The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF)
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"The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me...This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."

Frederick Douglass spoke these words on July 5, 1852 before an audience of white abolitionists. Douglass demanded an end to the institution of slavery and levied this charge: "for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival." Our nation has failed to live up to the values of its birth - independence, freedom, and liberty. Today, communities of color, including immigrant communities of color, face a harsh reality, fearing for their safety even in their own neighborhoods and places of worship, targeted for how they look or what documents they possess.

Young people of color live in fear, any hopes they may have had for a more perfect union as pledged by America's founding fathers denied. Many immigrant youth are afraid to go to school because they witness immigrants of color being targeted for detention and deportation in their communities and schools and young people of color being pushed out of school due to harsh school discipline and policing in schools.

A growing number of school districts - from Oakland to Denver and Chicago to Miami - have declared themselves 'sanctuary' schools to welcome students of all backgrounds regardless of immigration status and protect them from immigration enforcement officers who have recently increased their surveillance tactics targeting undocumented immigrants, almost exclusively people of color, for detention and deportation. This uptick includes increased ICE activity on or near school campuses.

Read the full piece at (about a 4-minute read).

Allison Brown
Executive Director
Communities for Just Schools Fund 
In This Issue
SchoolHouse: Equity in Education
Community Partner Updates
Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) has undergone staff changes. Youth leader and Black Men Rising (BMR) core member Theodore Thompson has been promoted to Program Assistant. BMR core members Antonio Travis, Derek Brumfield, Farrell Sampier, Maria Victoire and Verna Carr have been promoted as well to Program Director, Associate Director, Statewide Organizer, Community Organizer and Parent Advocate, respectively. FFLIC will also celebrate its 16-year anniversary on the weekend of September 9 - 10, 2017 and encourages all interested in attending to Save-the-Date on their calendars.
Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) secured a big win in Illinois through the efforts of trained parent leaders across the state. The Illinois Early Learning Council passed COFI's parent leaders' recommendations for a new Family Engagement Framework, which includes the creation of a Family Advisory Committee of parent leaders to provide authentic voice, input and feedback in early learning policymaking.  These recommendations increase parent representation on the Illinois Early Learning Council to 20% of its members and call for a change in the mission of the Illinois Early Learning Council to embrace parent engagement and voice.

In  partnership with the West Dayton Youth Task Force and the  Dignity in Schools Campaign Racial Justice NOW!  recently completed the first year of their campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools. The campaign ended with a webinar -  Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Culturally Responsive Schools: What Teachers, Administrators, and Schools Need to Know . Additionally, the campaign successfully organized parents and community members to modify the curriculum in Dayton Public Schools to add two books to the system's mandatory reading list. Beginning in the 2017-18 school year, all high school students will read  Up From Slavery  by Booker T. Washington and  Mis-education of the Negro  by Carter G. Woodson and will be guided by teachers who have received professional development in these subject areas.
Funders for Justice hosted their 2nd National Convening on June 8, centered on Decriminalization and Community-Led Safety & Justice Models for Communities of Color. The convening brought together funders and organizers to brainstorm what models for creative, transformative solutions for community-based justice and safety may exist. Other ideas discussed included how restorative justice can transform communities and block the school-to-prison pipeline. CJSF is especially grateful that Anthony Newby from Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and Jenny Arwade from Communities United were able to join the fruitful discussion.

