Freedom Dreams: NYCoRE’s 9th Annual Conference
On March 21, 2020 at The James Baldwin School
The 2020 NYCoRE Conference Freedom Dreams is an opportunity for us to explore our imaginations in every way possible: we will collectively embrace our capacities to freedom dream through struggle, love, inquiry, and practice. NYCoRE’s 9th conference call for proposals invites you to engage your dreaming to reimagine education today and share it with the NYCoRE community.
We live in a white-supremacist nation state — and that is no accident. This reality is sustained by an imagination so relentless and so toxic that it has normalized inhumanity. In this imagination, people who exist outside the boundaries of white supremacy, in turn, become property.
To escape this toxic imagination we must engage our own imaginations, as adrienne maree brown dreams:
“Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and Renisha McBride and so many others are dead because, in some white imagination, they were dangerous. And that imagination is so respected that those who kill, based on an imagined, radicalized fear of Black people, are rarely held accountable. . . Imagination has people thinking they can go from being poor to a millionaire as part of a shared American dream. Imagination turns Brown bombers into terrorists and white bombers into mentally ill victims. Imagination gives us borders, gives us superiority, gives us race as an indicator of ability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone else’s capability. I often feel I am trapped inside someone else’s imagination, and I must engage my own imagination in order to break free.” ― adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
As educators, we are afforded the opportunity to facilitate experiences that are both educational and transformational alongside — not for, but with — our students. This, in other words, is “breaking free.” To use our collective imaginations, inside the classroom, outside the classroom and through the classroom to break free, to dream and build a world that does not yet exist but that we yearn for, is to freedom dream.
Young people — particularly young people of color — engage their own imaginations to freedom dream. This gives them life in the face of neighborhoods, schools, public transportation systems, hospitals, and other institutions that continue to disenfranchise young people of color. That freedom dream is survival. It acknowledges that challenging white supremacy is not enough — we must engage our own imagination in order to break free.
Some key questions for us during this conference are:
– What might freedom dreaming in our schools look like? Sound like? Feel like?
– How would power dynamics need to shift in order to center the freedom dreams of the oppressed, marginalized and “othered”?
– What did freedom look like before colonization? What can we learn from our ancestors?
– How can we make freedom dreaming a praxis?
Such questions will strengthen our will to dream. This is our grand challenge. Join us on March 21st to freedom dream as a way of healing ourselves, our schools, and our communities while living in a world that currently feels so broken.
For NYCoRE’s 2020 conference, we are seeking proposals for workshops that speak to the theme of Freedom Dreams. We invite proposals from educators in varied settings that focus on a diverse range of topics. Relevant political critiques are welcomed, as are curricular ideas, classroom strategies, theoretical frameworks that lead to praxis, presentations on community work, and other ideas for inspiring practice. Some possible workshop themes to consider are: critical race theory, gender and sexuality in the classroom, spaces for organizing and convening with similar justice-centered organizations, Participatory Action Research (PAR) Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), youth workshops, workshops on art and identity for young people and youth, resisting the current administration, etc. We are also specifically seeking workshops that contribute to bridging the gap that often exists between educators and young people by bringing the voices of youth into workshop sessions. NYCoRE is offering the opportunity to propose an alternative workshop forum called an “Organizing Space.” An organizing space provides time for people/ groups that are organizing on shared issues (i.e. testing, social justice unionism) to come together to build solidarity and plans for actions. To be considered for an organizing space, a proposal must have at least two different groups or organizations as facilitators, a plan for session goals, and a description of how the time will be used.
We ask all submissions to review NYCoRE’s Points of Unity for alignment before submitting: http://www.nycore.org/nycore-info/points-of-unity/