Grants: 2003

*please note: descriptions date back to 2003.

From the Holler to the Hood, Whitesburg KY

From the Holler to the Hood is an organization created by young Appalachian artists and activists who formed the group in response to increasing number of prisons being constructed in central Appalachia and the ensuing cultural tensions between the prisoners (who are mostly urban and people of color) and residents of the residents (who are rural and mostly white). SEF funding will be used to support a series of live poetry exchanges that are intended to bring together the voices of regional youth and prisoners incarcerated in the area. The monthly poetry events are broadcast live on the community radio station. Through this event young people present their own work and read works sent in by prisoners. In particular, SEF’s grant will be used to facilitate the live broadcast of prisoners reading their own works by awarding funds to cover the costs of collect calls from prisoners.

The Human Rights Coalition, Philadelphia PA

The Human Rights Coalition (HRC) was founded on the premise that the current movement against the growth of the prison industrial complex has been missing a vital segment of the population in its organizing push: the families of the over the two million prisoners in this country. Several incarcerated men approached family and friends on the outside, asking them to assume leadership in creating a mechanism for family members to get involved in a movement to change the prison system in fundamental ways. HRC formed, then, to provide mutual aid and a support system to assist prisoners and prisoners’ families in coping with the stress and hardships created by having a loved one incarcerated, as well as to challenge the punitive and retributive nature of the penal system, and work to transform it into a model of rehabilitation and reintegration. The HRC will use its SEF grant to fund organizing trainings for family members of incarcerated people in Pennsylvania.

The Ellipsis Community Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Ellipsis Community Arts Center is a community-built, collectively operated creative learning center in Brooklyn, NY, offering free art classes, gallery and performance space as well as a community garden and meeting space. Ellipsis strives to be a location that challenges the alienating and oppressive structures of our society by providing a space and a community which appreciates, legitimizes, and makes visible the work of women, people of color, lesbians, gay men, and children.

Youth Radicalizing Boards/ASHAYE (Action for Social cHange And Youth Empowerment), Los Angeles, CA

ASHAYE’s mission is to create a space where young people – across race, sexual orientation, and diverse issues – can think critically about their communities and collectively transform the way they pursue social justice. ASHAYE is committed to expanding the pool of youth involved in activism and strengthening young people’s role as leaders, decision-makers and agents of change. The Youth Radicalizing Boards Project prepares youth activists (ages 15-22) for board service with LA based social change organizations, and supports youth voices within those organizations.

The Common Roots: Youth Organizer Program/PODER, San Francisco, CA

The Common Roots: Youth Organizer Program is a joint project between People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights (PODER) and the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) aimed at uniting youth from the Latino and Chinese communities in San Francisco to build grassroots community power and find commonalities between two historically racially-segregated low income communities. In Nov. 2002, the youth organizers from Common Roots were successful in helping launch a short-term campaign against a local Shell Corporation gasoline station. The station had received a permit from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to double it’s pumping capacity of fuel without adequately informing the surrounding community that the increase would raise the level of toxic emissions. The immediate area is a predominantly immigrant, low-income people of color neighborhood. Also, three elementary schools are located within 1000 feet of the station. Common Roots youth took an active role in recruiting residents to community meetings, ensured that the youth voice was heard at all the community meetings, and door knocked the neighborhood to inform residents about the issue. The youth also organized presentations to youth at the affected school and developed a “Power Map” of the campaign to present to the community as a tool for organizing a direct action against the Shell station. Shell, alarmed at having a protest at their station, was pressured to request that the BAAQMD rescind the permit. As Marcella Azucar, age15, a PODER Youth Organizer stated, “Corporations feel like they can take advantage of low income people of color communities because they think we have less power. But if we organize, like we did for the Shell Station campaign, we can protect ourselves. We have People Power in numbers. When corporations’ profits are threatened, they surrender, like Shell surrendered!”

Native Youth Movement, Chase, BC

Native Youth Movement is a movement of young Native warriors that uses education, agitation and direct action to achieve our goal of freedom and self sufficiency. Forced to live under extremely poor social conditions, as well as, faced with the constant pressure to accept the “almighty” system of white society, Native Youth Movement gives young Natives an alternative to the all too increasing symptoms of this oppression: alcohol and drug addiction, criminal behavior, assimilation, and suicides. They realized that they wouldn’t find the answers to our biggest question in any books, government rehabilitation programs, schools or counseling sessions. What they wanted answered was: “What does being Indian mean?” Native Youth Movement found that the only place that they could get this answered was on the land and through the living teachings of their ancestors held today by their Elders. NYM’s newest project is the construction of the Secwepemc Cultural Learning Centre. This unique Learning Centre will be set in a montain alpine setting virtually untouched by the outside world. The Learning Centre will be available to all Secwepemc youth that want to learn the Secwepemc culture on the land. Youth will be educated on all aspects of Secwepemc culture and understanding of Secwepemc Territory in relation to mountain settings i.e. medicine gathering, preserving berries, hunting, making baskets, smoking fish and meat, root digging.

NYM emphasizes the importance of education and tries to find the best way that we can learn. Even the ones that have excelled in public school have come to realize all the ways that public education failed them. One of the biggest ways is the “sit-down and listen” classroom. They have decided to structure the Secwepemc Cultural Learning Centre with no classrooms. All instruction will be given in a natural setting, outdoors in the fresh mountain air. Secwepemc Elders will deliver these instructions all in Secwepemc language and the sessions will ast for a minimum of two weeks at a time, and some may choose to stay longer. All participants and Elders will live at the Learning Center for the duration of the classes to ensure participants are exposed to enough language and for the overall cohesion of the group.

