MISSION & VISION
Rethink’s mission is to support young people of color in becoming thoughtful and capable leaders through the process of rethinking their educational experiences in their school communities and taking action to make systemic improvements. Our vision is both an equitably great education for all students and a future wherein generations of young leaders equipped with the necessary tools to affect systemic change are committed to lifelong community engagement.
We believe that every movement towards our mission and vision helps dismantle the social, political, and economic barriers that prevent young people from being heard and creates opportunities for youth to learn and practice leadership in ways that make a real difference to them, their schools, and New Orleans.
VALUES & BELIEFS
- voice and agency | expressed through practice of participatory engagement and an emphasis on speaking truth to power.
- equity | expressed through the practice of power among rather than power over.
- relationships | expressed through emphasis on community building, relational activism, non-violent communication, creative conflict resolution and restorative practices.
- critical analysis | expressed through use of popular education models and youth participatory action research to explore the roots and the branches of all issues.
- authentic leadership | expressed through commitment to young people as agents of change rather than subjects to change and our understanding that those who are most deeply affected by systems of inequity must be at the forefront of developing solutions.
- the lives and experiences of young people are important
- young people’s ability to deconstruct their experience and create a new narrative is important
- young people are experts in their own reality which means that they have the capacity to both learn and teach in ways that are transformative
- what young people have to say is important
- intergenerational solidarity and collaboration is important
APPROACH TO OUR WORK
All Rethink programs and activities are designed to support Rethinkers in guiding them through our integrated model of organizing and leadership development. Embedded in Rethink’s model of youth organizing and development is the commitment to organic community organizing based on the indigenous experiences of the young people in New Orleans and their connections to social and political institutions in their communities:
- explore | Rethinkers begin to understand personal & collective struggles in a larger social and political context and imagine the school/community of their dreams
- articulate | Rethinkers coherently express and vocalize their solutions
- demonstrate | Rethinkers translate solutions into visuals, skits, games and other mechanisms for change and develop an action or series of actions to change the situation. (policy change, public speaking, media creation, organizing)
- facilitate | Rethinkers share their process of advocacy, organizing and leadership to challenge other youth to think critically and creatively about systems change in an effort to build a coalition.