One Love Global and 35+ Young People Across Michigan
Kick Off Freedom Summer 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 7, 2021
LANSING—This past week, more than 35 powerful Black young people between the ages of 11 and 24 began One Love Global’s second annual Freedom Summer Organizing School.
Freedom Summer is an 8-week summer experience led by One Love Global in partnership with Black Lives Matter Michigan that allows Black youth to engage in community organizing, ensuring that they are at the table to influence decisions affecting their lives right now. The summer revolves around three key themes: 1) Love: feeling supported and empowered; 2) Learning: gaining tools and concepts for organizing; and 3) Action: making change.
“Especially after the very distressing summer [of 2020], it felt like the time to surround myself with people who were doing the important work and calling boldly to defund and abolish the police for our collective wellbeing,” said alumni Brianna Wells reflecting on her previous experience.
Past participants were clear that young people want, need, and deserve access to curriculum on Black history and liberation movements; opportunities to interact across communities; spaces to organize and learn by doing; knowledge and information to deepen their understanding of civic duties/responsibilities, including barriers to participation; and to be recognized as experts in their own experiences. We challenge everyone to take up these priorities and make decisions with youth at the forefront.
In response to these desires and other feedback, One Love Global has made some exciting changes to this year’s program. We have welcomed an alumna back to serve in a lead facilitation role and have added new mentorship components. And, while our sessions take place mostly virtually, thanks to a generous grant from the Climate Reality Project, we are looking forward to dual field trips in Lansing and Detroit that will spotlight environmental justice. Participants will take a deep dive into the Red, Black, and Green New Deal, visit sites that represent opportunities and challenges such as community gardens and corporate polluters, as well as conduct a power analysis.
Week-to-week, participants will be able to engage guest facilitators on topics like the history of Black political organizing and healing justice, ask questions to panels of elected officials, create graphics to Get Out The Vote, design and implement their own action projects, and more.
“I felt called to step up and get involved even though I’m only 18,” said alumni Olivia Jones of last year’s program. “It leaves you feeling very liberated. It leaves you feeling very inspired.”
One Love Global is thrilled for Freedom Summer to commence. We know there are too few opportunities for Black young people to lead efforts for long-term transformative change with the investment to do so. We are committed to supporting this work year-round.
When fall begins, youth, ages 12 to high school graduation, from the Lansing and Detroit Metro Areas are invited to join our Peace & Prosperity Youth Action Movement (PPM) chapters. These groups serve as an organizing home to stay connected to one another and make change in the community year-round. In addition, adults and organizations are invited to join the My Brother’s Keeper/Girls Equity Network (MBKGEN), which convenes partners around achieving six critical milestones so that youth of color, of diverse gender identities, can reach their full potential within safe and supportive communities.
One Love Global’s mission is to transform communities so Black children experience justice, peace, healing, opportunity, and abundance. We envision global liberation and reparations where Black people experience radical love of self, community, and planet.