National Week of Action Against School Pushout
is an annual event in October for
communities to create national attention to issues like the School-To-Prison Pipeline, ICE/Cops in schools, accessibility, and more.

This year, we’re partnering with several other organizations to facilitate protests, screenings, and workshops right here in the Triangle. Read more about 2017 National Week of Action here.

The Class Divide Documentary Screening/Panel

  • Where: Vital Link Private Schools – 608 Royal St, Raleigh, NC, 27607
  • When: Thurs, Oct 26th, 2017 from 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Facebook Event Page

    Join Education Justice Alliance, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the NC Justice center for a screening of The Class Divide a part of the America Divided documentary series. A community conversation about racial disparity, addressing school pushout and common sense solutions to help parents and students will immediately follow the screening.

    Childcare, Food and Spanish Interpretation will be provided.

    Please contact Letha Muhammad at or Fernando Martinez at for any questions.

    Únase a nosotros en una conversación comunitaria sobre la disparidad racial, el abandono escolar forzado y soluciones de sentido común para ayudar a los estudiantes.

    Vamos a hacer una proyección de un documental, como parte de la Semana Nacional de Acción en Contra del Abandono Escolar Forzado, de Dignidad en Las Escuelas.

    – Proveeremos comida, cuidado de niños e Interpretación.

    Tiene pregunats? …por favor contacte a Letha Muhammad al email or a Fernando Martinez al email”

    Jail Demonstration

    • Where: Durham County Jail – 108 City Hall Plz, Durham, NC 27701
    • When: Fri, Oct 27th, 2017 at 6pm

    The Youth Organizing Institute is excited to co-sponsor a demonstration in front of the Durham County Jail with Inside-Outside Alliance, a local organization working to amplify the voices of Durham’s incarcerated population and their loved ones.

    The pervasiveness of the school-to-prison pipeline has led to the silencing, exploitation, and abuse of many young students of color who are moved through the “justice” system. North Carolina is the very last state to change the law that charges 16 and 17 years olds as adults, no matter the offense. But this change won’t go into effect for another two years. Many young people are still at risk, especially as they are being pushed out of schools by out-of-school suspensions, police officers, and a lack of resources.

    Most recently, the Durham County Jail has announced it’s replacing in-person visitation with video visitation, one of the few connections the prisoners have to the world outside.

    This National Week of Action Against School Pushout, we will be gathering outside the Durham County Jail to FIGHT THE LINK BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND PRISONS, BRING LIGHT TO ABUSE IN PRISONS, AND SHOW OUR SUPPORT FOR INCARCERATED YOUTH.

    School to Prison Pipeline Teach-in

    • Where: 304 E Trinity, Durham, NC 27701
    • When: Sat, Oct 28th, 2017 at 12-5pm
    • Facebook Event Page

    Join YOI at Queernival for a teach-in on the school to prison pipeline! Queernival is a free outdoor street fair that serves as a resource and safe celebration space for queer youth. There’ll be food trucks, booths, games, open mic, bouncy castle, and more! Join us at our booth to learn more the school-to-prison pipeline: what you can do at your school, how to educate others, and play a few games with us.

    Meet YOI’s New Co-Director!

    The Youth Organizing Institute is excited to announce that we have brought on Raul Jimenez as a co-director of the organization. Loan and Raul’s co-directorship comes after a process of deep reflection and evaluation to assess what kind of contributions are needed from YOI in this period to continue to build a movement for youth power and justice.

    In the past year, YOI has had the honor of supporting youth organizing for change in their schools and communities across a variety of issues. With each new repressive attack on our people, we gain a deeper understanding of precisely what is meant by the “new political moment.” From issues of school push out to police brutality, gentrification and targeted attacks on undocumented students, Muslim youth, LGBTQ young people, and all of our communities, we know that now more than ever, young people need to know that we’ve got their back. We must build strong organizations in order to do this.

    YOI is committed to practicing a culture of consultation and horizontal leadership development across our organization – all of which allow us to increase our ability to be nimble and responsive to the constant changes in the landscape. We see our transition into a co-directorship model as strengthening this dedication.

