$25,000 / 2016
New Orleans, LA
A group of community organizers and activists founded Rethink in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in an effort to ensure that the voices of students were heard as New Orleans began to rebuild its school system. Initially, Rethink intentionally focused on middle school students, but as those students went on to high school and beyond, alumni called for Rethink to become more involved in organizing and movement building work for young people from 15-22. Over the past two years, Rethink has transformed itself into a youth organizing and leadership development organization that engages young people in systemic education reform through school and community based clubs, citywide campaigns and a summer leadership intensive. In 2015, the youth released its 5ive Point Platform, which outlines its priorities for future organizing: an end to corporatist media practices that demonize youth, especially youth of color; equitable, excellent and culturally relevant education as well as an infrastructure that supports rather than criminalizes youth of color; food justice; and accessible, affordable health care. Hazen’s grant will enable Rethink to pursue this platform. In addition, it will enable Rethink to take its political education and outreach to young people incarcerated in New Orleans’s youth detention center.