$25,000 / Fall 2017
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. 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 their 5ive Point Platform, which outlines 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. Over the next year, Rethink will build a coalition of students, parents, alumni and educators at the last public school in New Orleans in an effort to keep it open and non-charter and will collect data on suspensions and pushouts to inform their campaign to reform the city’s school discipline practices.