Racial Justice Mini-Grants
After the tragic death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others in the black community, we have been struggling to find the words to describe the outrage, devastation, and hopelessness we feel in the wake of these events. We have been examining our own operations to think about what we can do to be more of an ally to the black community, bring greater awareness to the systemic oppression that goes unnoticed every day in this country, and better support the black community with our work.
education as a tool for change
At The Changemaker Project, we believe that education is the most powerful catalyst for change, and we know that youth hold the power to build a brighter future. We galvanize young people to speak out about and act on the issues they care about in order to achieve meaningful change. One student and one project at a time, we can break down barriers to justice and create a more equitable, safe, and kind world.
Examining our own implicit biases, microaggressions, and the roots of oppression that underlie our country's history is a core component of The Changemaker Project's curriculum. We want our students to understand the ways in which they may unknowingly contribute to the oppression of blacks and other marginalized groups, gain the tools they need to stand up as an ally, and generate creative solutions to tackle these issues in their own communities.
We know that youth everywhere are outraged at the death of George Floyd and the system that allowed it to happen. Many of us are asking, "What can we do? How can we help? How can we bring about change and cultivate justice?" At The Changemaker Project we believe in the power of taking initiative-- taking action, however small, to work towards justice on an issue that you care about. What can you do in your community, in your social network, at your school-- to support the Black Lives Matter movement?
This summer, The Changemaker Project awarded mini-grants (up to $500) to groups of youth around the world taking initiative to support the Black Lives Matter movement. You can read more about their projects below. Together, we can stand up against institutional racism, police brutality, and white supremacy. Together, we can #bethechange we wish to see.
This project aims to teach Gen Z leaders how to create equitable and inclusive spaces and educate Gen Z leaders on different backgrounds and their impact on lived experience. This will primarily be done through virtual training in diversity, inclusion, cultural competency, and equity for Gen Zers. The training will comprise of large group lessons, small group discussions and activities, and individual journaling and reflection pieces. At the end of the training, youth will have a greater appreciation and understanding of diversity and inclusion topics along with resources and skills to combat inequitable practices, exclusion, and bigotry in their spaces. DICCE also seeks to create an accessible curriculum and resources to be used by students to teach other students about intersectionality, institutionalized racism, and other inequities and to train students to facilitate these discussions. This supports the Black Lives Matter by educating what is projected to be the most diverse generation ever to understand the history, systems, and biases that affect BIPOC, and also engage them in actionable ways to pursue equity.
Diversify Our Narrative is a student-led initiative that targets California school boards to expand the curriculum with diverse and anti-racist texts. This campaign was created around the belief that the public school system has power in enacting long-lasting, institutional change that will be instrumental in this fight for justice and equality. In light of recent events, we have not only observed the prominent anti-Blackness in America, but also the lack of proper education on these critical issues in our schools. This campaign believes that schools have not only the capacity, but also the obligation to educate its students about race, racism, and anti-racism in America through the right books and curriculum. Currently, the texts we teach in schools do not adequately address these prominent issues— and that is precisely what this campaign will change. By mobilizing different school boards throughout the state, we will collectively strive towards our goal of comprehensive, anti-racist education. We fully support the Black Lives Matter movement in many ways -- some of which include making sure to promote the work of Black authors as part of the California school curriculum, educating our audience on social media platforms on Black history, as well as having a sticker fundraiser where all funds will be going towards the Equal Justice Initiative.
It is a directory that lists fiction books from Black authors for those of all ages to read (ranging from children’s books to adult books). It is researched and updated weekly to ensure those who view the directory get access to the hundreds of books written by Black fiction authors as well as add new releases that come. This project aims to support the Black Lives Matter movement by creating a platform to support Black authors and their books as the publishing industry is well known to be lacking in representation in Black authors and Black fiction stories in general. With most recent data, only 5% of fiction books are written of and/ or about Black people so the directory attempts to bridge that gap and highlight the Black authors that are out there to support. The Editorial Edge brand and platform also builds off of the Directory to create an Editorial Edge Giveaway Fund which would assist Editorial Edge to buy works of Black fiction and give it away for free to those who enter the raffle in order to support those who may not have the funds right now to buy these books but want to indulge in works of fiction as a form of self-care especially during these times.
