September 12th-29th: Media Round-Up

Student News

Actions/Events: Upcoming and Recently 



  • Check out this powerful video from NCSPU’s fall conference: Stand Up, Fight Back!

Other important things!

September 1st-11th: Media Round-Up

This is YOI’s inaugural media round-up! Check in every other week to find a collection of articles, blog posts, art and media from our YOI alums/grads, community partners and allies and relevant movement updates in North Carolina, across the South and what’s inspiring us from all over the country and world–with a particular focus on the struggles youth, people of color, LGBTQ youth and working class youth are fighting!

We hope that this will be an opportunity to uplift the work we are doing as well as more proactively archiving and documenting our struggles!

From our Youth and Staff

  • Our staff member Sanyu Shares a short reflection on her recent trip to Portland, OR for a members convening with Dignity in Schools Campaign.
  • Our staff member Q wrote a piece entitled “Intersections: Young, Black and Queer” that’s been published on Nubian Message about the intersections of Blackness and Queerness. Check it out!!!

    For all people of color at N.C. State, a desk in a classroom where we’re the only brown dot on the horizon can feel like a desert island. The need for community, support, and shared understanding and experiences is something we have all felt deeply; but for queer Black folks, that need is experienced to the power of two.

  • One of our Freedom School graduates, Ajamuito, wrote a short piece on the importance of solidarity with Ferguson and Palestine! You can read it here.

    The killing of Mike Brown is nothing new to our community, in fact it happens quiet often, and unarmed people of color are being killed by the police nation-wide and nothing is changing.

Student News

Actions/Events: Upcoming and Recently 

  • Durham Solidarity Center where YOI is housed kicks off Solidarity September! Check out their newsletter (which mentions a “DING DONG! ART POPE IS GONE!” Dance Party)

Other important things!

  • Check out Hands Up United to keep up with what’s happening in Ferguson, MO!

Dignity in School Campaign Convening – Sanyu G.

On August 9 to 11th we had a small convening in Portland, Oregon with our national partners in the Dignity in School Campaign.  Together we had valuable workshops media campaigns, base building and on collecting school discipline statistic from all school districts. Most of the workshop were led by fellow DSC members from community groups, DSC staff and youth.  Aside from skill-building workshops we attended several panels in which parents and young members shared their experiences and local findings about the various way the School to Prison Pipeline is impacting their community. They also presented stories of resistance and tactics to build awareness and win policy victories.  Finally, we attended a meeting with the Portland school district administration that was organized by DSC members in the Portland Parent Union. Local Portland parents, students and the DSC member from all over the country gathered to share how we are combating the school to prison pipelines. We started the meeting by singing the Freedom Side song and talking about the work that is being done across the US to reform punitive school discipline codes both on the local and national level. Lastly, the meeting opened up to the Portland school districts administration including the superintendent, child services heads and several principals. All of which expressed dedication to working with the community to end the school to prison pipeline.


Ferguson & Palestine Solidarity by Ajamuito Dillahunt

Ajamu is one our Freedom School graduates. In the blog post below he writes about why it’s been important for him as an African-American teenager to show up in solidarity with communities in Ferguson and Palestine. 

After the killing of unarmed Mike Brown, it deeply impacted the African-American community. It brought a major uprising in Ferguson, which the town has a past of killing unarmed African-Americans and known for racism. For example, Ferguson is sixty-nine percent Black, but those in power are majority white. While the people of Ferguson were protesting against the injustices that they have been facing, the police force who is dominated by white Americans used tear-gas, rubber bullets, militarized tanks and other high class war tactics as if the people of Ferguson were criminals or dangerous.

A couple of weeks after his murder there was a solidarity rally in Raleigh, NC for our brothers and sisters in Ferguson. It was significant that I was in attendance, being that I’m a young African-American who notices the racial injustices in this country. Ever since the shooting I have heard many white Americans try to dehumanize the life of Mike Brown and the struggles of people of color across the country. The killing of Mike Brown is nothing new to our community, in fact it happens quiet often, and unarmed people of color are being killed by the police nation-wide and nothing is changing. We face racial discrimination, police brutality, mass incarceration, school-to-prison pipeline, etc. These injustices affect our community daily. I can personally say I am tired of it, fired up and refuse to take it anymore. I refuse to stand for systematic racism; I refuse to stop fighting until my people are free. Enough is enough. Until we address the issue of race in this country, until we address white privilege and white supremacy, this country will never move forward. BLACK LIVES MATTER!

I also attended a Palestine solidarity rally where a family friend pointed out to me the similar struggles of African-American and Palestinians. This increased my knowledge on how inhumane these acts were. Additionally, throughout the protesting in Ferguson and the tear-gas the community has had a great deal of support from the Palestinian people on how to overcome the effects of tear-gas. It is essential that the Black community stand with Palestine in their fight for self-determination! We both are going through similar things and “the oppressed speak the same language.”

The United States government funds billions of dollars for Israel war-crimes with our tax dollars, so not only is it an International issue but in fact it is a local issue. Over Two-Thousand Palestinians have been killed, a lot of their land being taken away from them, being restricted on things they can and cannot do. Sounds very similar to what Black people have faced in this country. The PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) has showed a great deal of support to the Black Liberation movement as well as support to overcome the oppressive apartheid South Africa government.

