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Investing in Education for Liberation


Dear Network Member,

The Education for Liberation Network believes that education means providing opportunities—particularly for low-income youth and youth of color—to understand and challenge the injustices they face. Our commitment to teach freedom feels increasingly urgent with each passing day. As you work and plan to meet the needs in your own communities and spaces, the Network is here to support that work and connect it and you to the national stage. 
In order for us to reinforce and strengthen that work, we need people to help sustain us financially.  Please consider donating to our independent organization - one not owned by a foundation, corporation, or institution.  Our independence allows our work to be driven by the priorities of grassroots educators, activists, and youth, and we are able to actively create space for local work to have national impact.   


monthly sustainer button              make a one time donation

 Be sure to check out our thank you gifts below!

Donating to the Education for Liberation Network means that you are sustaining the organization that convenes the Free Minds Free People conference, that amplifies efforts like the National Student Bill of Rights and the No History is Illegal campaign, and that produces our annual plan book for teachers, Planning to Change the World.  We connect people to people, people to knowledge, and people to resources.  None of it is possible without your support. As we begin 2017, we look forward to continuing our network's efforts to sustain, connect, and support folks in the struggle for educational justice. 

Our goal is to raise $15,000 by the end of the year. Can you help us reach that goal?

We have some great thank you gifts to express our appreciation for your support (see below to learn more). Click here to become a monthly sustainer or make a one-time donation or see below to learn how to pay by check.

A contribution to the Network goes a long way. As a large Network with lean staff and little overhead, we accomplish a lot on a very small budget. We achieve this through strategic partnerships with allies and through the hard work of Network volunteers. The effect of your contribution is multiplied because it impacts not only the Network as an organization, but the many organizations and individuals across the country that our work helps support. See below to learn more about our impact.

Please invest in the future of education for liberation by making as generous a contribution as you are able. While we have thank you gifts for certain donation amounts, no donation is too small and any contribution is greatly appreciated.

In love and struggle,


Donate to the Education for Liberation Network



Free Minds, Free People logo
1,200 people attended the 2015 
conference in Oakland

Cover 16-17

3,000 educators use the 
plan book nationwide


 More than 13,000 people directly 
touched by our work


We are more than just numbers. The network impacts people in many ways: 

"Education for Liberation has done an excellent job of gathering the stakeholders and promoting dialogue which encourages people across the United States to take back control of our means of education."
—Social worker, MI

Free Minds, Free People "was a great conference. I loved it. It was like we all had something in common and we shared our struggles and achievements. Inspiring."
—High school student, UT

"I love the dates and classroom ideas. [Planning to Change the World] is one of the most amazing resources for social justice I have ever used, and I teach 1st grade."
—Debbie, elementary school teacher

"Our youth learned so much and have begun to think critically about issues that affect them yet they didn't think about, like incarceration." 
—Youth worker, LA

"The conference gave us time to think big, which is always helpful and necessary."
—Community-based educator/organizer, IL

The plan book "understands that education is freedom and makes me feel supported in the classroom by reminding me that I'm not alone in my struggles for social justice."
Samantha, middle school teacher




For donations of $50 or more:


A Good Investment?: Philanthropy and the Marketing of Race in an Urban Public School
by Amy Brown

A Good Investment? offers a firsthand look behind the scenes of the philanthropic approach to funding public education—a process in which social change in education policy and practice is aligned with social entrepreneurship. The appearance of success, equity, or justice in education, Brown argues, might actually serve to maintain stark inequalities and inhibit democracy. Her book shows that models of corporate or philanthropic charity in education can in fact reinforce the race and class hierarchies that they purport to alleviate.

GarysBook.jpgAnother Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
by Gary Younge

On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost. This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.


StovallBook.jpgBorn Out of Struggle: Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption

Rooted in the initial struggle of community members who staged a successful hunger strike to secure a high school in their Chicago neighborhood, David Omotoso Stovall’s Born Out of Struggle focuses on his first-hand participation in the process to help design the school. Offering important lessons about how to remain accountable to communities while designing a curriculum with a social justice agenda, Stovall explores the use of critical race theory to encourage its practitioners to spend less time with abstract theories and engage more with communities that make a concerted effort to change their conditions. Stovall provides concrete examples of how to navigate the constraints of working with centralized bureaucracies in education and apply them to real-world situations.


Counting Descent
by Clint Smith 

Clint Smith’s debut poetry collection, Counting Descent, is a coming of age story that seeks to complicate our conception of lineage and tradition. Smith explores the cognitive dissonance that results from belonging to a community that unapologetically celebrates black humanity while living in a world that often renders blackness a caricature of fear. His poems move fluidly across personal and political histories, all the while reflecting on the social construction of our lived experiences. Smith brings the reader on a powerful journey forcing us to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we seek to unlearn moving forward.


