As a former history teacher and current organizer in San Francisco, my primary interest in the orginial Freedom School Curriculum is twofold:1 It demonstrates that if society is to be improved, curriculum and pedagogy must be based on the asking of questions, not the answering of them. Secondly, it proves that history is fundamental to understanding the mechanisms of repression today and to the process of empowering students to be active agents of change.
I have taken the explicit goals of the Freedom School’s Citizenship Curriculum2—asking questions to improve society and using history to understand the mechanisms of repression and liberation—as models for my own thinking about education reform today. In placing Freedom Schools within the context of the history of alternative education reform3 to promote more proactive thinking about school reform today, I have come to the following conclusions:
1. Teachers must be a part of the community in which they teach.
2. School reform must be part of a social reform movement.
3. The school community must be clear about the goals of education and must explicitly articulate and defend them at every opportunity.
Many environmental justice leaders and organizers consider the EJ Movement to be a direct descendant of civil rights struggles or the latest manifestation of the justice campaigns that peaked in the 60s and 70s. What have we learned from the successes and failures of the Civil Rights Movement? RPE asked longtime activist and EJ champion Damu Smith to offer his insights.
Carl Anthony co-founded Race, Poverty and the Environment in 1990. In this interview with RP&E editor B. Jesse Clarke, Anthony shares his reflections on some of the key milestones that led to the creation of the Journal and its role in the ever-evolving environmental justice movement. Recorded at the studios of the National Radio Project, this interview introduces Radio RP&E—Podcasts and Broadcasts from the national journal of social and environmental justice. Read an edited excerpt below or listen to the full interview.
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Jesse Clarke: Can you talk a little bit about where the environmental movement was on Earth Day 1970?
Carl Anthony: Earth Day 1970 was started, in part, as a result of the work of Rachel Carson who wrote Silent Spring in 1962. That book and similar research on the effects of DDT sparked a growing interest in the environment that went beyond protecting wildlife and open spaces. In some ways, it was paradoxical, because it became a powerful protest movement that was also distancing itself from issues of race and social justice.
Some proponents of environmentalism sought to use it to put a closure on the struggles of the 1960s and launch a new kind of consciousness about the earth and the environment, without really addressing issues of social and racial justice. But in fact, all these movements were interrelated. Many people, for innumerable reasons, were really upset with the dominant society and the way in which it was destroying both culture and places. Indeed, the new environmental movement owed something to the civil rights movement.
Next editorial convening on April 24 from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Movement Strategy Center, 436 14th St., Suite 500, Oakland. RSVP email@example.comMore than 50 people from 28 different organizations joined us for the re-launch on March 27. Our opening panel (RP&E Editor Emeritus Carl Anthony, APEN Executive Director Miya Yoshitani, CCHO co-director Fernando Marti, and Reimagine Project Director Jess Clarke) grounded us in our shared history and affirmed the need we see for this project.
“The environmental movement has introduced the concept of deep history,” Carl Anthony said. “We’re the end point of 13.7 billion years of life on this planet, and we need to begin thinking of that as our heritage,” he said. Fast-forwarding, he noted the great displacement of African Americans with the transatlantic slave trade—somewhere between 7.5 and 12 million African slaves crossed the Atlantic between 1500 and 1800, compared to around 1.5 million Europeans. Slavery, along with the genocide of Native Americans, was part of the expansion of the global economy, “this capitalism we struggle with,” the system underlying the toxic racism and regional inequities RP&E has spotlighted since its first issue 24 years ago.
March 27, 6:30 pm at the East Bay Community Foundation
Cofounder of Urban Habitat and Breakthrough Communities
Executive director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Co-director Council of Community Housing Organizations
Jess Clarke (Moderator)
We will break out into facilitated subgroups on specific topics, to shape the editorial content of the Reimagined RP&E.
Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to share why you think it's vital for movements to make media and topics you would like to address.
Individuals who would like to join our host committee are also welcome. Please visit our indiegogo page for more information.
Light refreshments will be served. The discussion will be followed by a reception to celebrate and reconnect the RP&E community.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center on Race Poverty and the Environment (CRPE), Urban Habitat (UH), Movement Strategy Center (MSC), and Making Contect; with the participation of: Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) Breakthrough Communities, California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), California for Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), Center on Race Poverty and the Environment (CRPE), Center for Story-Based Strategy (CSS), Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Data Center, Earth House Leadership Center, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ), Making Contact , Marin Grassroots, Media Alliance (MA), Movement Generation (MG), Movement Strategy Center (MSC), Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), People Organized to Demand Economic and Environmental Rights (PODER), People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Public Advocates (PA), Urban Habitat (UH), Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), and others.
If you would like to add your organization please contact us or visit our indiegogo.com page where you can endorse and contribute or email email@example.com.