Black Power Saturday School
From the months of September to June, FreedomSchool – Toronto operates a Saturday school with to engage youth as educators and to engage children in learning about self-love, Black resistance, and community organizing. The program engages students in arts based projects, science and technology based projects and developing foundational literacy and numeracy skills through cooking and other forms of art. Students explore weekly themes such as: connecting with Black elders, treaties that govern our lands, Black farming, Black girl magic etc.
Throughout the year, FreedomSchool partners with local community organizations to organize community events for Black children, youth, and families. For example, we have an annual Decolonial Thanksgiving Day to bring together Black and Indigenous Community, a Transgender Day of Remembrance Youth Dinner, a Halloween Party where we dress up as Freedom Fighters, and other events. Throughout the year we provide outings for to Black theatre and arts events.
In order to build capacity for Black liberatory education in Ontario, FreedomSchool engages youth and educators in curriculum fairs in which we share ideas for teaching young people about Black resistance.
Freedom School – Toronto participates in campaigns to create systemic change in the education system. For example, we participate in campaigns for police free schools in Ontario.
Students Conferences, Staff Training and Collaborations with Community Schools
In order to build capacity for systemic change in the school system, FreedomSchool partners with local community schools to put on summer programs, conferences and art shows to engage students in learning about Global histories of Black resistance and LGBTQ Black resistance. FreedomSchool has worked with schools such as Rose Avenue Jr. Public School to develop site specific plans to address anti-Black racism in the school. These plans may include anti-Black racism training for teachers, janitors, lunchroom supervisors, parent councils etc.
In 2019, FreedomSchool – Toronto began in project in collaboration with Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance. This projects engage children and youth in learning about the ballroom scene as an example of Black LGBTQ resistance. Through the project we worked with Amika Cooper to develop an animation to teach about ballroom. We worked with artists such as Sebastiao (Twysted), Tamar (Kevin Ntoi), Slimthick Monroe, Phoxxi, and others to develop curriculum to teach young people about ballroom.
Black Liberation Comic Book Club
In 2020, Naomi Bain initiated FreedomSchool’s comic book club. The comic book club is a monthly virtual space to discuss Black comic books and create art related to comic books. 6-12 year olds discuss books such as: Blue Road: A Migration Story, Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, the Underground Abductor, Princeless, and others. 12-17 year olds discuss books such as: Yummy, Monster, Prince of Cats, March, I am Alfonzo Jones, and others.