It is time we unite the struggles both Palestinians and African-Americans, because when the people unite, we can never be defeated! We must know who are allies are in these difficult times. It is time to end the occupation, in Palestine and here in the United States! We charge the United States and Israel with GENOCIDE!!!


YOI Freedom School Recap

Freedom School Youth in front of the statue of the A&T 4 on North Carolina A&T State University. We are joined by our friends from Beloved Community Center on our grassroots people's history tour of Greensboro

Freedom School Youth in front of the statue of the A&T 4 on North Carolina A&T State University. We are joined by our friends from Beloved Community Center on our grassroots people’s history tour of Greensboro

We want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to our community partners, friends, allies, parents and most of all: our young people who were a part of this Summer Freedom School. This is the 5th year we held our program and this year it was in commemoration of the 50th year anniversary of Freedom Summer.


YOI Freedom School Counselors

ajamuThe program was held in Raleigh, NC at Pullen Memorial Baptist church where we had community friends, adult allies and many many volunteers join us to lead workshops, provide lunches and logistical support and connect with students, giving them insight into the huge world of organizing.  Continue reading

“Youth to host Freedom School to commemorate anniversary”



If you get a chance today, grab a copy of The Triangle Tribune! We are front page! Here is an excerpt from the article quoting our YOI folks, Monse and Sanyu, who talk about the importance of Freedom Summer and why our summer program, in its 5th year, is a Freedom School!

“I had the opportunity to travel to Mississippi this past week, and it was the most emotional experience of my organizing life,” said Monserrat Alvarez who was part of the YOI’s first summer program graduating class and is now on staff. “When we talk about the history of Freedom Summer in Mississippi, we often jump to voter registration work and (the) Civil Rights Act. I cannot deny how important this work was for the nation, but 1964 Freedom Summer had other projects – Freedom Schools. These schools were operated within the community by SNCC students and community folks who risked their homes and lives to make sure their young people had an education. We often forget how underfunded schools were, and continue to be, and just how impactful Freedom Schools were in educating black students.”

Sanyu Gichie, who helped head up the local moratorium for the Summer Freedom School’s campaign, said they wanted to uplift the Freedom School legacy.

“A big pillar of this program is looking back on people’s history, but we want to emphasize to our students that each person has power,” she said. “History books often focus on the leaders of a movement, while giving little or no attention to the communities that devoted their time and made sacrifices for change. Young people have been at the fore of winning gains for gender, race, class, immigrant, ability and voting rights.  Freedom School allows youth to tap into their unknown reserves of strength and power which are vital to creating the systemic change needed for our communities.”

Our program officially starts TOMORROW! We are stoked to have the opportunity to learn, work and build with young people who are envisioning a better world.

Freedom School is a community-driven, community-supported project that is free of charge to all participants but costs us around $2000 per young person. If you would like to make a donation to help sustain this program through the years, you can do so here. Your donation is tax-deductible. 

Can’t donate right now? Consider signing up for AmazonSmile and choosing Action for Community in Raleigh (EIN#: 20-292-1055) as your organization and every time you shop, Amazon will donate .5% of the price of your purchase to us! 

School Board May 20

On May 20 NC HEAT and the Youth Organizing Institute mobilized to the Wake County School Board meeting to once again raise concerns during public comment. While the theme of the school board meeting was commemorating the 60th anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, the struggle for equitable public schools remains today. Youth and Adult ally speakers spoke about the upcoming renewal contract for the memorandum of understanding between Wake County law enforcement and WCPSS. While youth speakers talked about experiences of seeing their peers be arrested at school, others spoke to the lack of data that tracks police force and arrests in schools. Lastly the school board and everyone in attendance was invited to an upcoming community forum on May 31 that will build consensus about what role police have in schools and develop a community MOU to present at the next school board meeting.


Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Broad of Education

brn v. brd rally
May 17, 2014 marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Broad of Education.  There were rallies, marches and workshops organized across the country to not only celebrate this victory, but to highlight the ongoing struggle to provide each student with the equal opportunity to a quality education.  A YOI member, Sanyu, was fortunate enough to be among the crowd of students, teachers, parents and family members of the original plaintiffs in the Landmark case. They gathered on May 13th on the steps of the National Supreme Court to hear from people of all corners of the US including New Orleans, North Carolina, Chicago and the DC area.

This rally kicked off the week of action and set the tone for the rest of the week. The speakers highlighted the racial disparities that still exist in our community such as underfunding black and Latino schools and leaving them with very limited resources.  A few students from Chicago brought a chart that compared the resources at their predominantly black high school to that of a predominantly white school in their area.  Compared to the predominantly white schools, the black schools lacked a myriad of resources ranging from lack of Honors/AP classes and to lack of a functioning gym. In fact, their gym classes are taught online.

brn v. brd  workshopAfter the rally, we marched to the Department of Justice to deliver a report released by the Journey for Justice Alliance called Death by a Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures and Public School Sabotage, Voices from America’s Affected Communities of Color. The report illustrates the racial disparities that this exist school systems across the country.  Later that week, Sousa Middle School hosted a series of workshops about the School to Prison Pipeline, bilingual education and school closure.  Sousa was also one of the schools involved in the Brown v. Brown of Education case.  The Week of Action for the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Broad of education reminded everyone that although our nation has come a long way, the fight for equal opportunity to a quality education rages on.

Brn v. brd wall M.