    YOI is excited to continue to explore what this co-directorship means for YOI’s work in consultation with our community, fellow staff, and young people we work with. Please read below some words from Raul and what he hopes to support as he enters the organization.

    RJ Bio Pic YOI 2017

    I am excited to join the Youth Organizing Institute as their new Co-Director. With YOI I’ll be working collaboratively with Loan (Co-Director) and organizers to fight against injustices in the NC Public School system, and injustice and oppression that affects youth across the Triangle.

    About me: I was born in Mexico, the child of migrant farmworkers, I moved to the US at the age of 6, and after living here 3 years, moved back to Mexico. I came back at the age of 12 and resided in Eastern NC until 2010. In 2010, I began working with the Youth Organizing Institute as a field organizer in Raleigh, NC and helped organize students into NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens (HEAT). While working for the YOI we fought against school “Re-Segregation” in Wake County, school push out and budget cuts to education. After working with the YOI, I began working with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC). As a FLOC organizer I reached out to farm workers across North Carolina, working together to build union membership, improve living and working conditions, educate workers on labor rights, and ensure all farm workers a voice on the job. As a longtime activist, I have organized with several groups on different issues such as immigrant rights, worker’s rights, anti-racism, etc.

    As Co-Director of YOI I hope to achieve the following goals:

    + Strengthen current Base and grow our base by engaging schools and communities across
    the Triangle.
    + Engage in direct in school organizing, with the YOI Staff, in the Triangle and potentially
    expand this organizing to other communities and schools across NC.
    + Strengthen current Organizational relationships and partnerships and create new
    partnerships that will benefit and strengthen the programs run out of the YOI as well as
    the community and in school organizing.

    + Use existing organizing trainings and create new ones (if needed) to train staff and
    students and prepare them to organize their schools and communities.
    + Work with YOI Staff and community to create events that engage students and
    community and encourage them to participate in our programs as well as in the
    organizing being carried out in schools and communities across the triangle.
    + Work with staff, students and community to engage in solidarity actions across
    Movements of Liberation, i.e. Worker/Labor Organizing, BLM, Defend Durham, LGBTQ liberation,

    If you have any ideas, feedback, or just want to say congratulations to Raul, please send him an email at:


    The Young Organizers training fellowship is a mentorship program that emerged from Hero Emerging Amongst Teens (HEAT) which was founded in 2010. NC HEAT was a youth-led organization which utilized peer education and organizing campaigns to advocate for organize towards youth liberation. The training fellowship aims to continue nurturing that mission by investing in the leadership development of high school aged youth.

    The training fellowship is committed to providing approximately 100 hours of leadership development over the course of approximately six months through a popular education model entailing interactive workshops, luncheons, enrichment field trips, book readings, cinema, somatics, “artivism” etc.

    The curriculum is broken into seven sessions with the fellows spending about one month on each session with the last session entailing reflection and application in order to cultivate everything they have learned into a framework to continue their organizing and activist goals after the fellowship has ended. For the first six sessions, the curriculum is split between enrichment and self-study. That is, each session focuses on a specific organizing method paired with a theme revolving around self-evaluation to work on being the best forms of ourselves we can be. The fellows will participate in two or three engagements that compliment the topic of each session(readings, movies, trainings, art etc.)






    WoA 2017 Banner Yellow.preview

    Education is a Human Right!

    National Week of Action (Oct 21-29) is almost here!

    The Youth Organizing Institute is a member of the national coalition,
    Dignity In Schools Campaign. The DCS is made up of many organizations all over the
    country that working towards school safety for students of color, LGBTQ students, immigrant students, disabled students, and low-income and homeless students. National Week of Action is an annual event in October for
    communities to create national attention to issues like the School-To-Prison Pipeline, ICE/Cops in schools, accessibility, and more.

    We Will Not Give Up the Fight!

    YOI always want to support the work of young people
    and make their voices heard! We want to start a planning team to start
    planning events to happen during the week. In the past, as a partner with Dignity in Schools Campaign, we’ve held protests, forums, screenings, workshops, actions, and more! This year, we want to hear what YOU want to plan for your school and our community.


