’s birthday, Bridgette Burge. Bridgette who is an advisory board member of the Youth Organizing Institute talked about her love for the program and for Youth Organizing. “I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than protesting and organizing what is happening at the general assembly.” The birthday party allowed youth to connect with community members who are in the social justice movement in NC. This powerful event is just one of the many ways which we are building an inter-generational coalition of organizers in NC. The event also helped raise money for the summer program! Can you help us reach our fundraising goal and support the work of YOI? Make a donation today!
On May 4, high school students gathered for the Youth Organizing Institute Spring Training. Youth from Orange, Wake, and Durham Counties gathered at the Street Scene Teen Center in Chapel Hill. Popular education trainings were requested by the youth for this year’s spring training. Additionally, leaders in NC HEAT helped to facilitate the trainings, along with adult allies from the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the Counter Cartographies Collective.
The curriculum included a school to prison pipeline 101 workshop, followed by a facilitation training so that the attendees could bring the training back to their schools and communities. After lunch we had data, mapping, and cartography exercises to analyze data, then transform it into accessible and useful forms. This Spring’s Institute laid the groundwork for the 4th annual Summer Institute, which will take place in July.
Calling all Youth!
Saturday May 4, come to the Youth Organizing Institute’s Spring Training Day and CONNECT with young people across the triangle who are passionate about social justice.
We will learn how to:
- FACILITATE your own workshop on the school to prison pipeline!
- TRANSFORM statistics into exciting visuals, maps, media, and spoken word!
On April 1 NC HEAT spoke to students at UNC about the struggles youth face in High Schools. The School to Prison Pipeline was the main issues raised in coordination with the dignity in Schools day of action “You cant create peace with a piece.” High School students also spoke about how college students could be good allies in the struggle. NC HEAT is launching a campaign for a moratorium on out of schools suspensions and is getting support from communities in the triangle.
Youth from around the country developed a statement: An excerpt is below “In communities of color throughout the nation, students now experience a vicious school-to-jail track. Despite the fact that school shootings have overwhelmingly happened in white schools, youth of color have paid the price. We have been handcuffed and humiliated in front of other students and staff for “offenses” as small as being late to school; detained in police interrogation rooms at our school; expelled from school for carrying nail clippers, markers or baseball caps; and arrested – even in elementary schools – for fights that used to be solved in the principal’s office. With our backpacks searched and our lockers and cars tossed, at the end of a billy club or the butt of a gun, knees down-hands up, or face down on cold concrete or burning asphalt – we have experienced the true face of “public safety.” These policies haven’t protected us, helped us to graduate or taught us anything about preventing violence. They have taught us to fear a badge, to hate school and to give up on our education. We understand too well that guns in anyone’s hands are not the solution. You can’t build peace with a piece.”
Sign the petition and call the committee members: bit.ly/NOHB217
Today youth from NC HEAT joined community members to overflow a committee hearing on HB 217. There was a line outside of the inadaquate public meeting space and the youth presence was known. The bill people mobilized against would remove judicial discretion for certain felonies allegedly committed by juveniles 13 years or older. Currently under North Carolina law, judges must consider whether probable cause exists that the juvenile committed the offense, and weigh the protection of the public and the best interests of the juvenile in determining whether to transfer the case to adult court. Just by a written motion, Section 7 of HB 217 gives prosecutors the power to prosecute juveniles 13 years or older in the adult criminal court system and strips juvenile court judges’ discretion.
The youth and community response to this measure has just begun. Youth feel that we need to be raising the age at which they can be tried as adults and not the other way around.
On February 9th students from NC HEAT mobilized to participate in HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street). With over 9,000 people from across the state demanding a progressive agenda for NC students were in full force. NC HEAT members joined with other students demanding equality in schools and access to public services. In a time when the legislature in NC wants to take us backwards students are showing a way forward. NC HEAT will continue to demand changes that honor the voices of youth and create liberation for all.
