Accessible Forums for Social Justice

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Gender Justice, LGBTQ+

Freedom Education Project Puget Sound

FEPPS (@FreedomEdProj) / Twitter
http://fepps.org/

Making a Difference for Women and Trans People in Prison

This non-profit organization provides college classes to women and trans people who are in prison so that they can get either their associates degree or a bachelor of arts degree. This is important because it helps prevent these people from getting sent to prison again after they get out of prison and helps them get jobs once they are released.

A History and A Purpose

This organization was started in 2011 when a group at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) called the Women’s Village started inviting professors to the prison to teach college classes to the women.

Serving Women and Trans Inmates

This organization serves Women and Trans inmates in prisons around the Puget Sound area. They offer associate and bachelor degree programs to help inmates prepare for their future once they get out of the prison. So far they only work with Washington’s Corrections Center for Women and have not yet branched out to helping other groups of people in prisons with other genders or juvenile detention facilities.

Ways to Improve

This organization has a great website with a lot of information on it. They could go into more detail about their history or provide a list of specific prisons that they work in but other than that I found everything very easily.

Information Accessibility

The information on the website was very accessible with a clear board of directors and staff as well as information about how they use donations. It was also up to date with current Covid guidelines and a warning about a scam that has been using their name.

Similar Organizations

A similar organization is the Women’s Village. Women’s Village is an organization in WCCW, which I mentioned in the history section of my post.

Another similar organization is the Prison Education Foundation which provides higher education to men and women in prison. https://www.prisonedu.org/

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Uncategorized

Educational Improvement Blog:AFS-USA Jiuri Yan

  • Why is the group that you chose to research important?
    • The group that I settled on in handling the project is AFS-USA. AFS-USA is an essential organization given that it is working towards the realization of a peaceful world through providing intercultural learning experiences to students, families, schools, and communities through strategic volunteer partnership. The activities that are carried out by the group usually ensure that students acquire new interests while equally joining a society that promotes pace through bridging the gap that exists between different cultures.
  • Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?
    • The establishment of AFS-USA can be traced back to the volunteers of WWI and WWII. They came out of the wars with the aim of working towards the prevention of future conflicts through understanding and cultural exchange (“About AFS-USA | AFS-USA,” 2022). As a result, the entity has been providing frameworks for intercultural exchange and, in the process developing the global competence that is necessary to create a peaceful and just world. Through its programs, students and other stakeholders involved in the learning process are often able to recognize and respect their differences, thereby comprehending that diverse and multicultural worlds are more attractive.  
  • Whom do they serve? Programs offered?
    • AFS-USA understands that the education sector has been affected over the years and that students and teachers encounter a number of challenges that make it difficult for them to get the best out of their learning environments. The primary objective of AFS-USA is, therefore, to guarantee that learners from immigrant and minority communities feel appreciated, thereby enabling them to cope with the challenges that they have had to contend with over the years. AFS-USA works on the foundation that classrooms and schools are able to benefit through encouraging stakeholders such as students and families with the platform to engage in international exchange opportunities. The organization works with the aim of making sure that students from abroad are subjected to experiences that are favorable to them, thereby encouraging them to get the best out of their learning environments, as illustrated by Figure 1 below (“Educators | AFS-USA,” 2022). Through its programs, AFS-USA normally ascertains that students broaden their perspectives and those of the people around them. This is usually realized through developing learning environments that encourage students to learn organically from their peers, even across informal settings such as during sports activities and mealtimes. In addition, the programs that are rolled by the establishment typically enable the students to develop new abilities and skills that will allow them to think critically, be creative and solve their problems.
Figure 1: AFS-USA Learning Experience
  • What could they do better?
    • One of the areas that AFS-USA should improve on is its study abroad program. The program makes it possible for students from the USA to visit other areas of the globe in search of educational opportunities. Whereas the strategy is effective, the entity should ascertain that students visit regions that will influence them positively while further providing them with experiences that change their lives for the better.
  • Was information about the organization accessible?
    • The information that I accessed through the website on the organization is quite extensive, and this means that there were no red flags based on my understanding. The assertion is because the website contained sufficient information on partners, schools, and the student programs that it routinely rolls out. The long-term impact of the organization is that the students will be able to embrace diversity, thereby contributing to positive development in the world.
  • What other organizations are doing similar work?
    • There are several entities that are undertaking similar projects. These include the American Cultural Exchange Service and The Companion Flag. The input of the organizations will go a long way in making sure that there is diversity in the world.

References

About AFS-USA | AFS-USA. AFS-USA. (2022). Retrieved 1 February 2022, from https://www.afsusa.org/about-afs/#afs-nav-values.

Educators | AFS-USA. AFS-USA. (2022). Retrieved 1 February 2022, from https://www.afsusa.org/educators/.

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Creating Communities of Learning that Include Families, Housing Insecurity/unsheltered/homeless, Immigrant, Students of Color

FCS – Filipino Community of Seattle

Why is the group that you chose to research important?