    Our 2017 National Week of Action Demands! DSC members and allies call on the federal government, states, districts, and schools to:

    Shift funding from school police to counselors, peace builders, and positive discipline.
    Fund and use transformative and restorative justice, mediation, and positive interventions.
    Stop arresting and pushing out students of color, LGBTQ youth, students that are homeless,
    and students with disabilities at higher rates. *Black students are pushed out at the highest
    rates nationally.)
    Make sure states and districts focus on school climate under the new federal law —
    the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
    End paddling and physical punishment in all schools.
    Invest in public education, not privatization and charter schools.

    Read more about 2017 National Week of Action.
    2017 National Week of Action Banner

    (Pay) Labor(ers) Day!


    Today, we honor unpaid and unprotected workers, teachers and childcare workers, farm workers and garment workers, blue and pink collars alike. We fight for safe work environments, union rights, $15/hr living wage, and universal healthcare. Whether or not you striked on May Day, whether or not you’re working today, resistance is not a one-time event or pre-designated holiday. Workers’ rights are people’s rights, immigrant rights, queer rights, women’s rights, and student rights. It is our individual resistance that fuels collective power and that makes a group of people into a community. This Labor Day, take some time for yourself so you can win again tomorrow. As we approach the new school year, we will offer many opportunities to stand with workers, teachers, students, and caregivers because #ItIsOurDutyToFight!



    On August 14th, following Charlottesville, Durham activists took back the city and tore down the confederate statue in front of the old courthouse. Days later, the KKK infiltrated our city to terrorize and immobilize those who are resisting white supremacy. But Durham showed up regardless with a thousand counter-protesters that kept the Klan at bay. These actions inspired countless other acts of resistance. To double the impact, keep up with #DefendDurham on Facebook.


    Thank you to TWF for hosting this eye-opening, imaginative conference for grant recipients! Third Wave Fund is an activist fund supporting “youth-led gender justice” and has consistently funded ground-breaking work in North Carolina. One of our organizers was able to connect with other grantees to talk about funding, and had this to say, “Third wave is a feminist, activist fund led by women of color and queer and trans people. Folks had time to talk and hear about what kind of work folks are doing, along with their wins and challenges. We were able to build with one another and get deep about the funding world!”

    S E P T E M B E R E V E N T S:

    September 5th, 2017. Documenting Movements: a Conversation on Walking the Line. “North Carolina activists are making history. We see the demonstrations go viral. The world is watching. Who’s holding the camera? What are the concerns for the safety of people in front of the lens and for those behind the camera? How do we tell different stories than the in-and-out mainstream media that descend for their soundbite? Can we show the backstory behind bold actions – the history, context and organizing that led to this moment? Is this journalism, alliance or something else altogether? How do storytellers build trust in these times?” 7pm at Beyu Cafe in Durham.

    September 6th, 2017. Pack the Court in Solidarity with Dwayne: #DefendDurham. “Dwayne’s first trial appearance is Wednesday, September 6 at 9am. Let’s keep the pressure on and deliver a strong show of love and solidarity.

    In a cascade of arrests of anti-racist organizers in Durham, North Carolina since the Confederate statue in Durham was toppled, Dwayne is the latest to be targeted. Please try to arrive by 8:45 so we can be present in the courtroom when his trial begins at 9am.” 8:45am at Durham County Courthouse on Dillard.

    September 9th, 2017. Outdoor Documentary: The Rise and The Fall of Liberty. “*Food and drink begin at 7PM, screening begins at 8:15PM when the sun goes down! When developers in Durham, NC, demolish an iconic tobacco auction house in the name of revitalization, they not only displace a community of artists, they also threaten the soul of the community. “The Rise and Fall of Liberty” examines the ebb and flow of Liberty Warehouse’s 80-year lifespan, draws parallels with the evolution of downtown Durham, and reveals the often touching, interdependent relationship between the two. It also raises key questions about the tension between the drive for progress and the character of the city. RT: 52 minutes.” 7pm at Durham Athletic Park.

    September 15th, 2017. NC Trans Pride. “This year’s theme is “Centering Care and Unlearning Oppression”. Trans organizers from across the state are teaming up with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the LGBTQ Faculty/Staff Caucus at UNCC to bring you this year’s NC Trans Pride!

    We invite you to join us for a day of amazing vendors, speakers, workshops and skillshares centering trans resiliency and resistance!” UNC Charlotte Center City.