Building Bridges Teen Convening at the Stone House
On Feb 1-2, teen activists and adult allies organizing to end the school-to-prison pipeline, fight racism, work for LGBTQ liberation, food justice, and other issues, held a gathering to chart out the next steps for the building bridges to create a stronger youth movement. High School students from across NC were able to talk about issues effecting them in their schools and communities. With time to make new friends and connections, students are coming together to create change in their communities. This was the first-ever retreat for high school students that was completely planned by the youth. While adults were charged with logistics and transportation, youth created their own program and activities. The student movement in NC is growing thanks to the amazing youth who are leading the way.
| Recent NC Election Results Keeping you Awake at Night?
The Super Majorities in BOTH houses of NC Legislature AND the Governor’s Office on a “MISSION FROM THE POPE” (Art) to cut back & privatize public education in NC – to roll back the progressive movement’s gains and our shared social safety net that will overwhelmingly impact the opportunities & futures for low income & working class youth – particularly immigrant youth & youth of color.
Every year, our school budgets shrink while our prison budgets grow!
As a Holiday Gift To Yourself & the future of North Carolina
We know what’s coming – we need to be ready to defend our future – and we need to make sure our young people have the tools & resources they need to organize & push-back against push-out.
Now more than ever we need young people who think critically about the way their schools and governments are being run, and empower them with the tools to organize & implement their creative solutions!
In 2013, the Youth Organizing Institute (YOI) will turn 4 years old. We are a popular education leadership development program for high school students. We provide trainings on the root causes of injustice, how those root causes are manifested in policies that affect our lives, and how organizing can create change. In the past 3 years, over 50 Triangle teens have participated in our trainings, and we have helped to mobilize hundreds of young people.
We support youth-led organizations like NC HEAT (North Carolina Heroes Emerging Among Teens) and young people organizing in their schools with Gay Straight Alliances and other groups. We are committed to building bridges between young people, adults, and elders.
On December 1 over 15 high school students from across the triangle gathered for the Youth Organizing Institute Winter Training. Students participated in workshops about relevant political issues and ways to be creative activists. These included workshops about Art Pope and School Pushout policies, a media training, a drumming workshop and a workshop on creating oral histories.
The workshops for the training were developed by the requests of current participants in NC HEAT. The Youth Organizing Institute believes that youth must be at the center of any relevant political movement. The Winter training helped the youth become better organizers and they will put those skills to use in their schools and communities.
2012 was a great year for the Youth Organizing Institute! Young people came together to participate in popular education workshops and trainings, and infused their new skills and knowledge into community organizing focused on education, immigration, and the school-to-prison-pipeline.
In February we marched at the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street in Raleigh, and collected signatures for the boycott of Art Pope’s stores, Roses and Maxway. We held a picket at Maxway in Southeast Raleigh in which over 40 people came to support NC HEAT and the campaign to get Art Pope’s money out of the school system.
When the YWCA closed down, NC HEAT led the efforts to support the displaced workers by raising money, issuing solidarity statements, and organizing community-worker meetings. The Youth Organizing Institute organized a Spring Training Day in late March, which included a canvassing training, a political spoken word workshop, and a school to prison pipeline workshop. We also attended a Mountain Top Removal conference and participated in a rally at Progress Energy.
As we moved into the summer, we had our annual summer Youth Organizing Institute. Participants came from across the triangle to learn, laugh, and grow. We participated in workshops from the Sacrificial Poets, Spirithouse, movement elders, and past participants. The institute allowed participants to gain new knowledge of the struggles different people face while building practical organizing skills. Participants created a final project which included a spoken word performance. These new skills were put into place as the year continued.
In September NC HEAT members spent time mobilizing for pride in Durham. Students from NC HEAT marched with iNSIDEoUT to demand equality in schools for LGBTQ students.
In October NC HEAT organized a march, rally, and cultural program about the School to Prison Pipeline in coordination with Dignity in Schools national week of action against school push-out. Youth from over 4 different high schools came together to share poetry and stories and SPEAK OUT about suspensions, high-stake testing, and SRO’s in schools.
We will be ending the year with a Winter Training Day which will include workshops on performance and activism, school push-out policies, and make-your-own media. These youth organizers are excited to respond to the issues they face daily with creativity and collective action.