NO COPS IN ANTELOPE VALLEY SCHOOLS (NCAVS)
NCAVS is an alumni led, community backed project that aims to remove police officers from school campuses within the Antelope Valley Union High School District (AVUHSD) in California. Right now our main goal is to convince the board of trustees to break their 1.7 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and reinvest that money into mental health resources, nurses, school materials, and educational programs. Having officers on campus leads to the disproportionate criminalization of students of color, but none more so than our Black youth. The policing of schools greatly contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline, with Black students being arrested at a four times higher rate than their white peers. This criminalization also has an impact on disabled students, as Black and Latino students with disabilities make up twelve percent of school related arrests, but only three percent of the actual student population. We strongly believe that the removal of officers and the reallocation of this money will drastically limit the school-to-prison pipeline, improve mental/emotional health, and overall create a more positive environment in schools for Black students.
T-SHIRTS FOR BLM (NEW YORK, NY)
Our goal is to create and sell a t-shirt that shows support for BLM. A t-shirt is a human billboard, and when people wear our t-shirts, it will raise awareness, show solidarity, and get people talking about the injustice that black people face. We hope to help change people's minds and behavior and fulfill the promise that our country was founded on. We have already designed a t-shirt, and have pre-orders from friends, family, and neighbors. We have also already selected a vendor to print t-shirts on-demand and ship to customers. Currently, there is a lot of BLM apparel, but what separates us from them is that we are donating all of our profits to various charities. Customers get to choose which charities they want to support, therefore increasing the appeal and support for BLM.
POLICE BRUTALITY HOTLINE (IBADAN, NIGERIA)
My project will entail a campaign to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. The people in my community have been largely marginalized and have experienced extreme police brutality in different forms especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone has stayed away from school and have been at home. Many have been denied access to justice and have experienced discrimination. Prior to and during this pandemic, many of these victims who are economically disadvantaged have experienced racism, police brutality and have been deprived of food and experienced severe physical assault. In the light of this occurrences, I understand the urgent need for support for victims and I have positioned myself in a way that I am accessible to victims. I currently run a 12 hour hotline for victims where victims can reach out to me. My project would therefore beam the light on the experiences of victims of police brutality, telling their stories and finding remedies for them. This would include a distribution of 50 branded 'black lives matter' face masks for victims of police brutality, bamboo based glow bands and alarm whistles to engage the campaign. Food items (Rice and Cassava flour) would also be distributed to beneficiaries to support these victims too. The campaign would be a walk by team members in a rural area in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. I would also launch a 24 hour emergency response line and virtual support on social media pages to receive reports of police brutality from victims while working with known lawyers to help provide pro-bono legal services and pursue justice for them. A volunteer doctor will be available to treat bruises and administer medication to victims who have sustained injuries while a volunteer counsellor will be available to help walk them through the process. A lawyer would ensure the filing of a Petition on the Enforcement of Fundamental human rights for victims against the police until justice is gotten.
I have already started a group called Artists For George Floyd. We are a collective of young artists who are producing art commissions, with 100% of the proceeds going towards bail, legal, and mutual aid funds nationwide. Right now we are primarily based on the @artists4gf instagram account. We want to support the Black Lives Matter movement by raising money for Black communities in need as a result of both the protests happening right now, COVID-19 struggles, as well as just generally supporting efforts that help Black people gain more access to essential services and fight for Black rights. We additionally put a large focus on featuring and promoting art created by Black people.
MURAL FOR BLM (ANTWERP, BELGIUM)
In Antwerp City we will be creating a mural consisting of a timeline that will show the history and growth of black empowerment. Also we will be creating a website that will have explanations of black history, personal stories of black influential people, current news and other information for everyone in Belgium and across the world to read. In addition we will promote and link black companies and websites to donate.
MURAL FOR BLM (SAN DIEGO, CA)
My project idea is to create a mural of the black lives matter movement and our history in Southeast San Diego. I think it’s very important to do it in our community because as the youth we’re so overlooked yet we’re the future. Unfortunately at our school and different schools in the district our culture is overlooked and abandoned. We’re never taught anything about it whether it’s what’s going on now or what happened in the past. Only time we hear something about ourselves is when we’re on the news either being shot at or dead and gone. We’ve never truly received the appropriate respect and honor we deserve. To have been raised in southeast San Diego and to not have a clue on what my black life means is inappropriate to me and my community. No one has ever cared enough to show nor teach us so I believe it’s my turn to make this necessary change and let everyone know what our black lives mean.
The “I Matter” poetry contest was created by a 14-year old student named Isabella Hanson to allow students across the country to speak from their hearts about why Black Lives Matter . As the nation has witnessed repeated video footage and images about the lack of value for Black life in America, the I Matter contest provided an outlet for youth to process and express their thoughts, fears and hopes. The winning poets won cash prizes and their poems will be included in a book that will be distributed to schools and libraries. We hope I Matter will help cultivate the next Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes.