NYCoRE Conference 2020

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.