RESOURCES AND ORGANIZATIONS
If Notes from the Field inspired you to learn more about and/or get involved in addressing issues raised by the play please check this ever-growing list of local and national resources and organizations.
ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN OF NEW YORK works on behalf of children who are at greatest risk for school-based discrimination and/or academic failure due to poverty, disability, race, ethnicity, immigrant or English Language Learner status, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, or involvement in the foster care or juvenile justice systems.
ALLIANCE FOR QUALITY EDUCATION is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high-quality public school education to all students regardless of zip code. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and echoes a powerful public demand for a high-quality public school education for all of New York’s students.
CAMPAIGN FOR EDUCATIONAL EQUITY is a nonprofit research and policy center at Teachers College, Columbia University that champions the right of all children to meaningful educational opportunity and works to define and secure the full range of resources, supports, and services necessary to provide this opportunity to disadvantaged children. We believe that all children, whatever their family background, wherever they live, and whatever the current political and economic climate, are entitled to a meaningful opportunity to graduate from high school prepared for college success and/or competitive employment.
CENTER FOR ARTS EDUCATION is committed to ensuring that every child in every New York City public school has equal access to a well-rounded education of which the arts are a central component. We work to achieve this mission through school and community programs, professional development, parent engagement, and advocacy.
The DIGNITY IN SCHOOLS CAMPAIGN-NYC is a citywide coalition of students, parents, advocates, educators and lawyers calling for positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve the school environment, reduce conflict, and increase learning. We work to reduce suspensions and other harsh policies that violate students’ human right to education and to be treated with dignity. Students, parents and educators have a right to participate in decision-making related to discipline policies in schools.
INSIDE SCHOOLS comprises journalists, public school parents, and public school advocates dedicated to improving schools for our own children and for every child in the city. We believe that engaged, informed parents can promote racially and economically integrated schools of the highest quality. Furthermore, we believe that excellent public education is crucial to the functioning of a democratic society. We provide authoritative independent information about New York City’s public schools.
NEW VISIONS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS is dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students, regardless of race or economic class, have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the rigors of college and the workforce. Further, we are committed to sharing innovative tools, strategies and lessons learned in New Visions schools with others in New York and throughout the country to prove that meaningful change is achievable at scale and success is possible for every child.
NYC DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION is the largest school district in the US, serving 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools. The department’s website offers information on the system’s curricula, rules, special programs, and all matters related to the public schools.
PAPER CITY is a documentary film and education program provided for free to help youth, educators, and advocates counteract the school-to-prison pipeline by combining City Year’s graduation pipeline model with the Help Increase the Peace Project model for peace education.
The STUDENT SAFETY COALITION works to end the New York City school-to-prison pipeline and its disproportionate impact on youth of color and youth with special needs. Made up of New York City advocacy, academic and community-based organizations, the coalition uses a coordinated set of legislative, public education and organizing strategies to achieve its goals.
TEACHERS UNITE is an independent membership organization of public school educators in New York City collaborating with youth and parents to transform the city’s and the nation’s public schools. We resist institutions that segregate and criminalize Black and Latino/a youth, such as the school-to-prison pipeline, by organizing educators to work as allies in local and national campaigns for social and economic justice. We develop and share resources for restorative justice and school-based power-building that promote grassroots leadership in public education, and we conduct collaborative research on pressing educational issues.
URBAN YOUTH COLLABORATIVE Led by students, the Urban Youth Collaborative brings together New York City students to fight for real education reform that puts students first. Demanding a high quality education for all students, our young people struggle for social, economic, and racial justice in our schools and communities.
New York City’sYOUNG MEN’S INITIATIVE (YMI) was created as a public-private partnership to address increasing disparities among black and Latino men between the ages if 16 and 24 in education, employment, health and justice. The YMI mission is to develop and champion policies, programs and partnerships that holistically support the success of young men of color throughout NYC.
