A Message to Our Communities About Our Year of Chrysalis
We write to you, so many different communities that we are honored to build with on the path towards freedom for all, to update you on a shift in our work as a board with our beloved Executive Director, Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price. The Education for Liberation board is contending with many forms of transitions, loss, and reckoning with the ways harm happens in our community. Last summer, we experienced the deep loss of our third Executive Director and brother in the struggle, Thomas Nikundiwe. We also contended with allegations of harm by former board member, Joél-Léhi Organista. While close in time and impact, these events shook us, and in very distinct ways. By no means are these the only points of grief and harm we as a group and as individuals are holding. The intensity of those months brought us to settle our collective spirits, listen, and alter how we are working so that we can resource ourselves to confront harm in our community and to process grief in the many different ways that have been needed.
Therefore, we are intentionally in a year of Chrysalis: a time for healing, growth, and evolution so that we might emerge differently, better, with more nuanced commitments, political analyses, and praxis. We have already learned how much effort it takes to engage in a collective year of Chrysalis. This has meant altering how we work in EdLib and more broadly how we are worked in a racial capitalist society. At the same time, we are holding the tensions between what it means to still be of service to our communities and to work internally to confront centuries-long patterns of harm and dislocating grief.
During this time we are turning inward as well as creating space for your participation. Some of the work we are doing includes:
- Strengthening a number of structures and practices, including creating new financial and budget team structures
- Offering a rest and reflection series beginning August 24th
- Increasing our internal capacity by hiring a new FMFP director who will join us on September 1, 2022
- Creating structures and processes that continue to center young people in ways that are aligned with liberatory values
What does this mean for you?
It means, from an external view, we will be doing less programmatically. Free Minds Free People will take place in 2024, not 2023, as has been our biannual practice. We know this may not be easy news to hear, as so many of you are integral to the building of this conference space and home anew every two years. Also, the 2022-2023 version of Planning to Change the World is now available for order with a beautiful cover by Shira Evergreen and a moving introduction by Carla Shalaby honoring Thomas Nikundiwe. However, after much dialogue and wrestling, we will not be offering a 2023-2024 Planning to Change the World plan book during our time of Chrysalis. These shifts have and will continue to create the space for us to grieve, learn, connect, heal, strategize, and be in loving community in ways that will help us meet the path ahead with new clarity and energy.
What might this mean for our sister justice organizations?
We write to you about this decision, in part, to acknowledge and be transparent about what we all know: harm occurs within organizations committed to dismantling oppression. This is a testament both to the stronghold that oppressions have, as they live inside of us, and this is a reminder that addressing harm requires intention, work, support, vulnerability, and space. While much of our significant internal work will remain internal in order to strengthen our individual and collective skills in doing justice work in an often harmful world, we hope that in sharing this shift about the ways we are working during this year of Chrysalis, other organizations might also engage in the always available opportunity to reckon with harm in communities. We plan to share more of our process and our learning in the spirit of transparency and learning across justice organizations. We will also be offering a space guided by a grief doula for how this news may land for you, date, and time to be announced soon. For now, here is a form where you can tell us about your interest in our year of Chrysalis.
We welcome your responses and thoughts.
Job Description and Posting Announcement for Director of Conferences and Convenings
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
The Education for Liberation Network (EdLib) is a national multi-ethnoracial coalition of teachers, community activists, researchers, youth, and parents who believe a good education should teach people—particularly low-income youth and youth of color—how to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face. The network aims to help improve the practice of Education for Liberation by bringing people together to learn from each other’s experiences. The network provides a space for members to share knowledge and work together to create tools for liberatory education. By building alliances that cross the boundaries of geography, occupation, and age, the organization hopes to nurture communities of thoughtful, socially-engaged people and maximize the impact of their work. EdLib connects people to people, people to knowledge, and people to resources.
EdLib is a national network founded and primarily facilitated by folks of color, that focuses on liberatory education by connecting a spectrum of members through the honest love and work of communities. We are an empowering and welcoming community that both inspires people and helps them learn and grow in ways that support a more just society. EdLib is a sustaining network that provides opportunity and resources to increase and connect collective efforts toward building local power. Ergo, the network shifts the national conversation to one in which community organizing and collaboration are fundamental to education.