BreakOUT! and the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice (NOWCRJ) released a Vice to ICE Toolkit, a resource on organizing across intersections of identities, including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, country of origin, and language.
The Toolkit includes contributions from Southerners on New Ground, the Southeast Immigrant Rights Network, and other organizations, while drawing inspiration from years of organizing in New Orleans. It provides icebreakers groups can use to break down language barriers and workshop curriculum for political education that can be used with different immigrant and/or LGBTQ bases.
Alliance for Boys and Men of Color hosted a webinar on Thursday, June 1, to explore policy strategies to keep students safe in schools.  The rise of immigration enforcement action in sensitive locations, such as schools, demands a policy response that ensures teachers and administrators take the steps necessary to safeguard students as well as private information about them and their families. Unfair school discipline policies and practices continue to undermine education equity and positive educational experiences for all youth.
The webinar, Protecting the Safety and Sanctity of Youth in Schools, sought to address these issues through policy and systemic change at local and state levels. Featured speakers included Jordan Thierry from PolicyLink, Laura Cervantes, from Advancing Justice LA, Daniel Kim from Padres Y Jovenes Unidos and Ruth Cusick from Public Counsel. If you were unable to join the webinar, we invite you  to check out and share these slides and the session's recording.
Place-based Initiative Updates
Critical Exposure hosted an annual exhibit of youth photography for social justice on June 1st. The event, Can't Corrupt This Image, served as a platform for youth to share their talents, voices and perspectives for social justice and social change.  There is no better recap of the event and its significance than the award acceptance remarks from Critical Exposure youth member, Oscar: 
"Before joining this program, I felt so small and fragile, and I felt like my voice did not matter. I was a small fish in a big pond. But after being an intern at Critical Exposure for 2 months, I have never felt so strong and positive about my voice. Through CE, I finally understand how deep and powerful photos can truly be, and I no longer feel like a small fish in a big pond. I am greatly thankful for the opportunities that CE has provided for me, as well as the change it has brought into my life. I want to say thank you one hundred more times."
Teaching for Change launched this year to identify and promote the best multicultural and social justice children's books. Critical to their mission, Teaching for Change is challenging young people to read as many books as they can over the summer - especially multicultural and social justice books that encourage them to question, challenge, and re-think the world beyond the headlines. We at CJSF encourage all youth as well as their families and friends to engage in Teaching for Change's challenge this summer! 

Teaching for Change also hosted a year-end celebration on June 11 to honor twenty DC area teachers who embarked on a journey to write about their work through a social justice lens in the fall of 2016. They will also host a national Summer Institute on Race, Equity & Family Engagement July 17-21 in Washington, DC and are encouraging those interested to apply.
In Philanthropy

CJSF's quarterly Donor Advisory Group was held in Boston in June. We met at the Hyams Foundation in Boston on June 12th and at Boston-area Youth Organizing Project on June 13th. Our donors and grantee partners worked alongside each other and with staff to finalize CJSF's strategic plan for 2017-2020.We are grateful to our partnersPrYSM, Providence Student Union, BYOP, and YOB/BSAC for helping to shape very fruitful conversations And, special thanks to the Hyams Foundation and BYOP for hosting such rich exchanges of ideas spanning our two days in Boston.


On June 7, more than 125 funders came together for the second annual Grantmakers for Girls of Color convening - an urgent conversation with, by, and about girls of color and their safety, at home, in their communities, and within systems. We heard from girls of color most impacted by interpersonal and state violence, discussed how movements are responding, and explored how funders can best support efforts working to create safety. The discussion could not have been more timely in light of the recent release of the Georgetown Center on Inequality and Poverty report,  Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls' Childhood.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education, Nike N7 Fund and Native Americans in Philanthropy hosted Healthy Living and Learning in Native Communities on June 15-16 at the Center for Native American Youth housed in the Aspen Institute in DC.  The primary purpose of the meeting was to strengthen relationships between national Native American leaders and Native American champions in philanthropy, to increase whole-child philanthropic support and investments towards Native American youth wellness, education and resiliency.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education also hosted Building ESSA Plans for Equity and Opportunity, a webinar to build guidance on what makes an effective Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability plan. The conversation was informed by policy and community organizing experts - CJSF's very own Jaime Koppel, Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships; Tanya Clay House, Senior Strategist for the Schott Foundation; Beth Glenn, Director of the Education Justice Network; and Marilyn Young, Education Director for Southern Echo.

Book Club Corner
In this provocative analysis, leading legal scholar and social critic Dorothy Roberts argues that America is once again at the brink of a virulent outbreak of classifying population by race. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when America claims to be post-racial