YOUTH AND STUDENT RIGHTS program of the NYCLU campaigns to protect students from overly aggressive school policing and military recruitment practices, a ground-breaking Teen Health Initiative, and other NYCLU programs transform youth into activists and advocates for their own rights and liberties. Please explore below to learn more about the NYCLU’s work on behalf of youth and students.
BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS OF NYC BBBS of NYC is considered the founding agency of the nation’s youth mentoring movement. Since 1904, our mission has been to give all children in New York City who face adversity an opportunity to experience a strong, enduring professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationship with adults that will help change their lives for the better. We partner with families, volunteers, organizations, and the community to inspire positive change in all.
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is a non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves.
BRONX CONNECT is a faith-based, community-based program that offers alternatives to detention and incarceration that connect court-involved youth with positive resources in the local community through mentoring relationships to prevent recidivism and address youth-initiated goals in education and employment.
The CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.
FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City. We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. FIERCE is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice movement leaders who are dedicated to ending all forms of oppression.
FRESH YOUTH INTIATIVES, based in Washington Heights, engages youth in positive, community-building activities while guiding and supporting them through childhood and adolescence.
FRIENDS OF ISLAND ACADEMY is a non-profit organization bringing opportunity to youth leaving jail in New York City for the past 25 years. Friends anchors and supports young people newly released from jail, helping them to staying out of jail, out of harm’s way, and rebuild their lives and reclaim their futures.
The mission ofGIRLS, INC. of NYC is to advocate for and improve the lives of under-served girls aged 6 to18 in the five boroughs. We pursue this mission by providing gender-based educational programs in the areas of math; science; health and safety; financial literacy; and multicultural appreciation.
GROUNDSWELL brings together artists, youth, and community organizations through our Scaffold Up!™ model to use art as a tool for social change, for a more just and equitable world. Our projects beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue.
KINGS AGAINST VIOLENCE INITIATIVE (KAVI) offers youth focused interventions that are school, community and hospital-based in Brooklyn, New York. Our programming provide youth with productive and safe alternatives to engaging in interpersonal violence.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER (MBK Alliance) is a nonprofit that engages the private and social sectors to create pathways to success for boys and young men of color. MBK Alliance’s efforts are both national and local in scope, with an intense focus on opening doors to opportunities in the workforce.
THE POINT is dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx. We work with our neighbors to celebrate the life and art of our community, an area traditionally defined solely in terms of its poverty, crime rate, poor schools and substandard housing. We believe the area’s residents, their talents and aspirations, are THE POINT’s greatest assets.
THE POSSE FOUNDATION Rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students—a Posse—carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development in our increasingly multicultural society.
THE POWER WRITING PROGRAM teaches effective and practical mastery of the four language literacies, Reading, Writing, Public Speaking and Active Listening and our goal is to give the student participants a deep sense of ownership of the world around them and a deep appreciation of their personal life narrative.
PRISON TO COLLEGE PIPELINE (P2CP), an innovative educational program administered by the Prisoner Reentry Institute in partnership with Hostos Community College and provides prisoners with access to public university-level education, mentorship, and community support to increase their chances of timely graduation and employment upon release.
YOUTH MINISTRIES FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE Guided by a prophetic faith, YMPJ’s purpose is to transform both the people and the physical infrastructure of blighted South Bronx neighborhoods and change the systems that negatively impact them. Founded in 1994, the mission of Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ) is to rebuild the neighborhoods of Bronx River and Soundview/Bruckner in the South Bronx by preparing young people to become prophetic voices for peace and justice. We accomplish this through political education, spiritual formation, and youth and community development and organizing.
The BARD PRISON INITIATIVE creates the opportunity for incarcerated men and women to earn a Bard College degree while serving their sentences. The academic standards and workload are rigorous, based on an unusual mix of attention to developmental skills and ambitious college study. The rate of post-release employment among the program’s participants is high and recidivism is stunningly low. By challenging incarcerated men and women with a liberal education, BPI works to redefine the relationship between educational opportunity and criminal justice.
