STRONG IS WHAT WE MAKE EACH OTHER
Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools is a youth organizing and leadership development organization that uses participatory education and action research to build organizing and leadership skills of New Orleans youth.
Rethink's mission is to support young people in becoming thoughtful and capable leaders through the process of rethinking their experiences in their own school communities and taking action to make systemic improvements.
Our vision is both an equitably great education for all students and a future wherein generations of young leaders equipped with the necessary tools to affect systemic change are committed to lifelong community engagement.
We believe that every movement towards our mission and vision helps dismantle the social, political, and economic barriers that prevent young people from being heard and creates opportunities for youth to learn and practice leadership in ways that make a real difference to them, their schools, and New Orleans.
- • VOICE & AGENCY | expressed through practice of participatory engagement and an emphasis on speaking truth to power.
- • EQUITY | expressed through the practice of power among rather than power over.
- • RELATIONSHIPS | expressed through emphasis on community building, relational activism, non-violent communication, creative conflict resolution and restorative practices.
- • CRITICAL ANALYSIS | expressed through use of popular education models and youth participatory action research to explore the roots and the branches of all issues.
- • AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP | expressed through commitment to young people as agents of change rather than subjects to change and our understanding that those who are most deeply affected by systems of inequity must be at the forefront of developing solutions.
- • The lives and experiences of young people are important
- • Young people’s ability to deconstruct their experience and create a new narrative is important
- • Young people are experts in their own reality which means that they have the capacity to both learn and teach in ways that are transformative
- • What young people have to say is important
- • Intergenerational solidarity and collaboration is important
Rethink coordinates three flagship programs as vehicles for youth organizing and youth leadership development. All Rethink programs build off of a fundamental Rethink philosophy, culture and curriculum. At the foundation of all Rethink activities is an intentional Rethink culture that is based on the core philosophy of “power among” not “power over.” This is practiced daily through the Rethink Circle. Based on Native American and African meeting protocols and customs, the Rethink Circle invites all members, no matter their age or status, to conduct daily business by sitting face-to-face in a circle of chairs, and offering their thoughts in turn. Through this simple, yet profound process, Rethinkers learn respect, equality and the twin arts of deep listening, and articulate communication.
SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
Five-week arts based intensive that explores the deep connections between art, agency and justice that is geared towards building a collective vision for schools in New Orleans.
Youth aged 10-14 are challenged to think critically about and become engaged in the world they know best: their own school. Rethinkers build leadership skills and critical analysis through exploration of the conditions in their own school during weekly after school meetings.
RETHINK ORGANIZING COLLECTIVE
Youth aged 15-21 deepen their leadership and organizing skills through further exploration of privilege, power, and oppression and its far reaching impact on social, political, and systemic levels. Rethinkers discover new ways to act to make systemic changes.
Model of Development
All Rethink programs and activities are designed to support Rethinkers in guiding them through our integrated model of organizing and leadership development. Embedded in Rethink’s model of youth organizing and development is the commitment to organic community organizing based on the indigenous experiences of the young people in New Orleans and their connections to social and political institutions in their communities.
Rethinkers begin to understand personal & collective struggles in a larger social and political context and imagine the school/community of their dreams.
Rethinkers practice collective visioning with activist Linda Stout. In this video, by Andrew David Watson, Rethinkers explain the visioning process.
Rethinkers coherently express and vocalize the focus of the group campaign and group recommendations.
Rethinkers have been speaking out about food justice since 2008. This video, by Andrew David Watson, shows the Rethinkers holding a news conference about school food and cafeterias.
Rethinkers translate solutions into visuals, skits, games, and other mechanisms for change and develop an action or series of actions to change the situation.
The Rethink Club at Langston Hughes Academy examined the pros and cons of their school uniform policy. They created this video with students from the Placed Based Storytelling course at Tulane to share with their school leaders. After a successful meeting, school leaders agreed to make amendments to the school dress code, such as permitting female students to wear pants.
Rethinkers share the process of advocacy, organizing and leadership to invite other youth to think critically and creatively about systems change in an effort to build a coalition.
At our 2013 summer news conference, Rethinkers led solution circles to teach community members about Restorative Justice. This video, by Jason Foster, goes behind the scenes with Rethinker interviews and footage from the news conference.
Help to Support Rethink
Rethink thrives with the generous support of our communities.
Your time, talent and financial contributions are very important to us.
Your one-time or monthly donations keep Rethink running. We encourage you to give at the following levels:
$10/month (or $120/year)
Supports transportation to and from meetings for one Rethink Organizing Committee member for a semester.
$20/month (or $240/year)
Supports transportation to and from meetings for one Rethink Organizing Committee member for a year.
$50/month (or $600/year)
Supports the cost of one field trip for fifty youth during our Summer Leadership Institute.
$100 or more/month (or $1,200 or more/year)
Supports the stipend for one youth leader in the Rethink Organizing Committee as they teach other youth about undoing oppression and building collective power.
Rethink's Contact Information
1001 South Broad Street, Studio 206 New Orleans, LA 70125
Drop Us a Line
Transportation for Day of Action:
Bus pick-up schedule
VAYLA New Orleans
13235 Chef Menteur Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70129
Sojourner Truth Community Center
2200 Lafitte Ave
Corner of St. Andrew and Rousseau
Andrew H. Wilson Charter School
3617 General Pershing St
Arrive at Cafe Reconcile at 4:45
Each year, our summer leadership institute culminates with a public event organized by young people to raise awareness and consciousness around the issue they choose to pursue.
This year, our young people have chosen to design an event for other young people to come together and build the foundation of a transformative youth movement in their city.
A Call for Restorative Justice
In the summer of 2013 we took a deep look at school discipline and held a news conference about the role of restorative justice in resolving conflicts peacefully instead of using harsh punishments that push young people out of school. This documentary tells the story of our 2013 news conference in the words of the Rethinkers themselves.
Teach Me How to Love
LHA Bullying Video
The Rethink Club at Langston Hughes Academy studied the problem of bullying and disrespect this semester. We made this video to show that no single person is to blame for bullying, we all play a role in the problem and the solution.
Passing the Torch
In 2012, the Rethinkers hosted their 7th Annual Summer Program, and made recommendations to improve social, emotional, and physical wellness in schools. This year, Rethink nurtured high school students as they "passed the torch" to a new generation of young leaders.