NYC Teen Leadership Program

Freesia’s Blueprint addressed the problem of youth disempowerment in low-income communities of color in New York City that is caused by the unequal education system. She countered the two-tiered education system in which low income students and students of color are relegated to poor learning environments where physically crumbling buildings, uncredentialed teachers, and insufficient supplies are a reality for millions of children while affluent students are completely unfamiliar with such environments and school failure. School funding based on property taxes perpetuates of this inequality because of the continued residential segregation, which results in unequal funding patterns based on what type of neighborhood the school is in. In addition to this, housing policies contribute strongly to residential and school segregation, which in turn leads to inequity in schools because of funding structures and policies that favor schools in higher-income areas. Because of this extreme disparity in educational opportunities, underprivileged youth are made to believe they are less valuable than other students, resulting in the disempowerment of low-income youth and youth of color, along with a sense of hopelessness for themselves and their communities. Freesia fought against these oppressive systems by establishing a social justice-focused teen leadership program for these very youth through her Blueprint