Well before continuing my previous post, Im excited to announce an important event taking place this March 3-4th. Over the past few months I have been a part of this inspiring project called All City which is putting together its first city wide event on the topic of popular education & liberation at the El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice. All City is a multi-racial, multi-class organization made up of youth and students from around the city, specifically from Hunter and City College. All City comes from the graffiti term 'going all city' which means getting your graffiti tag (street identity) up in all 5 buroughs throughout New York City. The concept of the project is outlined more in depth below, but for anyone interested in popular education or creating our own educational institutions on the local level please come through March 3rd & 4th for what should be the first of many 'All City Forums' here in NYC.
March 3rd and 4th
At El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice
211 S. 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
ALL CITY FORUM #1 “Education as Liberation”
The original mission of CUNY (City College of New York) was to educate “the whole people” of New York City. ALL CITY was formed by students who realized that this mission was not being pursued. Even those with access to formal higher are not exposed to education that promotes critical thinking about the psychological, historical, social, political and economic forces that control our reality or receive the resources needed to develop ourselves and communities. Most schools are designed as factories, turning out obedient cogs in the existing economic grind and power structures.
As students and organizers, we began to realize that if we wanted the whole people educated than the people must build their own educational institution. We come from various colleges, high schools and communities to make up ALL CITY. We began a program of popular education classes to teach ourselves and to cultivate our ability to learn and act collectively. In honor of the original name of CUNY, when there was no tuition, we called this program the Free Akademy.
To live up to our name of “All City” and our dream of educating the whole people, we are creating spaces in the NYC area for folks to freely express themselves and work together to change the unjust society we live in. In response to the government’s elitist and enslaving education system we have seen how community organizations have developed spaces for educating themselves. Our desire is to grow autonomous spaces like these across the city and to form them into an institution of liberated learning and coordinated action for social change. We recognize that we cannot accomplish this alone. We want to work with students and youth to form a network across the city where people, recognizing themselves as change-agents, will share and build relevant experiences, skills and knowledge and work together to transform our world. We dedicate ourselves to the building of an educational network that educates the whole people.
The inaugural forum of the “Education as Liberation” will be the jump-off session for an ongoing action between students, youth and community organizers in building an alternative educational program. Involving people in a discussion about their experiences with the education system will open the door to forming relationships and strengthening bonds that would generate solutions for and alternatives to the inadequacies of the current situation. Sharing models that we and others have developed in response to our conditions will lead to the active creation of a growing network and to the building of further skills to fill the void for a participatory education. This forum is one of many, not a one-time event that comes and goes. It is our hope to build a continuous dialogue between NYC youth and students to help us connect our work and create the vision for the world we want to see. We are not organizing a space for people to be talked at, but a one to talk to each other. We see this as part of a much larger process of creating the relationships that are necessary for a “All City” youth and student movement.