Filipinos all throughout the United States of America are prominent enough and numerous enough to be important enough to have all the support they need, numbering around 4.2 Million Nationwide and around 100 Thousand around the Seattle Area and possibly more around the Puget Sound.

Brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization?

Artwork by Christopher Ramos

Having been around since the mid 1930s, the FCS has a long and reputable history on its back and they have served a great purpose on helping the Filipino Communities around the area especially with those that are in incredibly need like those of recent immigrants, those who have been suffering from racial strife and segregation, and simply Filipinos that are in need. Thus, having the need to band together to survive in a rather hostile environment.

From helping the elderly to nurturing filipino children, their overall mission is to safeguard the well-being of the Filipino Community in the Greater Seattle region in order to achieve as stated in their Vision: “A united, thriving and vibrant Filipinx community.”

Whom do they serve? Programs Offered?

They mainly serve Filipinos from American-born Filipinos to Immigrant Filipinos coming from all around the world.

As their goal is to cultivate and develop a vibrant Filipino community, they offer services ranging from Youth Development like Youth Programs; to Cultural and Artistic Programs; to Senior/Elderly Focused Services like Senior Lunch/Food Banks and Senior Hubs; to even Civil Rights Services regarding Gender Based Violence that supports those who have been victims and are currently victimized with advocacy groups like the Filipinx Against Violence (FA V) that increases awareness and advocacy to those who have been victimized to crimes like domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. (Source)

What could they do better?

Regarding growth as an organization, perhaps increasing outreach as weird as it is, my family which are all Filipinos have yet to really know about such organizations other than our other relatives that might be more in touch within the Filipino community around the Puget Area Region.

Furthermore, perhaps an increase of services regarding that of the youth and even that of cultural events can get some more services, however, I suppose due to the pandemic, such actions might not be as needed as it is now. With the elderly requiring more attention and support in these dire times. Which is why I believe outreach is more of a priority in regards to organizational growth and perhaps even membership.

Was information about the organization accessible? Red flags?

Yes, the information about it is incredibly accessible with both a website that is user-friendly and most of the information being readily available all within their website. Furthermore, they do also have a Facebook Page, which is what most Filipino use and is highly rated as well, as another source of information to be able to gather from.

What other organizations are doing similar work?

Regarding similar organizations, there are those like the Filipino-American Community of Puget Sound (FACPS), however, their website is rather empty and are filled with fillers like “Lorem Ipsum” throughout the website which was a big red flag in regards to activity. However, they do offer services like Scholarships to their Food Banks and with a rather remote location like Algona, WA, I believe FCS would be a better one overall. (Link to Website)

Another one is the Filipino-American National Historical Society (FANHS), arguably a better than one than that of the FACPS, focuses more on Education and History than that of Social Service; however, due to that, they have a more comprehensive program list and curriculum for Filipino Education with Formal Educational Programs like that of Filipino American Heritage Studies and Filipino American Education Institute. Overall, an organization that has a different focus but similar in essence and work, serving Filipinos in America. (Link to Website)

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Disabilities

Disability Rights Washington

A man in a wheelchair waiting for a train. Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

My mother used to be a special education aid in a classroom. The stories she’d tell to my brother and me were always full of life, laughter, and love. As a young child, I only thought of my mother as a teacher’s aid to students, mainly because that’s how she described them. I would have never thought that the students my mother loved so much would be any different than myself. In high school, I went to a middle-class school in a suburb of Sacramento. The only time I saw students with disabilities was in the cafeteria at lunchtime. They were secluded to the back of the lunchroom at a table no one else would sit at. Occasionally, a student would make a crude joke point and laugh and it hurts my heart remembering how many people giggled. 

I often hear the rhetoric of “Giving a voice to the voiceless” or “Fighting for those who can not fight for themselves.” These cliche statements are problematic for me personally because people with disabilities are not voiceless and I’m pretty sure if you told Judith Heumann that she couldn’t fight for herself she’d laugh at you. These comments may seem helpful and well-meaning, but they are just more microaggressions hurled at a group of oppressed people. Instead of making blanket statements, there are organizations right now doing the work to protect human rights for those with disabilities. 

WHY?

This group of students needs organizations like Disability Rights Washington because they have been historically oppressed. Social stratification has left them on the lower end of hierarchy and prioritizing able-bodied people since the beginning of time. Just a few years ago when the pandemic started the DRW filed the first complaint toward the state’s rationing plan because it was discriminatory against people with disabilities.  

A brief history of the educational organization that you have researched along with the purpose of the organization. 

DRW was founded by two women; Katie Dolan and Janet Taggart. These women worked together and with others to found Northwest Center which was responsible for opening a school for children with disabilities in 1965. This school served these children because they weren’t being served in the public school system. In 1971 these women amongst others helped secure and enact the nation’s first mandatory special education act.