    September 21st, 2017. Tejana Por Vida (supporting Durham Prison Books). “Mamis & the Papis is a collective of womxn, femmes and tender hearted folx who are excited to share with you the music of our hearts and people. We welcome everyone–queer, trans, gnc folx– to come revel in the music and sip on some delicious beverages.

    $5 door fee goes to a rotating community, grass roots organization. This month’s door proceeds will go toward Durham Prison Books.” 8pm in Arcana in Durham.

    September 29th, 2017. Rainbow Bull Bash (a party for queer youth ages 13-19). “A party for queer youth ages 13-19. Come join us in dancing the night away to live music, crafting, snacking, and playing board games.” 6pm at the LGBTQ Center of Durham.


    “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution.”

    We danced, we learned, we created.

    Gemynii's Art as Resistance to Gentrification Workshop // Durham

    Gemynii’s Art as Resistance to Gentrification Workshop // Durham

    Since our start seven years ago, we have cultivated a space to empower youth to create their own safe spaces and organizations, to learn from each other, and to find many different ways to connect with the topics we cover. In the process, we learn as much as from them about we from them. We learn about their school climates, how education policies affect them day-to-day, and the injustices they see in their own schools and communities. From that, we are always reshaping our curriculums to meet the needs of the group. We learn over and over again that young people will surpass any expectation you set. Their vibrancy, their ideas, their knowledge are invaluable.

    Carly's History of Education Injustice Workshop // Raleigh

    Carly’s History of Education Injustice Workshop // Raleigh

    Freedom School is a two-week program that brings together high school-aged youth around the Triangle area and beyond to organizing skills, political analysis, restorative justice, and young people’s movement history. Every summer, Freedom School is transformative for both the staff and participants. In our Durham and Raleigh tracks this year, we covered topics ranging from reproductive justice, disability justice, and migrant justice, to the impacts map making, canvassing, and media training can have. From the histories of education, prisons, and colonialism, to gender expression and drag culture, art as a way to fight gentrification, and guerrilla theater.

    Greensboro Field trip to International Civil Rights Museum // Raleigh

    Greensboro Field trip to International Civil Rights Museum // Raleigh

    How did we make it through the EIGHTH ANNUAL Freedom Schools? With the help of numerous volunteers, workshop leaders, and parents.

    In Bull City, thank you to Chris and Joanna for providing rides to students. Thank you to Kristen for gathering lunch donations. Thank you CORE Catering, Pompieri Pizza, and the Durham Co-Op. Thanks also to Nicholas from Community Alliance for Public Education for bringing us great lunch. Thank you to Elena for coordinating a magical field day to Wheels. Happy Birthday to Eden. Happy Birthday to Assata Shakur. Thank you to Durham Friends Meeting allowing us to use this space, especially the DFM Peace & Social Concerns Committee.

    In Raleigh, we have many thanks to give as well! Thank you to Jhari, Reed, and Chris for transportation. Thank you to Chris, Fernando, Jill, Butler’s Catering, Noodles & Co, Elena for feeding us. Thank you Seth for coming through with logistics. Thank you to Elena for coordinating a fantastic cookout. Thank you Pullen Memorial Baptist Church letting us use their space, year after year.

    Thank you to the International Civil Right Museum, Beloved Community Center, Stephanie’s Catering, and Greenway Transits for the Greensboro field trip. Thank you so much to Benjamin, Pavithra, Snehal, Theo, Altha, Alex, Jeff, Kathryn, Sidney, and Jonathan for donating to our $5,000 for goal for this year’s Freedom School!!! Thank you to all staff, parents, workshop leaders, and volunteers who showed up and showed out: you made this happen.

    Loan's Anti-Oppression 101 + Timeline Workshop // Durham

    Loan’s Anti-Oppression 101 + Timeline Workshop // Durham

    Wanna stay in touch?
    Facebook: Youth Organizing Institute
    Twitter: @youthorganizenc
    Instagram: @youthorganizenc

    Durham Public Schools: Kick Out Cops, Not Kids!

    foxy coxyKick Out Cops, Not Kids: Youth Organizing Institute Opposes Placement of Police Officers in 5 DPS Middle Schools

    Durham Public Schools’ decision to place police officers (as “school resource officers”) in 5 middle schools is irresponsible to the young people and the communities our education system is meant to serve. We know the role that police play in our schools: to perpetuate the criminalization of youth of color, queer youth, undocumented youth, disabled youth, and more.