Bill Ayers Book

Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto 
by Bill Ayers

In an era defined by mass incarceration, endless war, economic crisis, catastrophic environmental destruction, and a political system offering more of the same, radical social transformation has never been more urgent—or seemed more remote. A manifesto for movement-makers in extraordinary times, Demand the Impossible! urges us to imagine a world beyond what this rotten system would have us believe is possible. In critiquing the world around us, insurgent educator and activist Bill Ayers uncovers cracks in that system, raising the horizons for radical change, and envisioning strategies for building the movement we need to make a world worth living in.



Freedom is a Constant Struggle
by Angela Y. Davis

In these newly collected essays, interviews, and speeches, world-renowned activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis illuminates the connections between struggles against state violence and oppression throughout history and around the world. Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today's struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles, from the Black Freedom Movement to the South African anti-Apartheid movement. She highlights connections and analyzes today's struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. And in doing so, she reminds us that "Freedom is a constant struggle."


deBradleyFrom Charity to Equity: Race, Homelessness, & Urban Schools
by Ann Avilles de Bradley

Students experiencing homelessness often face overwhelming obstacles that limit both their access to education and their prospects for success in life. The McKinney–Vento Act (1987) was created to ensure that schools provide services that support students in unstable housing situations but, unfortunately, effective implementation of important provisions continues to be elusive. In addition, adults charged with McKinney–Vento implementation in schools voice frustration with overload and lack of support or consistent resources. Through interviews with youth experiencing homelessness, Aviles de Bradley introduces readers to their remarkable resilience under fire and their determination to thrive despite the systemic inequities they encounter daily. The book also explores how poor people of color experience and interface with social institutions—namely, schools—and uncovers important connections between homelessness and racism using a Critical Race Theory framework. Readers are challenged to see McKinney–Vento implementation not as charity but as an issue of legislated social justice.

More Than a Score

More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing
edited by Jesse Hagopian

For too long so-called education reformers, mostly billionaires, politicians, and others with little or no background in teaching, have gotten away with using standardized testing to punish our nation’s youth and educators. Now, across the country, students are walking out, parents are opting their children out, and teachers are refusing to administer these detrimental exams. In fact, the “reformers” today find themselves facing the largest revolt in US history against high-stakes, standardized testing. More Than a Score is a collection of essays, poems, speeches, and interviews—accounts of personal courage and trenchant insights—from frontline fighters who are defying the corporate education reformers, often at great personal and professional risk, and fueling a national movement to reclaim and transform public education. Along with the voices of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and grassroots education activists, the book features renowned education researchers and advocates, including Diane Ravitch, Alfie Kohn, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Karen Lewis, Carol Burris, and Mark Naison.


2016-17 cover

Planning to Change the World: A Plan Book for Social Justice Teachers 2016-2017
edited by Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Thomas Nikundiwe, and Carla Shalaby

Planning to Change the World: A Plan Book for Social Justice Teachers 2016-2017 is a plan book for educators who believe their students can and will change the world. It is designed to help teachers translate their vision of a just education into concrete classroom activities.



Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School
by Monique W. Morris

Fifteen-year-old Diamond stopped going to school the day she was expelled for lashing out at peers who constantly harassed and teased her for something everyone on the staff had missed: she was being trafficked for sex. After months on the run, she was arrested and sent to a detention center for violating a court order to attend school. Just 16 percent of female students, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first trade book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.


Radicalphabet Poster (Large Size: 23” x 36”) from the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative ( and the L is for Liberation Collective (SORRY THIS GIFT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

The language, images, and concepts we use to teach our children provide not only the building blocks for literacy, but also communicate ideas about what is noteworthy and powerful in the world around them. And while the acts of parenting, caring for, and teaching little ones are often undervalued and depoliticized, we believe they are practices rich with opportunities for orienting young people toward social justice. We envision the Radicalphabet poster as a supportive tool for educators, parents, caregivers, and other grown-ups to use as a springboard for conversations with little ones about ideas of community, resistance, power, and difference. The Radicalphabet was created in collaboration with over 26 artists and activists. Check out to view the art and learn more about the artists!




Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality
Edited by Annika Butler-Wall, Kim Cosier, Rachel Harper, Jeff Sapp, Jody Sokolower, Melissa Bollow Tempel

How do you respond when a child asks, “Can a girl turn into a boy?” What if your daughter brings home school books with sexist, racist stories? What does “queering the curriculum” look like? What’s wrong with “anti-bullying” policies? What are alternatives? Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is a collection of inspiring stories about how to integrate feminist and LGBTQ content into curriculum, make it part of a vision for social justice, and create classrooms and schools that nurture all children and their families.


