In the spring of 1960 Ella Baker, a worker at the YWCA, met with students at Shaw University to found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a youth organization that played a crucial role in the Civil Rights movement. 50 years later, in the spirit of SNCC’s Freedom Schools, the first Youth Organizing Institute was held at the YWCA in Raleigh in 2010.
The graduates from the first summer YOI (See Y.O.I. tab to learn more about their Summer Freedom School) founded NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens). Since our founding in July of 2010, NC
HEAT has been a powerful, youth-led force in the Triangle Area: launching wholesale boycotts against Art Pope’s convenience stores, working in coalitions to stop resegregation of Wake County Public Schools, campaigning for language access resources to be provided by public schools to non-English speaking families, holding annual marches to end the school-to-prison pipeline, and campaigning for the implementation of restorative justice practices in public schools instead of criminalizing black, brown, queer, disabled, and poor youth.