    There is little evidence that having police officers in schools improves student safety or the safety of the school environment. These officers function within and uphold a “school-to-prison-pipeline” which punishes students for conflicts that could be resolved with transformative and restorative tools; paints Black and Brown youth as inherently defiant and less than human; and creates a school environment where youth cannot learn and be supported to reach their fullest potential.

    We call on the Durham Public Schools System to take the side of its young people who are learning in an increasingly violently racist and oppressive world. Cops in our schools is not the answer when they routinely escalate conflicts and treat youth as subjects who need to be neutralized and forced to comply to intimidation and scare tactics.

    In the past several months we have witnessed the harm that police officers cause in our school environments. On January 3rd, 2017, a Rolesville High School (Wake County) student Jasmine Darwin was picked up and slammed to the ground by School Resource Officer Ruben De Los Santos while attempting to break up a fight. She was diagnosed with a concussion later that day. De Los Santos was placed on administrative leave. A former SRO from Hillside High School (Durham County) is currently facing charges for sexual misconduct and exploitation of a minor. This SRO began targeting this student in middle school.

    These are only the stories we know of but we can gather from the racist role that police officers play in the broader society that there are hundreds more, if not thousands, of youth who have been targeted and criminalized by police officers in their schools.

    Since 2010, the Youth Organizing Institute has supported high school students in fighting to end racism and re-segregation, to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and to make schools safer for LGBTQ youth.

    We defend and are in solidarity with all young people who fight for schools where police officers are not the arbitrators of conflict, harm, and justice; who fight for schools where youth are able to be their full selves, are supported by their educators, school counselors, and the broader community; who fight for schools where issues of white supremacy, homophobia and transphobia, sexism, xenophobia, islamophobia, and more can be addressed on the basis of shared humanity, dignity, and a vision for a liberated world for young people and all people.

    Join us and others at the Durham City Council work session this Thursday, July 27 to share your thoughts on DPS’s recent decision to place police officers as SROs in 5 middle schools this year.

    1 p.m. in the Council’s Committee Room, 2nd floor City Hall

    We Keep Fighting! Freedom School 2017 Crowdfunder

    2016 Raleigh Freedom School

    2016 Raleigh Freedom School

    Raised: $2,295

    This summer is our EIGHTH YEAR of our Annual Summer Freedom Schools! In both Raleigh and Durham, we are hosting two week-long tracks for young freedom fighters. We are also taking up a unique opportunity to partner with the NC Environmental Justice Network to make Freedom School mobile through an intergenerational gathering in Eastern North Carolina!

    Our political education program emphasizes the power of marginalized youth who are at the intersections of race, gender, class, sexuality, and immigrant status. Through popular education workshops, teambuilding games, and discussions, we’re building the leadership skills, critical thinking, and political analysis of direct impacted youth. Students come from big cities and small towns in NC to be apart of a cohort fighting against environmental racism, the school to prison pipeline, Indigenous land reclamation, reproductive justice, homophobia, an end to school re-segregation and so much more.  We rely heavily on youth, parents, educators, volunteers, and all changemakers in our community to shape a curriculum that reflect local and historical struggles.

    Writing Across Dream Time with Alexis Pauline Gumbs

    Writing Across Dream Time with Alexis Pauline Gumbs

    Our program provides transportation support, breakfast and lunch, as well as a participant stipend to all youth who attend freedom school. We couldn’t continue to do so without the support of our community!

    Your donation goes to helping youth enact change throughout their communities by eliminating as many barriers as possible to organizing.

    Since last year, we’ve seen devastating political moves and amazing wins that felt almost impossible. In North Carolina alone, they’ve removed power from schools to keep trans students safe with HB2, rounded up migrant students in Durham County like Wildin Acosta, and given no restitution for students attacked by police in Wake County Schools, like Jasmine Darwin. Under the new era of Betsy Devos, more than ever, our goal is to build young people’s skills as leaders, resisters, and organizers. Will you join us?