About Free Minds Free People
Free Minds, Free People is EdLib’s national conference that is organized with and brings together a multi-ethnoracial group of teachers, young people, researchers, parents, and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. We seek to develop ways of teaching and learning both in and out of school that help us build a more just society. The conference is a space in which these groups can learn from and teach each other, sharing knowledge, experience, and strategies.
The Education for Liberation Network is currently seeking a detail-oriented, innovative, and community-driven organizer to steward our signature conference, Free Minds Free People (FMFP), and connected convenings/gatherings, events, and activities. The role of the Director of Conferences and Convenings stands at the intersections of racial and educational justice, community organizing, and event planning within a radical education group that works to bring together a multi-ethnoracial, gender expansive group of people together for our collective liberation. The Director of Conferences and Convenings is aligned with EdLib’s vision and values around centering youth and youth organizing, relationship-building, and the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
You will be instrumental in coordinating our pre-conference, conference, and post-conference events, activities, and convenings/gatherings (in-person and/or virtual). The Director of Conferences and Convenings is responsible for the administrative and logistical components of EdLib’s FMFP conferences and related virtual and in-person convenings. FMFP typically convenes 800-1,500 attendees and takes place on a two-year cycle, with one year of planning followed by the conference year. The next FMFP will tentatively be in July 2023.
Reports to: Executive Director
Collaborators: Executive Director, ELN FMFP Board Committee, and the EdLib/FMFP volunteers and community
Location: Remote, with in-person events (conferences, retreats, meetings, and convenings) as organizational policy and safety allow. This position requires flexibility around evening and weekend work hours to accommodate the availability of our communities and partners.
Stewardship and Responsibilities
Lead the Free Minds, Free People conference in alignment with EdLib’s mission and vision through:
- Building intentional, responsive local relationships that center the needs and aims of the conference community
- Identify relevant community-based organizations, organizers, and resources in potential conference locations (note: the location for the 2023 conference is not yet finalized)
- Develop current and new relationships with community-based organizations (e.g. schools, universities, grassroots organizations, youth organizations, and other stakeholders) with the aim of identifying a host committee and conducting in-person and virtual programming and events
- Build and maintain deep relationships with community-based organizations and FMFP assembly organizers pre-conference, during-conference, and post-conference, including traveling for in-person meetings when necessary
- Leverage EdLib’s network to bring insights and wisdoms to FMFP space
In close coordination with the FMFP’s Planning Committee, plan all aspects of the conferences/convenings
- Work with the Executive Director, Board, and host committee to organize a planning retreat in the fall prior to FMFP
- Coordinate and build relationships with conference Planning/Coordinating Committee, conference committees, and their committee facilitators and conference volunteers. (Note: the structure is highly dependent on the conference location and partners. In the past, it has included 8-10 conference-specific committees, with ~12-15 people on the Planning/Coordinating Committee and 30-50 volunteers on-site during the conference.)
- In collaboration with the Planning/Coordinating Committee, help co-create safety and security systems and structures for FMFP rooted in EdLib’s abolitionist orientation (e.g., identifying the necessary processes and supports such as transformative and/or restorative justice practitioners to turn to for on-call support during the conference)
- Working with the Logistics Committee, play a key role in implementing conference logistics (e.g., registration, meals, room assignments, reimbursements/stipends, etc.)