KeithBook.jpgThe Pedagogy of Teacher Activism: Portraits of Four Teachers for Justice

Through the artful science of portraiture, The Pedagogy of Teacher Activism presents the stories of four teacher activists—how they are and have become social change agents—to uncover important pedagogical underpinnings of teacher activism. Embedded in their stories are moments of political clarity and consciousness, giving rise to their purpose as teacher activists. The narratives illuminate how both inner passions and those stirred by caring relationships with others motivate their work, while the intentional ways in which they attempt to disrupt power relations give shape to their approaches to teacher activism. Knowing their work will never truly be done and that the road they travel is often difficult, the teacher activists considered here persist because of the hope and possibility that their work might change the world. Like many pre-service educators or undergraduates contemplating teaching as a vocation, these teacher activists were not born ready for the work that they do. Yet by mining their biographical histories and trajectories of political development, this book illuminates the pedagogy of teacher activism that guides their work. 


This is Not a TestThis Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education
by José Vilson

From his own background as a boy growing up on the drug-tainted, community-centered projects of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, this book takes the reader on the coming-of-age story of a naïve young man struggling to mature through the first few years of his career, balancing the lows of murder, poverty, and academic failure to the highs of growth and eventual triumph. In his collection of multifaceted essays, he provokes discussion on issues of race, gentrification, and the teaching profession from the eyes of a Black-Latino educator with a mix of research and first-hand experience.





Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School

Troublemakers is a radical educator’s paradigm-shifting inquiry into the accepted, normal demands of school, as illuminated by moving portraits of four very young “problem children.” Former elementary school teacher Carla Shalaby delves into the everyday lives of these children to challenge the endless pursuit to moderate, punish, and medicate each child—instead of transforming our institutions, systems, and structures, large and small. By seeing school through the eyes of those who know firsthand what it means to be labeled a problem, educators, parents, and readers of all sorts will gain insight into how schools—often unintentionally—engender, exclude, and then ultimately try to erase trouble, along with the young people accused of making it. With empathetic, elegant prose, Troublemakers offers a deeply textured look at what student noncompliance signals about the environments we require students to adapt to in our schools—and how our typical expectations for young children undermine the pursuit of a free and just society.

When We Fight We WinWhen We Fight We Win!: 21st Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World

Longtime social activist Greg Jobin-Leeds joins forces with AgitArte, a collective of artists and organizers, to capture the stories, philosophy, tactics, and art of today’s leading social change movements. When We Fight, We Win! weaves together interviews with today’s most successful activists and artists from across the country and beyond—including Patrisse Cullors-Brignac, Bill McKibben, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Karen Lewis, Favianna Rodriguez, Rea Carey, and Gaby Pacheco, among others—with narrative recountings of strategies and campaigns alongside full-color photos. It includes a foreword by Rinku Sen and an afterword by Antonia Darder. When We Fight, We Win! will give a whole generation of readers the chance to celebrate and benefit from a remarkable decade of activism—a decade that shows just how ripe these times are for social transformation.


For donations of $75 or more:

LeighBook.jpegDecolonizing Educational Research: From Ownership to Answerability
by Leigh Patel

Decolonizing Educational Research examines the ways through which coloniality manifests in contexts of knowledge and meaning making, specifically within educational research and formal schooling. Purposefully situated beyond popular deconstructionist theory and anthropocentric perspectives, the book investigates the longstanding traditions of oppression, racism, and white supremacy that are systemically reseated and reinforced by learning and social interaction. Through these meaningful explorations into the unfixed and often interrupted narratives of culture, history, place, and identity, a bold, timely, and hopeful vision emerges to conceive of how research in secondary and higher education institutions might break free of colonial genealogies and their widespread complicities. 


GinwrightBook.jpgHope and Healing in Urban Education: How Urban Activists and Teachers are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart
by Shawn Ginwright

Hope and Healing in Urban Education proposes a new movement of healing justice to repair the damage done by the erosion of hope resulting from structural violence in urban communities. Drawing on ethnographic case studies from around the country, this book chronicles how teacher activists employ healing strategies in stressed schools and community organizations, and work to reverse negative impacts on academic achievement and civic engagement, supporting their students to become powerful civic actors. The book argues that healing a community is a form of political action, and emphasizes the need to place healing and hope at the center of our educational and political strategies. 


The Hand Book
Text and Photography by Susan Wilcox (

The Hand Book features 16 black and white photographic stories from Africa and the African Diaspora of hands working, playing and creating. It invites young readers and cultural explorers to think about the beauty and power of our hands to labor, love, express and hold memory. The Hand Book can be used as a discussion or writing prompt - in classrooms, community based organizations, at home - to inspire reflection on the ties that bind and exploration of the world's many cultures. 


