We arrived at our sister organization, the Institute for Community Leadership on Friday the 30th of June, and we could not be more excited to embark on our civic engagement pilgrimage together! One of our organization’s key purposes is positive self-change, and an effective way to reach this is living in a collective setting. This group experience has allowed for both the improvement and reinforcement of positive attitudes and behaviors. These changes are maintained long after the pilgrimage has ended. In the last three days of our camp life, we have had four seminars and various classes, studied and practiced leadership coaching with one another, made all our own meals, gone strawberry picking, sheared Alpacas, had writing sessions, set up tents, slept out-of-doors, carried out work teams, and ended each day around the campfire.
On November 8, 2016, The Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center hosted an elections return gathering and focus group. The purpose of the event was to gather information from the community regarding the concept of a Freedom Center “Voter Education Class” to be presented on an ongoing basis. Attendees highlighted several ideas including “the need for education from the national to the local level” and “how do we get people to get active and turn out to vote”.
The focus group was moderated by Professor Alton Jelks, who proceeded to ask a series of questions to the focus group attendees and Freedom Center youth. “We live in a country where we really do have a low voter turnout. “We live in one of the oldest democracies in the world, if not the oldest, we should be way up on top in voter turnout.” “How do you all feel we can get to a place where the people exercise this democratic right”? Asked Alton Jelks.
Focus group attendees expressed a range of different views and opinions that will be evaluated and then used to create the upcoming “Voter Education Class”. Some of the answers given on Tuesday night’s group were. “We need to stay neutral when we are trying to get people to vote.” “Stress neutrality, we have to let people think for themselves… it’s so important not to pressure people with bias opinions because it may be off-putting.”
Tickets are available online: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/80th-birthday-celebration-roast-for-bobby-seale-tickets-26085544566
Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Center returns from intensive 30 day civic Voter Engagement Drive
in the Central Valley of California
OAKLAND, CA (August 4, 2016) – Youth, interns, and staff of the Martin Luther King Jr Freedom Center return from 30 days of intensive civic engagement in the Central Valley of California. In addition to voter engagement in homes and community settings with thousands of Kern County Residents, the delegates spent their summer in the study and practice of civic engagement as a means to personal transformation and social change. In addition to sleeping on gym floors, making their own meals, and leaving cell phones and electronic devices at home for a month, the delegation registered 254 citizens to vote, knocked on more than 7,000 doors, and attended 98 hours of civic engagement classes.
Dolores Huerta and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, founder of the center, spoke on the relevancy and impact of the Freedom Center youth voter engagement summer. Dr. Roy Wilson, Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, and Camila Chavez, Executive Director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, also spoke about the results of the classes and the nature of this urban-rural civic engagement collaboration. The report back included stories and lessons learned in the low-voter turnout regions of Bakersfield, Lamont, and Arvin in the Central Valley of California—from the youth delegates who made the journey.
Freedom Center leadership students will travel with the Congressional Civil Rights Pilgramage to South Carolina
March 18-20, 2016
We need your help in raising $10,500 dollars for the 2016 Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage which will take Freedom Center students on a profoundly memorable, and life transforming journey to South Carolina. The Freedom Center will be traveling to South Carolina for the purpose of understanding America’s complex racial history to redress the wounds of racism and oppression. As the only youth organization invited to attend, the Freedom Center will be the guest of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and will be hosted by the James E. Clyburn, Senator Tim Scott, Congressman John Lewis, as well as, the Faith & Politics Institute.
The pilgrimage will include sites and narratives of South Carolina’s unique role in our nation’s history as well as fresh efforts toward racial healing and equity, and changing dynamics in the politics of race. In light of the murder of nine people attending a prayer meeting in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston on June 17, 2015, the Freedom Center will learn from the family members of those killed who affirmed a radically different dynamic that inspired effective political leadership to heal a racial wound and redress a historic wrong.
The youth participating will come back ready to teach and coach others, to inspire there communities, and to engage in campaigns that further the work towards a more perfect union.
You can provide support to this trip by clicking the donate button today! We appreciate your support greatly.