Disability Rights Washington is a non-profit organization whose mission is, “to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights.” The organization envisions a society where everyone is equal and treated with dignity and where there are equal opportunities for all. 

Who They Serve?

They help serve those with disabilities and their families in a multitude of ways. The main resource this organization gives to the group of people they support is access to advocacy. The organization believes that all people have moral and constitutional rights and that these rights should not be invalidated based on ability.

Programs Offered? 

Disability Rights Washington offers serval programs. There is AVID which is working to preserve the rights of incarcerated people with disabilities. They have a community inclusion program that works to secure support and accommodations for meaningful community connections through their advocacy work. Another is the disability mobility initiative which is raising awareness for the need of consistent and reliable transportation for those with a disability. Their Story map of this initiative is a great tool to see the stories of those impacted by this issue.

Possible Improvements? 

The strides and work of this organization are very important and I don’t want to take away from that; however, I don’t see a lot of emphasis on younger individuals. Something I’d like to see within the space of community inclusion is advocating for more accessible communal areas such as parks. 

Site Accessibility.

The site was very accessible. They put in an immense amount of thought for example, within their videos they used a way of describing their appearance and the room they were in while introducing themselves. 

Other Organizations.

The ARC of King County started in 1936 from a group of parents fighting for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their mission is to fight for children’s rights to access housing, education, employment, and community resources.

Northwest Center People of all Abilities  was founded by four women determined to change the course of history for their children. They refused to intutionalize their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They started Northwest Center and hired teachers to develop educational programs for their children and other students. The mission is maintained by promoting growth and independence for those with disabilities.

References

Disability Rights Washington. (2020, March 16). Mission, Vision & Values. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/mission-vision-values/

Northwest Center. (n.d.). Northwest Center About. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.nwcenter.org/at-a-glance.html

The ARC of King County. (n.d.). The Arc of King County : About : Mission & Vision. Retrieved 2022, from https://arcofkingcounty.org/about/

Photo Credit

Photo by Igor Rodrigues on Unsplash

Accessible Forums for Social Justice, Curriculum that is Culturally Relevant for the 21st century, Mental Health, Trauma

Free2Luv Organization

Picture source: Free2Luv.png

Why it’s important

This organization serves to put in place different programs to help reduce the amount of bullying that goes on in the educational system. The programs that they offer are meant to inspire the youth and help create better environments for education. They are dedicated to promoting individuality, celebrating equality, and spreading kindness by standing up to bullying by utilizing arts and entertainment. 

History and Purpose

They reached over 25 million people annually through global social media campaigns and have partnered with celebrities to spread awareness and create powerful community outreach events to spread the message that love is stronger than hate and braver than bullying. They have received achievement awards for community outreach, volunteerism, and positive impact on youth. They understand the difficulty that can come with expressing themselves and want to be there whenever someone hits a speedbump. Free2Luv seeks to help students find their own voice and stand out as individuals by showing that they matter.

People they serve

Their Target demographic is under-resourced youth, teens, and young adults by providing mental health support and Educational Services. They are not limited to just the educational system and have reach-out programs that allow you to become a part of their community. Other groups that they look out for are Gay, Lesbian, and bi-sexual individuals that are often severely criticized growing up. Transgender youth are more likely to be harassed and which often leads to self-harm. Free2Luv hopes to help people build self-esteem as well as self-love to help reduce the stress of growing up.

Image source: https://cdn.greatnonprofits.org/images/uploads/organizations/Free2Luv.jpg

Programs

They offer mental health empowerment programs, EXPRESS IT!, and WE CARE packages that serve to empower under-resourced youth struggling with bullying, identity, or self-harm. Free2Luv believes in having people express themselves in many different ways, as a result, their art and music program has reached more than 35,000 under-resourced youth. They host community get-togethers in schools, community centers, and festivals. They also believe that the expression of one’s story is a way to allow youth to become more comfortable with speaking out. This is aided by hosting peer-to-peer discussions about issues they might be facing with their ADVOCACY AND STORY-SHARING program.

Red flags?

I found that the distribution of funding was difficult to determine from the nonprofit organization’s front. This can be seen as a red flag due to there not being clear goals and spendings associated with donations received. Although they might not have a clear representation of the funds, I believe that the clarity that comes with being able to donate shows that they are streamlining the ability to donate. This is an organization that needs to appeal to the public eye and it has done so wonderfully. I think that discussing the budget and where the money is used in terms of programming would benefit the credibility of the nonprofit organization. Their message is broad and in some circumstances, I believe that a more specific message could be beneficial such as focusing on only particular minority groups. This is opposed to clumping together several under-resourced groups.

Similar work

The Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University of Buffalo contributes with Free2Luv by creating presentations that seek to teach other students to not fall into the bystander effect. They want you to find the courage to stand up for those that are facing bullying.

They are paired with Build-A-Bear Foundation Literacy Program which serves to help learning students and less fortunate groups receive the literary skills needed in life.

View More
Skip to content