For donations of $100 or more:

Special Bundle #1: For the Children? + Restorative Justice in Urban Schools (SORRY THIS GIFT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)


For the Children?: Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State
by Erica M. Meiners

“Childhood has never been available to all.” In her opening chapter of For the Children?, Erica R. Meiners stakes the claim that childhood is a racial category often unavailable to communities of color. According to Meiners, this is glaringly evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, where the differentiation between child and adult often equates to access to stark disparities. And what is constructed as child protection often does not benefit many young people or their communities. Placing the child at the heart of the targeted criminalization debate, For the Children? considers how perceptions of innocence, the safe child, and the future operate in service of the prison industrial complex.



Restorative Justice in Urban Schools: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline
by Anita Wadhwa

The school-to-prison pipeline is often the path for marginalized students, particularly black males, who are three times as likely to be suspended as White students. This volume provides an ethnographic portrait of how educators can implement restorative justice to build positive school cultures and address disciplinary problems in a more corrective and less punitive manner. Looking at the school-to-prison pipeline in a historical context, it analyzes current issues facing schools and communities and ways that restorative justice can improve behavior and academic achievement. By practicing a critical restorative justice, educators can reduce the domino effect between suspension and incarceration and foster a more inclusive school climate.

Special Bundle #2: For the Children? + Being Bad + Understanding Mass Incarceration


For the Children?: Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State
by Erica M. Meiners

“Childhood has never been available to all.” In her opening chapter of For the Children?, Erica R. Meiners stakes the claim that childhood is a racial category often unavailable to communities of color. According to Meiners, this is glaringly evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, where the differentiation between child and adult often equates to access to stark disparities. And what is constructed as child protection often does not benefit many young people or their communities. Placing the child at the heart of the targeted criminalization debate, For the Children? considers how perceptions of innocence, the safe child, and the future operate in service of the prison industrial complex.


LauraBeing Bad: My Baby Brother and the School-to-Prison Pipeline 
by Crystal T. Laura

Being Bad will change the way you think about the social and academic worlds of Black boys. In a poignant and harrowing journey from systems of education to systems of criminal justice, the author follows her brother, Chris, who has been designated a “bad kid” by his school, a “person of interest” by the police, and a “gangster” by society. Readers first meet Chris in a Chicago jail, where he is being held in connection with a string of street robberies. We then learn about Chris through insiders’ accounts that stretch across time to reveal key events preceding this tragic moment. Together, these stories explore such timely issues as the under-education of Black males, the place and importance of scapegoats in our culture, the on-the-ground reality of zero tolerance, the role of mainstream media in constructing Black masculinity, and the critical relationships between schools and prisons.


kilgoreUnderstanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time
by James Kilgore

Drawing on a growing body of academic and professional work, Understanding Mass Incarceration describes in plain English the many competing theories of criminal justice—from rehabilitation to retribution, from restorative justice to justice reinvestment. In a lively and accessible style, author James Kilgore illuminates the difference between prisons and jails, probation and parole, laying out key concepts and policies such as the War on Drugs, broken-windows policing, three-strikes sentencing, the school-to-prison pipeline, recidivism, and prison privatization. Informed by the crucial lenses of race and gender, he addresses issues typically omitted from the discussion: the rapidly increasing incarceration of women, Latinos, and transgender people; the growing imprisonment of immigrants; and the devastating impact of mass incarceration on communities.




To donate online please visit and click "Donate."

Please make checks payable to The Chicago Freedom School (the network's fiscal sponsor). Mail the check to: Thomas Nikundiwe, Education for Liberation Network, 15493 Piedmont Street, Detroit MI 48223. If you would like a gift, please be sure to indicate which one when you mail the check.


A HUGE thank you to all our friends and allies who donated thank you gifts for this fundraising campaign:

AgitArte, Bill Ayers, Amy Brown, Annika Butler-Wall, Keith Catone, Kim Cosier, Angela Davis, Greg Jobin-Leeds, Rachel Harper, Haymarket Books, James Kilgore, Justseeds Artists’ Collaborative, Crystal T. Laura, Erica Meiners, Monique W. Morris, Nation Books, Leigh Patel, Peter Lang Publishing, Rethinking Schools, Routledge Press, Jeff Sapp, Carla Shalaby, Clint Smith, Jody Sokolower, Dave Stovall, SUNY Press, Melissa Bollow Tempel, The New Press, University of Minnesota Press, Anita Wadhwa, Susan Wilcox, and Gary Younge.

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