Interviews about Freechild and Social Justice

Today, I answered a pair of interviews from students studying Freechild. The first came from Sopheak Va at Arizona State University, and follows here.

1. What exactly do you do at  The Freechild Project? 
Freechild provides training, tools and technical assistance to young people and adults working together to change the world. Our trainings are for K-12 schools and nonprofit organizations, and focus on youth-led social change, youth-driven programming, youth involvement in decision-making, and adultism. Our tools include our website and more than 50 publications, including free ebooks and books for sale on Amazon.com. Our technical assistance happens online and in-person, and highlights everything mentioned so far.

2. What is The Freechild Project about and what do they bring to the community? The mission of The Freechild Project is to advocate, inform, and celebrate social change led by and with young people around the world, especially those who have been historically denied the right to participate. We do this by facilitating training and workshops, and through our website.

3. What is your motivation and how to you stay motivated doing what you do? 
I grew up as a poor, white Canadian undocumented immigrant in a low-income African American neighborhood in the Midwestern United States. While I was growing up, my family volunteered a lot throughout our community. My parents believed that we should always give back whatever we can, so we gave our time and energy. I still do that through Freechild, and I teach others

4. What are some obstacles or difficulties have you encountered while trying to raise awareness? Adultism is the most oppressive force facing young people today. This bias towards adults leads to youth discrimination everyday, and it is single-handedly destroying families, communities and the fabric of society. You can learn more about it in the book I wrote.
5. What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment(s) for the organization and personally? Our tremendous reach has served as an indication of our success. Since 2001, Freechild has partnered with more than 500 organizations to serve 1,000,000 young people and adults in 750 communities. Our trainers have taught thousands of hours of classes, and our free ebooks have been downloaded more than 10,000,000 times. Our materials are cited more than 1,500 times in a variety of publications both online and offline. However, I think the greatest accomplishment for me personally is having individual youth in struggling communities across the US reach out to us for assistance. It feels great to be of use.

The second interview comes from Michael Andrew Burkeitt from Temple University.

1. Do you think cases of social injustice are happening more frequently?

Social injustice is an inherent function of societies that place material value before human value, and because of this its been present throughout the course of humanity. As a culture, we’re learning to see social injustice, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around before. If anything, our consciousness is helping elevate our society towards eliminating injustice – but we’re still a long, long ways away.
 

2. Why is this? are we examining with much more scrutiny?Yes. What some people call “political correctness” today is a heightened awareness of social injustices on the individual level. However, many people have been aware of social injustice for a long time, whether it was Abraham Lincoln in the 1850s or Augustus in the Roman Empire. Social justice is not new.

 

3. Do you feel that policing measures and tactics are a cause of the increase? Absolutely not. Policing is merely a symptom, and not the cause. Today, the cause is American capitalism, which has spread like a virus around the world and infected societies worldwide. But even American capitalism is just the modern incarnation of the injustice machine. Anytime anyone values any THING before people, there will be injustice.

 

4. Finally, where do we go from here? How can we best prevent social injustice from occurring moving forward. We need to radically re-envision society and work towards the new world that is possible, every single one of us. That begins with young people are goes towards everyone else in the world. Everyone, everywhere, all the time needs to be involved in critically examining what currently exists, re-envisioning what can be, and creating the new world. Everyone, everywhere, all the time. Moving forward, anyone who works with any other person anywhere at anytime can begin sparking these conversations, facilitate these conversations, and participate in these conversations as often as possible for whatever reason. Only from there will we begin to move the bar of injustice that’s suffocating so many people today.

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