- Serve as an onsite point of contact and liaison across committees, equipping FMFP volunteers and attendees with guidance and direction as needs emerge
- Ensure all committees are fulfilling all aspects and functions of the planning, responsibilities, and logistics in a timely manner and within budget
- Coordinate the planning, cross articulation, connection, and organizing within and between all committees
Support resourcing and evaluation of FMFP in service of our sustainability and ongoing learnings
- Support the Finance and Fundraising Committee with FMFP’s fundraising goals and assess the conference’s fiscal health to help maintain it as a source of EdLib’s revenue
- Coordinate the documentation and evaluation of our conferences and convenings alongside volunteers
Deepen engagement in EdLib/FMFP and actively represent the network’s work
- Support the organizing of convenings, meetings, and gatherings that emerge from FMFP – determined based on the interest of organizers/attendees as well as community and staff capacity – to ensure continuity and connection within the EdLib network
- Participate in community events on behalf of EdLib/FMFP
- Contribute to the promotion of EdLib participation in FMFP through our social media platforms
- Demonstrated commitment to, perspective, and analysis of racial equity with an intersectional lens and understanding of the educational justice landscape
- At least 5 years experience organizing, coordinating, and planning community events, with direct work experience in conference planning (including prior experience with budgets and logistics for 100+ person events)
- Minimum 5 years experience in community organizing and/or grassroots coalition-building
- Experience working with multi-generational, intergenerational, and youth spaces while supporting their leadership development
- Experience with community-centered conflict resolution practices
- Comfort with Google Suite and social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook)
- Ability to work flex time as needed for evening and weekend commitments based on the availability of our network communities and partners
- Ability to travel nationally as needed to foster relationships for the conference and convenings
- Excellent written and oral communication and engagement skills, with the ability to disseminate information to and receive information from diverse audiences.
- A passion for building & growing relationships, particularly in the field of education justice, and skilled at facilitating teams and nurturing organizational partnerships
- Approaches work with imagination and possibility – brings a sense of curiosity and openness to current and past practices and envisions new ways forward
- Ability to listen deeply and distill what’s emerging from the EdLib network to inform the conference and convenings
Additional skills a plus but not required:
- Fundraising experience (such as grant writing and soliciting individual donations)
- Language skills in Spanish, French/Creole, and/or ASL
- Experience with website, design, and email platforms like WordPress, Canva, and MailChimp
- Familiarity with transformational justice and/or restorative justice practices
- Relationships in the South, Midwest, and/or Northwest regions of the US
Job Details and How to Apply
Salary and Benefits
This is a full-time, exempt position with an annual salary of $60,000. (Please note: this salary is not negotiable. EdLib sets values-aligned salaries based on our current pay scale and budget)
EdLib has generous paid time off, including paid vacation and sick leave, holidays and office closures (collective time off for rest and recovery), paid family leave, and ample flexibility as a remote workplace. EdLib offers a retirement plan with an employer contribution, a $100 monthly stipend for cell phone/internet expenses, $500 in annual professional development funds, and with the addition of this position to its small team, will be eligible to offer health insurance (medical, dental, and vision).
This is a remote position with the anticipation of some in-person events (i.e. retreats, conferences, and convenings). COVID Notice: During the COVID-19 pandemic, this position may require the conference to be virtual or hybrid.
Anticipated start date: September 1, 2022
To apply, please upload a tailored cover letter and resume to https://bit.ly/EdLibWork. The cover letter should address the question, “What’s your vision for Free Minds, Free People, education justice, and why are you well-suited to bring it to life through this position in the Education for Liberation Network?” APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED
Equal Opportunity Employer Statement
The Education for Liberation Network (EdLib) is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to building an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, inclusive, and diverse work environment. As such, EdLib will provide equal employment opportunity to all applicants and employees without regard to race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, and unfavorable discharge from the military, or any other status protected by applicable law, as the law defines these terms. We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only candidates under consideration will be contacted.
A Statement On the Removal of Board Member Joél-Léhi Organista
The Education for Liberation Network is unwavering in our insistence that all children and youth be safe from all forms of harm. Our work remains steadfastly focused on fighting for a world in which every young person is guaranteed the right to live free of any assaults to their physical and emotional well-being. As an organization, we demand that all children — both inside and outside of schools — be supported to flourish as full human beings, to be joyful and healthy, and for young people themselves to join us in this demand on behalf of themselves and each other.
We are sitting with and processing the recent arrest of Joél-Léhi Organista, who served as a board member of the Education for Liberation Network. We are checking in with our community and holding each other as we work with what we know, and what we don’t know. Our hearts and souls are heavy for and with everyone impacted. Organizationally, Joél-Léhi has been removed from the Education for Liberation Network national board and will not be involved in the upcoming Free Minds Free People conference.
Here are some resources that can be helpful if this news raises up an experience or history of harms for you:
We will update our own network community as needed, but the Education for Liberation Network has no further statement at this time.