2012 was a great year for the Youth Organizing Institute! Young people came together to participate in popular education workshops and trainings, and infused their new skills and knowledge into community organizing focused on education, immigration, and the school-to-prison-pipeline.
In February we marched at the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street in Raleigh, and collected signatures for the boycott of Art Pope’s stores, Roses and Maxway. We held a picket at Maxway in Southeast Raleigh in which over 40 people came to support NC HEAT and the campaign to get Art Pope’s money out of the school system.
When the YWCA closed down, NC HEAT led the efforts to support the displaced workers by raising money, issuing solidarity statements, and organizing community-worker meetings. The Youth Organizing Institute organized a Spring Training Day in late March, which included a canvassing training, a political spoken word workshop, and a school to prison pipeline workshop. We also attended a Mountain Top Removal conference and participated in a rally at Progress Energy.
As we moved into the summer, we had our annual summer Youth Organizing Institute. Participants came from across the triangle to learn, laugh, and grow. We participated in workshops from the Sacrificial Poets, Spirithouse, movement elders, and past participants. The institute allowed participants to gain new knowledge of the struggles different people face while building practical organizing skills. Participants created a final project which included a spoken word performance. These new skills were put into place as the year continued.
In September NC HEAT members spent time mobilizing for pride in Durham. Students from NC HEAT marched with iNSIDEoUT to demand equality in schools for LGBTQ students.
In October NC HEAT organized a march, rally, and cultural program about the School to Prison Pipeline in coordination with Dignity in Schools national week of action against school push-out. Youth from over 4 different high schools came together to share poetry and stories and SPEAK OUT about suspensions, high-stake testing, and SRO’s in schools.
We will be ending the year with a Winter Training Day which will include workshops on performance and activism, school push-out policies, and make-your-own media. These youth organizers are excited to respond to the issues they face daily with creativity and collective action.