    You can learn more about our Freedom School program here and check out photos of our workshops, field trips, and actions we’ve taken to build youth power. 



    Join us for a summer of learning people’s history, protest skills, and political analysis!
    The Youth Organizing Institute is a popular and political education leadership development program committed to DISMANTLING THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON-PIPELINE, ENDING RACISM & RESEGREGATION, AND MAKE SCHOOLS SAFE FOR LGBTQ YOUTH.

    For the past 7 years, our Summer Freedom School has been a space for high school students who are passionate about changing the world to convene, share stories, and learn the skills necessary for creating the world we deserve. There will be art, workshops, dancing, talent shows, field trips, and so much more!

    Raleigh Freedom School: June 20th – June 30th
    => DEADLINE: June 8th

    Durham Freedom School: July 11th – 21st
    => DEADLINE: June 10th

    Freedom School tracks are 2 weeks long: Tuesdays – Fridays. 9am-4:30pm; Friday programming may run later.


    Interested? Fill out this application! SPACE IS LIMITED. If you are accepted into the program, you will be eligible to receive a $100 stipend for completing your Freedom School track. Meals provided and transportation available.

    Been to Freedom School before and want to help shape this one and lead the new cohort? APPLY TO BE AN INTERN. There is a $500 stipend for the position.
    => INTERN DEADLINE: May 29th (all tracks)



    The Youth Organizing Institute has endorsed the Triangle Unity May Day Coalition and Triangle People’s Assembly’s call to action for May Day (International Workers Day)!

    Here’s an excerpt from that call:


    • An end raids and deportations! Stop all check-points!
    • ICE out of everywhere – Sanctuary cities, schools, neighborhoods!
    • An end to racist police murders and brutality – Police out of our neighborhoods and schools!
    • End excessive funding for police and prisons! Police accountability and community oversight!
    • $15/hr, a union and collective bargaining rights for all workers
    • An end to Islamophobia and the racist travel ban
    • Independent People’s Investigation into the Durham Co. jail.
    • An end to wars abroad! Cut funding for Pentagon and NATO to fund the people’s needs!
    • Full repeal of House Bill 2 – No compromise with hate! No to Homophobia and transphobia
    • Fully funded public jobs program and all public services! NO budget cuts!
    • An end to rape culture & violence against women and LGBTQ people
    • Environments free from all pollutants such as dumpsites, hog farms and destructive pipelines.
    • Free and appropriate healthcare including reproductive and mental healthcare for all.
    • Fully funded public schools including full-time teacher assistants, nurses and social workers as well as specialized art, music, world language and P.E. educators
    • An end to the school to prison pipeline and a funded implementation of restorative discipline practices
    • The right to build political & people’s power in the streets and at the ballot box

    We invite others to join this call!
    We call on our community to organize resistance in your workplace, school, or neighborhood and encourage a multitude of actions! In these 100 days we’ve also seen massive resistance – from the 3.5 million strong Women’s arch in January to the powerful Day Without an Immigrant/Un Dia Sin Inmigrante — and now May Day can be the next day of resistance – both in the US and around the world!
    The Youth Organizing Institute AMPLIFIES the call to students — particularly high school students — to take action on May Day: to walk out, to disrupt, to fight back against the injustices that show up in our classrooms, neighborhoods, cities, and communities.

    We know school buildings to be tremendous sites of power and resistance where students resist through queer-straight alliances, student activist clubs, and other organizing tactics the oppressive powers that be. School buildings can also be terrifying sites of violence and harm where the presence of law enforcement officials like school resource officers make students fear for their safety. We recognize that schools are not immune from the injustices of the world and that often, issues students are facing outside of the school become amplified in classrooms.

    On May Day, people across the United States and globe are taking action against racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-immigrant bigotry, islamophobia, sexism, and more. Students, workers, families, parents, and educators are going on strike for living wages and unions, healthcare, public education, housing, freedom from fear, and so much more.

    The Youth Organizing Institute encourages and supports high school students who are taking action. We are in solidarity with you and will defend you as we build the youth and student movement together across the Triangle, North Carolina, and the country.