Grants: 2002

*please note: descriptions date back to 2002.

Barrio Warriors de Atzlan, Denver, CO

The Barrio Warriors de Atzlan formed in 1992 as a way to bring Barrio Youth together for self-determination. The Barrio Warriors de Atzlan are committed to working towards Chicano power, cultural awareness and self-identity through self-determination. They feel that one of the best ways to educate Barrio youth is through teaching the indigenous ways and by developing their writing, analytical and organizing skills.

In addition to their publications — Todos Somos Raza (TSR) and Con Safos Magazine — and numerous events, the Barrio Warriors hold regular community discussions on Barrio unity, cultural pride and issues confronting Barrio youth such as police brutality, drugs, and community violence. Barrio Warriors have participated in the creation of so many valuable movements and resources in their community that we couldn’t begin to give proper credit in this small space.

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio, TX

The people at Esperanza Peace and Justice Center dream of a world where everyone has civil rights and economic justice, where the environment is cared for, where cultures are honored and communities are safe. The Esperanza Center advocates for those wounded by domination and inequality: women, people of color, lesbians and gay men, the working class and poor.

They believe in creating bridges between people by exchanging ideas, educating and empowering each other. The programming of the Esperanza Center includes: La Voz de Esperanza, a monthly news journal; ArtEscuela, a youth arts and social justice education program; MujerArtes, a Chicana/Latina women’s pottery collective; Puentes de Poder, a community school focused on anti-oppression work, alliance-building, and effecting change; and Arte Es Vida, a community dialogue and program series that empowers communities through cultural grounding.

Olin, San Francisco, CA

Olin is a grassroots youth organization, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have been organizing in working-class and low-income neighborhoods in Daly City, San Francisco, Pittsburg, and Oakland since 1993. Young people in this organization gain leadership skills and are using them to organize campaigns, events, parties, and actions.

For the past 3 summers Olin has hosted a Freedom School that uses popular education to teach high school students about ethnic studies and the historical struggles of their communities. This has lead to collaborations with other youth organizations to coordinate massive school walk-outs demanding more money for “schools not jails” and ethnic studies. Olin was a part of the statewide movement of grassroots organizing to stop California’s Proposition 21, which further criminalizes young people of color. Olin is currently holding weekly silk-screening trainings for youth as an economic development project.

Sista II Sista, Brooklyn, NY

Sista II Sista was created in 1996 by a small group of working class women of color volunteers in their early 20’s. Their goal is to promote the holistic development of their clients and to inspire them to take strong leadership roles in their local communities to bring about concrete social and political change.

Sista II Sista’s core program is the Freedom School for Young Women of Color. The Freedom School focuses on the intellectual, creative, and physical development of young women of color (ages 13-19) in Brooklyn. We are excited about this project because it intersects with all of SEF’s focus areas: youth-led activism, youth self-education, independent media and prison issues.

RICANSTRUCTION, New York, NY

The RICANSTRUCTION collective will be going to Cuba to create a punkumentary (a documentary created with punk aesthetics) on Political Prisoners and Resistance. RICANSTRUCTION is an artistic collective centered around the NYC Puerto Rican Punk band RICANSTRUCTION.

RICANSTRUCTION’s aims to spark the interest of young people in the issues surrounding Political Prisoners and Resistance, and get them involved. The punkumentary will focus on Political Prisoners who are still languishing in prisons in the US and those who have been released, as well as focusing on Resisters that are currently living in exile in Cuba.

Women’s Institute for Self-Empowerment, Philadelphia, PA

The all-volunteer Women’s Institute for Self-Empowerment (WISE)/The WISE Women’s Center offers financially affordable, holistic health care services and education for the West Philadelphia neighborhood. Along with the incredible health education work, Wise Women’s Center administers a community-based children’s gardening program, offers space for skill sharing and meetings, and runs a library.

Youth Organizing Communities, Los Angeles, CA

Youth Organizing Communities is a network of California youth who for the last two years have been forging a movement for human rights that seeks to reverse the economic and political trade-off between prisons and schools. YOC organizers fight for “schools not jails,” educational and environmental justice, more youth programs, and ethnic studies classes.

Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents, Blue Hill, ME

Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents (VHJR) are an all-volunteer organization that started their work less than a year ago. With only volunteers’ contributions, the organization coordinates more than ten weekly workshops at a county prison in Maine. Guided by an advisory board of former prisoners, thirty volunteers (mostly senior citizens) educate themselves about prison issues while supporting prisoner self-education and building community across prison walls.

They are pleased to report that since their inception the local newspaper has printed an editorial, letter, or feature about imprisonment at least once every week. VHJR will use its grant from SEF to buy curriculum materials, make photocopies, and pay phone bills.

Youth Action Coalition, Amherst, MA

Says staff member Sienna Baskin: “I work for Youth Action Coalition, facilitating a group called Get Up Get Down — which is a crazy assortment of young folks; drop-outs, class presidents, punk-rockers, hiphoppers, all sorts. The uniting factor is their activism, their creative and motivated approach to creating and changing culture. So our latest project is to make a little free skool out here in Western Mass — afterschool workshops/discussions/classes or whatever you want to call them, led by us and by others we bring in.”

Topics include body image, racial identity, the prison-industrial complex, and helping friends deal with abuse. Workshops are free and open to the public.

Purple Thistle Project, Vancouver, BC

Purple Thistle Project is a project-in-the-works by a collective group including seven 15-18 yr olds and Matt Hern, author of “The Deschooling Reader.” They’re creating a deschooling community center, to be open 5 days a week.

“It’ll be open to kids, whether they are in school or not, and will be focused around a deschooling, Do It Yourself, community ethic. We see it as a community centre, work space, art gallery, coffee joint and office,” says Hern.

Ongoing projects include: creating a youth supplement to CRANK magazine, creating space for new zines and publications by youth, camping trips, and public art projects in their neighborhood. They’ve found a space and are getting close to having the funds needed to open it.

Ha’iku Tea Party, Ha’iku, HI

The Ha’iku Tea Party of Ha’iku, HI was formed in the spirit of a direct action approach to creating change in the world in general and in the Maui community in particular. The Ha’iku Tea Party meets monthly, and every meeting closes with a dance party.

“If shipping from the US mainland were to be cut, the food supply of Hawai’i would run out in three days. Tourism is the backbone of the economy, and yet also responsible for the destruction and exploitation of traditional Hawai’ian culture (think coconut bras and plastic grass skirts). Hotel empires eat up Hawai’ian land, and the addition of McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Borders, and other corporate chains continues to deplete the island of its true Aloha spirit. The aim of the Self-Sustaining Community group is to find ways in which Maui can cease depending on America and its culture for sustenance. This can include building a community garden/orchard from which we can all eat, as well as the implementation of a barter/service exchange system as a means of relying less on dollar bills.”

HTP is an out-of-pocket group, with over 80 members and income from a donations can. They host independent media events to bring folks together, and have created a list of eight focus areas: 1) Making Maui a Self-Sustaining Community, 2) Sovereignty and the Non-Native Question, 3) Organizing for Peace, 4) Environment, 5) Democracy, Freedom, and Autonomy, 6) Truth and Lies in the Media/Alternative Media Sources, 7) Ways of Activism, 8) Floating Hub of Information (outreach and communications committee).

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