Native Youth Movement understands that one of the most significant changes in Native communities is the dependency rate. Native people were once self-sufficient, self-supporting people until colonizers implemented well-thought out strategies to oppress them and make them dependent on the settlers and turn blind of their fate of self-destruction. NYM sees the only way to healing the dependency syndrome that plagues their communities is to become independent and self-sufficient Nations once again.

People’s United Front, Oakland, CA

The People’s United Front is an activist organization made up of people in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are a diverse group of anti-imperialist folks who believe they “have the power to overturn this foul system.” They have done many events in the last years including: weekly Political Education classes, work to stop the legal lynching of the Carson 10, a 1st annual “Fuck the 4th of July” Day protest, a Stop Police Brutality Day (with free food and clothing for the community) in conjunction with the Donovan Jackson Justice Committee in LA, and a recent People’s Tribunal charging George Bush and the US gov’t with crimes against humanity. They are working on establishing a community resources center.

Nyabingi Liberation Council

The Nyabingi Liberation Council was formed in honor of the Nyabingi legacy which began in Kegzi, Uganda during the years of English colonialism. Queen Muhumusa, leader of the resistance movement, who wanted to create a movement that would enable people of various skills and talents to join in the struggle for self-determination while creating a space for orators, warriors, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and even musicians (namely drummers).

The NLC is an organization that comes together to self-educate, to discuss the liberation of African people and people across the world practicing their indigenous traditions, and learn about the long roots of international resistance. The main tools of the organization are voices and drums. The organization serves to provide an outlet of resistance by learning traditional chants and songs of protest and new beginnings, as well creating new songs. All of the word-sound is accompanied by Nyabingi drumming. They then encourage the youth to share their songs with others. With the traditional drumming and singing the NLC will hopefully be able to empower young people of color to uplift, expand and broaden the identity of present activist communities.

Talking Disability Coalition
Talking Disability Coalition is a group dedicated to establishing a Weekly radio program focused on disability related topics, which will be made available to public radio stations around the country.

The program will provide a forum to discuss living with chronic disabilities, including those of People Living With AIDS. The program will also highlight the contributions of people with disabilities in a variety of social arenas. The grant provided by SEF will be used along with other contributions to pay fees associated with incorporation as a non profit. Nonprofit status will allow TDC to raise the funds they need to pay for satellite broadcast time. Says coalition member Dave Walton, “The program will fill a major gap. Right now there is no program available on public radio in the US and only public radio provides the long-form format we need to really get into the issues. If we are successful the program will become a leading voice for people with disabilities!”

The Stone Center for Community, Culture and Technology, Philadelphia, PA

The Stone Center is a start-up organization which helps public-school consumers (parents and students) with school problems that require knowledge of school law and legal systems. They hold a Science of Mis-Education Class as part of the Temple University PASCEP (Pan African School for Community Education Program) and have a variety of other programs in the works. “We train parents and high school students to advocate on their own behalf. We do not practice law nor do we need to be lawyers to advocate on behalf of students in public schools.” SEF’s grant will be used for a Spring 2003 Free Conference to train and inform parents and advocates on how to better advocate on behalf of students who have social, emotional or health complaints or other conditions that prevent them from learning, how to register discrimination complaints against the School District through the Human Relations Commission, the State Board of Ed, and the Office for Civil Rights.

OUT NOW, Springfield, MA

OUT NOW, INC. is a diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning and Allied (LGBTTSQQA) youth organization ages 22 and under. This group, in Springfield, MA, is dedicated to the support, safety, understanding, acceptance, equality, and liberation for our community- at home, in schools, and throughout society. Their most recent popular education curriculum is on “how jails and heavy policing affect us as queer youth in Springfield. Some things we have brought up that leave us at risk for incarceration are: getting kicked out of our houses for coming out or running away, dropping out of school or getting kicked out because of homophobic conditions, and substance use.” With the impending construction of two new jails in western Massachusetts within the next two years, Out Now is beginning to talk about how the jail expansion will hurt them, and joining in coalition to fight against prison expansion and prison abolition. SEF’s grant will go in part to support creation of a model for other queer youth organizations wanting to do this work, and attendance at the Critical Resistance South Conference to create greater dialogue about the place of queer youth in the larger perspective of youth imprisonment and criminalization.

Friends of MOVE

“On the MOVE” is a newsletter published seasonally by Friends of MOVE (FOM), an international organization of chapters who support the MOVE Organization. FOM hosts and participates in various functions, such as demonstrations for the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal (political prisoners), helping/protecting life (i.e., animals, environment, people, women and children advocacy), and to help raise funds for MOVE and for International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Many members of FOM adhere to the belief of Natural Law, as taught by its Founder and Coordinator JOHN AFRICA. This entails leading a life of health, family, eating a natural raw food diet, and always setting an example of consistent priority for life over technology, industry, and big business.

Natural World Summit for Young Indigenous Women, New Zealand

This past November, the Maori women of Aotearoa (known by the colonizers as New Zealand), hosted the Natural World Summit for Young Indigenous Women. This week-long gathering brought together indigenous women from Aotearoa, Australia, Samoa and northern Turtle Island (Canada and the United States) to discuss and share strategies on environmental guardianship and cultural preservation. Through the generous support of the Bay Area youth organizing community, SEF and many other friends all across Turtle Island, Nancy Hernandez (Xicana, of San Francisco’s Olin) and Sammie Ardito ( Leech Lake Anishinabeg) were able to attend and rep for our communities. Much was gained from the women we encountered, particularly our beautiful and strong warrior sisters, the wahine Maori. We found so much commonality between our cultures, our experiences of oppression and our methods of resistance. We brought back mad inspiration and strategy to apply to our own decolonisation work here at home. –Mi gwetch


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