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DMF Awards $70,000 in 2010

The 2010 DMF Grantees did some amazing work!
The DMF Board met in September 2009 to consider over 80 terrific requests for funding.

As always, the prelude to our review of pending applications was a lively political discussion that focused on the global economic crisis as the de-industrialization of America continued to pit the "nouveau poor" against the "already poor" as our working class moved from low wage employment and inadequate housing to erratic employment and no housing.

The government response has been to turn poverty into a crime as the Obama administration dug in to protect the capitalist system at all cost.

Various Board members commented on where the fight back was occurring and had the best chance of succeeding. We asked who controls the streets? Where is the synergy of resistance and consciousness?

We want you our readers to know that this is the background for our review of your projects. We attempted to look at the ever sharpening focus on issues of land use and housing but continue our support of workplace organizing, educational reform, the fight for peace and the search for new sustainable economies and protection of the environment.

We awarded $70,000 to 32 different projects. This Funding cycle we started grouping our grantees according to area of work. Go to our LINKS section for a complete listing of all grantees, the amount of the grant and contact info.

Great work is being done.


SOUL

I love that SOUL offered me a space to put my work
in perspective as a new organizer who is also a part
of a larger movement. SOUL sharpened my political
analysis, and armed me with practical tools to fight
for a more just society in my daily work.
: Lucia Kimble
Lead Organizer, Causa Justa/Just Cause
SOUL alumna, Training for Trainers 2009 & Summer School 2010

This year SOUL is 15! From the very first summer school to our current work as a year-round training center, we are proud of our many years devoted to developing a new generation of leaders for our movement.

Nearly thirty-five years ago in South Africa, in June 1976, students in Soweto township rose up against the apartheid school system, beginning a new moment in the South African liberation struggle. Mobilizing tens of thousands of people, their courage and action inspired a new wave of confrontation against the regime, among people of all ages, which ultimately brought it down. We know the sparks that young people ignite; we see them everywhere. In Tunisia and Egypt decades-old dictatorships have fallen, and movements for democratic rights and dignity are sweeping the entire region.

Here in the US young people are on the front lines of fights in Arizona and elsewhere to defend immigrant communities under attack, and youth voices are among the loudest calling for educational justice in our schools and opposing budget cuts aimed directly at our communities.

Through programs like the National Youth Organizing Training Institute and SOUL Summer School, we work hard to support these emerging organizers as they step up to lead. Meanwhile, SOUL Sunday Schools, and collaborations like the recent In It to Win It Strategy School, intentionally cultivate space for the kind of multi-generational, cross-sectoral solidarity that we need to build a strong movement across many regions that wins.

In our fifteen years SOUL has trained over 6000 individuals and built new capacity in hundreds of grassroots organizations. Our alumni are organizers, educators, directors, and lead members; they are fighting for decent housing and living wage jobs, for educational equity and environmental justice. We are honored to work alongside them, and the many others who have helped build our school to build a movement. We look forward to many more years and many many many new leaders! ¡Pa'lante siempre!


POWER
(People Organized to Win Employment Rights)

My name is Che'Graftanay Mims, I'm a youth organizer with POWER (People Organized to Win Employment Rights) and high school student at Lowell High School.

I'm here in solidarity with other students, youth organizations, teachers, parents, unions and faculties to oppose the budget cuts to public education.

As a current senior, since the beginning of the year all we've been hearing is college, college and more college. My thought is, how can I hope to achieve a higher education when all I'm hearing is… more budget cuts, less teachers and less classes.

Over the years, budget cuts have made it harder and harder to get a quality education. There are many obstacles for students to obtain a higher education. First students had to struggle to obtain the classes needed to get to college, such as the A-G requirements. Now we have to fight even to get accepted into college even after we have these requirements. It's not fair that qualified students, and strong candidates, who meet the California State University requirements are being pushed away because of these budget cuts. That we know of, 40,000 students state-wide have been turned away in the last two years.

Although this year, K-12 students have been spared… our universities and community colleges are facing fee hikes. Why does this concern me? Because that fee hike will not only affect me, but it will affect thousands of incoming freshman and returning students. They are attempting to divide and conquer the universities against K-12, and by supporting them in their fight, we hope that they will return the solidarity in our fight as well.

The people most affected by the attack on public education are Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and working class white families. Our fight to defend public education is a part of the long struggle for civil rights and racial justice in this country. Knowledge is power, and our ancestors fought hard so that this generation can have access to determine our own destinies. This attack is trying to take that power out of our hands.

This fight is about the next generation who want to achieve a better education, which is why this fight is so important. This is a fight to defend public education, from kindergarten to college.­

As we hope to move forward to fight these cuts and to look towards solutions, whether through progressive taxation or other ways… It's really important that we build a unified movement. Each one of us strong in our perspective area of work, but imagine the possibilities of what we can accomplish if we work together. Like the saying goes, "There's strength in numbers!" Our strength can come through better communication and collaboration.

We want to extend a hand to students, teachers, teacher unions, parents and other supporters, to join us in the fight to make California #1 in the education system.

Whose got the power? ---We got the power!
What kind of power?---People power!!
Thank you.

 

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