BOOKS THROUGH BARS provides book distribution to prisoners and education programs throughout the mid-Atlantic region. They also created a great online resource with contact information for other prison book programs throughout the U.S.
CENTER FOR COURT INNOVATION seeks to help create a more effective and humane justice system by designing and implementing operating programs, performing original research, and providing reformers around the world with the tools they need to launch new strategies.
CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION The Centre for Justice & Reconciliation is a program of Prison Fellowship International. Its mission is to develop and promote restorative justice in criminal justice systems around the world.
CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK Founded in 1844, the Correctional Association of New York (the CA) is an independent non-profit organization that advocates for a more humane and effective criminal justice system and a more just and equitable society. The CA utilizes its unique legislative mandate to expose abusive practices, educate the public and policymakers about what goes on behind prison walls, and advocate for systemic, lasting and progressive change.
FAMILIES AGAINST MANDATORY MINIMUMS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization fighting for smart sentencing laws that protect public safety. It seeks a country where criminal sentencing is individualized, humane, and sufficient to impose fair punishment and protect public safety.
THE FORTUNE SOCIETY’s mission is to support successful reentry from incarceration and promote alternatives to incarceration, thus strengthening the fabric of our communities. We do this by believing in the power of individuals to change, building lives by service programs shaped by the needs and experience of our clients, and changing minds through education and advocacy to promote the creation of a fair, humane and truly rehabilitative correctional system.
The INNOCENCE PROJECT works to exonerate wrongfully convicted people in the U.S. and reform the justice system so that innocent people do not go to jail. Since 1992 over 250 innocent people have been exonerated through DNA testing (which is available in only a small fraction of criminal cases) including 17 who were at one time sentenced to death.
The MARSHALL PROJECT is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. We achieve this through award-winning journalism, partnerships with other news outlets and public forums. In all of our work we strive to educate and enlarge the audience of people who care about the state of criminal justice.
The PEN AMERICAN CENTER PRISON WRITING PROGRAM believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, and serves hundreds of prisoners across the country. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and seeks to get inmates’ work to the public through literary publications and readings.
The non-profit, non-partisanPRISON POLICY INITIATIVE produces cutting edge research to expose the broader harm of mass criminalization, and then sparks advocacy campaigns to create a more just society.
The SENTENCING PROJECT Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.
The WOMEN’S PRISON ASSOCIATION, founded in 1865, is the nation’s oldest service and advocacy organization committed to helping women with criminal justice histories see new possibilities for themselves and their families. WPA offers a host of useful information and resources on issues facing these women and our families, in addition to housing, health, employment and family services and leadership and advocacy training.
RACIAL & ECONOMIC JUSTICE
BLACK LIVES MATTER – NYC Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes. #BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.
The EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
FUREE Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a member led Brooklyn-based multiracial program of Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) led by mostly women of color. We organize and unite low-income families to build power to fight against systems of oppression so that the work of all people is valued and all of us have the right and ability to decide and live out our own destinies. We use direct action, leadership development, community organizing and political education to win the changes our members seek. Our guiding principle is that those directly affected by the policies we are seeking to change should lead the organization because they are the true experts.
JEWS FOR RACIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE was founded in 1990 to address the increase in racial and ethnic tension and economic disparity within our city. Over the past 25 years, JFREJ has become a vital resource inside the Jewish community and an important source of support for a diverse array of community-based organizations in New York. JFREJ believes in a joyous Jewish community working in partnership with our neighbors, fighting for transformative change, an end to racism and a more just New York City.
MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.
NAACP The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.
EL PUENTE is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. Founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta, El Puente currently integrates the diverse activities and community campaigns of its Center for Arts and Culture and its Green Light District & Community Wellness Program within its four neighborhood Leadership Centers, and its nationally recognized public high school, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally.
SHOWING UP FOR RACIAL JUSTICE-NYC is a chapter of a national network organizing white people for racial justice. SURJ envisions a society where we struggle together with love, for justice, human dignity, and a sustainable world.
VERA INSTITUTE OF JUSTICE We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement, to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence.