Our program model is driven by the belief that young people deserve access to learning spaces that are liberatory, co-created, and experiential by design.
Culturally Relevant Curriculum
Our literacy based curriculum is
co-designed by top-tier educators and highly motivated students, with the explicit purpose of affirming young people’s identity & advancing liberation.
After-School + In-Class Enrichment
Seasoned educators lead sessions after-school or in-class at partner school sites and virtually. We also train other educators to teach our curriculum at their schools.
Student cohorts participate in local, national, and international educational experiences aligned to curriculum goals.
We believe learning spaces for young people should be:
Critique and challenge dominant narratives and create counter-narratives that are aligned to personal beliefs.
Provide experiences aimed at affirming Black identity through experiential learning and centering student voice in school policy design.
Partner with schools and students to co-design liberatory learning experiences that center student voice, identity affirmation, and racial equity.
Engage in academic content and experiences that are aimed at social impact and provide multiple paths to display learning.
Liberation Journeys has made a significant impact through its pilot programs conducted over 12 months across two charter school networks in Chicago. These networks serve more than 19,000 students attending schools in under-resourced communities. Our pilot efforts focused on two schools—a middle and a high school—that primarily serve Black students.
We engaged 100 students, four educators, and 10 parents in a variety of initiatives, including over 20 liberatory design workshops, identity-affirming SEL curricula, lunch and learn series, and local and national experiential learning trips. The data collected from our pilot programs revealed several critical insights about our community:
Students are acutely aware of and disinterested in monolithic narratives of Black culture and history. They yearn to explore deeper layers of their Black identity.
Students often lack a sense of belonging at school, feeling disconnected from their learning and positioned in opposition to teachers and administrators, rather than as active participants in their education.
Educators recognize the moral imperative of implementing anti-racist school policies but lack the necessary skills and support to effectively dismantle and rebuild school culture while addressing unique post pandemic challenges (e.g., learning gaps, high turnover, staff culture issues).
Educators express a desire to center student voices in their efforts to reimagine school but need new processes for engaging and collaborating with students.
The pilot programs were met with resounding enthusiasm: 100% of participants expressed interest in future programming, and 97% felt that the experience increased their sense of belonging at school, affirmed their identity, and empowered them to influence school culture. This success story demonstrates the significant potential of Liberation Journeys to transform education, making a compelling case for continued investment in our programs.