Tuesday, July 25, 2006

SF Freedom School sizzles with intergenerational dialogue

One of this summer's best experiences so far has been my time with students, parents, teachers and veteran civil rights social justice movement leaders and organizers brought together by Kathy Emery, Sherri Sawyer, Sandra Mitchell and others from the SF Freedom School.

For the first session on JULY 8 - Intersection of Education and Civil Rights: Highlander and Organizing about 20 of us had a great time talking, watching films, eating - building the beloved community for the long haul... participants have come not just from SF and Oakland and Berkeley schools, but also from Watsonville, Concord, San Pablo, Richmond, and other areas as well.
Morning: Documentary Film: excerpts from You Got to Move (87 min, 1985, film by Lucy Massie Phenix & Veronica Selver. Myles Horton and the Highlander Research and Education Center and their influence on different protest movements.)
Guest Speaker: Civil Rights and Women's Movement veteran Chude Allen (Freedom Summer, Mississippi)Afternoon: Docudrama: Walkout (110 min, 2006, directed by Edward James Olmos. A young chicana student organizes a school boycott in protest of the discrimination of Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, 1968.)

On July 15 [i missed this session], the topic was: Setting the Stage: Segregation and the Emergence of Civil Rights Organizations
Morning: Documentary Film: Take me to Chicago (first 60 min of “The Promised Land” 1995; film by Anthony Geffen. Jim Crow laws and sharecropping make the political and economic life unbearable for blacks in the South.)Guest Speakers: Civil Rights Movement veterans Jean Wiley (SNCC 1960-67 Maryland, Alabama) and Jimmy Rogers (SNCC, 1991-67, Alabama)Afternoon: Docudrama: Freedom Song (110 min, 2000; directed by Phil Alden Robinson. Growing up in Mississippi in the 50s and beginning organizing with SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Organizing Committee.)

In last Saturday's sizzling heat we spent quality time with former SNCC staffer and Organize Training Center director Mike Miller, and longtime Chicano/Latino community leader Betita Martinez, also a former SNCC staffer from back in the day.
Topics: Local Leadership: SNCC’s concept of participatory leadership
Morning: Activity: Leadership Training with Mike Miller, ORGANIZE! Training Center
Guest Speaker: Mike Miller, ORGANIZE! Training Center (SNCC, Mississippi; Saul Alinsky, Kansas City, MO)Afternoon: Documentary Film: Freedom on My Mind (110 min, 1994; produced and directed by Connie Field and Marilyn Mulford. The story of the Mississippi Freedom Movement in the early 1960s, from voter registration efforts to Freedom Summer and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.)

Please join us for the next Saturday 10-4pm Upcoming sessions - FREE! and REALLY GREAT PEOPLE [students, teachers, parents, social justice folks] -
JULY 29, Power Structures: Institutionalized inequality and socially-structured repression of dissent
Morning: Documentary Film: Excerpts from different documentaries (60 min)Guest Speaker: Commissioner Mark Sanchez (SFUSD School Board)Afternoon: Activity: San Francisco Power Structures: How to analyze and understand them (Kathy Emery)

AUGUST 5, Nonviolence and Direct Action: Its power and its limitations
Morning: Documentary Film: A Force More Powerful (30min, 2000; produced and directed by Steve York. Disciplined and strictly nonviolent, black college students in Nashville, Tennessee, successfully desegregated the downtown lunch counters in five months, becoming a model for the entire civil rights movement.)Morning and Afternoon Guest Speaker: Civil Rights Movement veteran Bruce Hartford (CORE, SCLC 1963-67, Alabama, Mississippi). Bruce will give his workshop on the "Key Concepts of Nonviolent Direct Action."

AUGUST 12, Arts and Protest: How does art foster protest?
Morning Performance: Interactive theater performance about the women and teen activists in the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Awele (ah WAY lay) Makeba (award winning and internationally known actor, emerging playwright, storyteller, recording artist and educator)Afternoon: Documentary Film (excerpts):excerpts from We Shall Overcome (58 min, 1990; produced and directed by Jim Brown. By tracing the sources of the song, this film uncovers the diverse strands of social history which flowed together to form the Civil Rights Movement.)Guest Speakers: Civil Rights Movement veteran and song leader Wazir Peacock (SNCC, Mississippi & Alabama)

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