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3 Powerful Moments from CFJ’s Statewide Leadership Retreat

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What inspires you to invest in your future? This past weekend, we were inspired by the more than 30 youth who joined us for our annual Statewide Leadership Retreat (SLR). For two days, we got to build with our newest members and youth organizers from across the state! Together we learned  about the fight for education justice, regional and statewide campaign efforts, winning strategies, how to take care of ourselves, and each other’s hopes and dreams. Here are 3 of our top highlights from this year’s SLR:

  1. I Have A Dream Poems: Inspired by the powerful speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, our youth shared their own visions for the future. Student leaders shared their dreams for the public education system and it was powerful! From dreaming up a “garden of beautiful, intricate personalities and cultures” to “education that is healing” and “students being taught the true history and nature of our country, as well as the role people of color played in that;” CFJ youth leaders shared their dreams of educational transformation! 
  2. Learning From The Past, Planning For The Future: Youth leaders dove into the history of CFJ and our wins for educational justice in California’s public schools. Led by our amazing Senior Strategy Directors Laura Zavala and Rosa De Leon, this session covered some of the historic campaign wins CFJ has seen across our last 25 years, and encouraged student leaders to envision what’s possible for the future. HINT: It involves even more student voice, relationships and racial justice in our schools!
  3. Feeling Joy, Playing Games And Having Fun: Throughout the retreat student leaders facilitated strategy sessions, practiced mindfulness and also led by example by making time to have fun! This work is hard, it’s transformational but it should also reflect the environment we hope to achieve for our schools. Amidst all the planning and decision-making our staff and youth leaders had a chance to play games, enjoy music, share meals over zoom, and connect with each other.

As we wrapped the retreat we asked youth leaders to reflect on what they would carry on from the space. From new ideas and knowledge, to feelings of connection and joy from meeting other youth organizers from around the state – our CFJ leaders are moving forward with passion and courage for the future. Similarly our staff remain invested in supporting our young leaders to create the California schools they dream of and deserve. Will you join us in this movement?

Donate to CFJ! Even better, become part of our Justice League of monthly donors. Together we’re transforming CA public schools to be places of hope, healing and joy for Black students and students of color. 

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