Amandla

Amandla is a month long summer program that aims to educate, enrich and empower underserved students in juvenile detention centers in New Orleans. The word “Amandla” has a South African origin, meaning “power” in both the Xulu and Xhosa languages. The word was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid. In this sense, Amanda symbolizes the same thing – rallying against the forces aimed at keeping Black and Latinx people oppressed. The goal of this program is to address the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline in New Orleans through direct service and education. The program will work to educate the students on Black history and culture in hopes of inspiring them to spark a change in their lives. We want to empower them with the knowledge and tools necessary to make a positive impact in their community. Amandla will achieve these goals through the three major themes of the program: 1) Personal Narratives 2) Black Education and 3) Electives. Students will be paired with college mentors and work on creating a 5 year plan for their future. They will work on creating personal statements to effectively tell their stories, and make the transition their narratives from personal to professional. Students will also learn how to effectively express their feelings through the decompression exercises at the end of each day. Amandla wants to create a positive environment and build self- confidence and self-love within each student, which will be done by providing students with positive affirmations and motivational messages during each day of the program. This program will address the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline by educating the students already a part of the system so they are aware of the injustices they face and do not become a part of the revolving door, in and out of the system. Amandla wants participants to return to school, graduate and enroll at a post secondary education institution.

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