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Akilah S. Richards, Kelly Limes Taylor and I (Zakiyya Ismail) are currently planning an Earthwide gathering for those involved in unschooling, self-directed education and parallel education communities whose practice is oriented towards radical social change. This gathering, which will be on an online platform, will occur from 2 – 6 December 2020. We expect the gathering to have both large and small sessions, running across various time zones and in multiple languages.

The underlying philosophy for the gathering, first penned by coordinator Zakiyya Ismail, contains four parts:

1) Children are people

Every time we talk about human rights, children are included. Every time we talk about systems of oppression, we’re including the systemic oppression of young people in the way adults and adult controlled institutions oppress young people and deny them basic rights.

2) Unschooling / Self-Directed Education

Any practice of education that intersects with the broader society we live in, recognises that the various ways oppression is experienced by people are long-standing and vital parts of the human experience. We believe that ALL these educational practices and articulations are embedded in dismantling these systems of oppression.

3) Intersectional Unschooling

There is an unfortunate bias in the understanding of the practice of unschooling communities towards a sterile, bourgeoisie unschooling that is in some cases silent and oblivious to the social injustices in the broader society that unschooling is practiced in and in other cases upholds these injustices. We challenge whether that is a true reflection of unschooling communities, and instead believe that radical social change and decolonisation-oriented unschoolers are significant. We think this movement of unschoolers towards radical social change is bigger than most of us realise.

4) Earthwide Solidarity

We’d like to get together and share what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, the challenges we are facing and discover our points of solidarity and support.

As hosts, we are appreciating the deschooling work that comes with moving beyond the pressure of presenting a type of perfect thing “for” people, while at the same time believing in self-directedness and the power of emergent structure, and that we need to let things happen and trust that people will hold it as needed. To do this we are providing the infrastructure which looks like:

  • A dedicated space to gather/plan
  • Clarity of Intention around content and access
  • Feedback going to multiple people simultaneously and with transparency
  • Encouraging you to take ownership of the space and share your ideas within it
  • Holding space for as much non-English content as possible 

What this means for you

How would you like to participate? Would you like to host sessions, be a panel host, be part of planning a session, explore and connect with others? If so, hop onto the TRUE Mighty Networks platform (registration takes a few minutes) and start participating in whatever capacity you feel called to.

See you on the other side.

Zakiyya, Akilah and Kelly

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