Why Jackson, MS? – EASJ2020 will take place in Jackson, Mississippi, a place with a rich and wondrous history. That history is fraught with oppression and combat, and it is forever branded with the blood, tears, laughter, and joy of a mighty people. In that place where the dark magic of traditional schooling and the poisoned weapon of prison and the criminal justice system have worked valiantly to relegate that people to their ‘place’ of subordination and free labor, those people have flown and are flying even amidst renewed efforts to devastate their success. EASJ2020, in Jackson, Mississippi, will ground participants in the intersections of place and history that have led to this moment in our nation’s history while creating space for deep strategy and movement-building – crucial to the demands organizers are elevating now.
Communities for Just Schools Fund and Andrus Family Fund grantee networks include more than 150 organizations who care deeply about public education and youth justice. They are organizers, teachers, advocates, and philanthropists. Collectively, we see the transformational potential of a quality education. While education alone won’t eliminate deeply entrenched social barriers like racism and poverty, it can begin to unlock some of the doors of opportunity that have previously remained barred.
Communities for Just Schools Fund, a project of the New Venture Fund, is a nationally-focused donor collaborative. CJSF brings together the resources of philanthropy with the power of grassroots organizing to ensure that all schools welcome students and nurture their full potential.
Andrus Family Fund partners with organizations who help make the connections that our most vulnerable youth desperately need to lead long and successful lives. We believe every young person has the right to more than one opportunity for a good life.
2020 conference goals
1. Being organizers, advocates, policy makers, and youth together to build relationships and alliances.
2. Bridge the gap between policymakers and organizers to create a winning strategy and concrete political agenda.
3. Create a learning space and action steps to close youth prisons, eliminate the path to incarceration, and provide tools/resources to remove police from schools.
4. Elevate the genius of youth of color by dismantling false narratives that deny them justice in schools and communities.
Building a community of practice through intersectionality. Our 2018 conference included 274 incredible grantees, speakers, and funders from education and youth justice communities who shared wisdom, methodologies, and expertise with a call to action to all work together to think through how to dismantle inequity and structural barriers in educational and life success for young people, particularly young people of color. Education Anew: Shifting Justice was not meant to be a solitary event but a point along the trajectory of existing and future work for people and organizations. This work must be done to ensure healthy, safe, and nurturing learning and developmental environments for all young people, no matter what race, gender, age, religion, place, or culture.