Standing on the Shoulder of Giants – A Tribute to Mandela

Let Freedom Ring! – from South Africa came the UK Training for Transformation Programme

A celebration and Tribute to Nelson Mandela and the activist in South Africa who have both inspired and worked with the oppressed across the UK to ‘overcome’ injustice. How can we utilise popular education whilst living under capitalism to mitigate the erosion of critical consciousness. What can we do to arm ourselves to remain mindful of how our freedoms can be subverted?

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” Paulo Freire

 

History of ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ and why it is important in the struggle for justice

The first ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ training week happened in December 2013 on the week of Mandela’s passing and and again in April 2014 for ‘Let Freedom Ring!2’. It was built on the legacy of the 2013 Let Freedom Ring! programme ‘The People’s Guide to Popular Education and Freedom’, and the 2012 Summer School ‘Introduction to Community Organising and Social Justice’. It was inspired by Training for Transformation (TfT) and other visionary community movements world-wide such as the Zapatistas and Shikshantar – The People’s Institute for Rethinking Development and Education.

There is a serious need to continue to build a strong popular education based movement to transform our world, build alliances with all those challenging austerity and all those fighting injustice across the world. Do you want to build a world that genuinely welcomes all our communities, our histories and our needs? In 2014 we live in a nation which has more inequality than in the time of dickens. The UK is the most economically unequal nation in Europe and the austerity cuts only make it worse.  So is ‘enough enough’? Want to learn skills to challenge this situation? Come to ‘Let Freedom Ring!

Get in touch with letfreedomring@theglassishalffull.co.uk if you would like to see the programme continue.

 

Key activist history of Training for Transformation (TfT) – www.grailprogrammes.org.za

Training for Transformation (TfT) is based on a number of approaches to change. The core of this work is the development of critical consciousness and creativity. It was developed from Paulo Freire’s radically different approach to adult education which helped people “to read their reality and write their own history”, and motivates them to action that transforms their life situation. The uniqueness of Freire’s approach challenges the traditional educational mould. The implementation of this theory is very practical with well trained teams analysing the macro and micro realities of each area, finding generative themes and developing programmes that aim to develop critical consciousness and action. TfT has nourished the belly of movements for justice all over the world. Anne Hope (co-founder of TfT along with the magnificent Sally Timmel) was a student with popular education founding father Paulo Friere and was approached by the late great Steve Biko to develop a programme in the context of anti-Apartheid. Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement was a pivotal force lifeforce in tearing down the evils of Apartheid and since then, TfT has inspired activists and communities all over the world. To mention just a few – the Centre for Human Ecology, Abahlali – the South African Shackdwellers Movement, Centre for Youth Resources Foundation Network (CRYfoNe), Mamelani, the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST).

A huge thank you to everyone who made ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ such an inspiration, Stuart Platt (stuartplatt@hotmail.com) our brilliant videographer / photographer, Aimee Lockwood – the designer behind the beautiful poster, New Unity in Newington Green, Hannah Berry and all at The Green Fish Resource Centre in Manchester, Word Power Bookshop in Edinburgh and The Pearce Institute in Glasgow, The Network for Social Change and Lush Charity Pot!

 

Educators, Facilitators, Artists and Activists at ‘Let Freedom Ring!’

Paul Kivel – Social justice educator, activist, and writer, has been an innovative leader in violence prevention for more than 35 years. See Paul’s training video for ‘Building Allies in the Struggle for Social Justice’ – click here Many of Paul’s workshops are founded on books and curricula developed specifically for grassroots activists and others working for social justice. Titles include Boys Will Be Men, You Call This A Democracy?, Uprooting Racism, Men’s Work, Young Men’s Work, Young Women’s Lives, and Making the Peace. Contact Paul at www.paulkivel.com

Esther Stanford-Xosei – internationally acclaimed Reparationist, Jurisconsult, dynamic community advocate and radio Broadcaster. An experienced scholar-activist, grounded thinker and eloquent spokeswoman, she is considered to be a path-breaker, who has charted new grounds in the theory and practice of reparations. Raised up for such a time as this, Esther is recognised for making a significant and tangible contribution to the Global Pan-African Reparations Movement. Contact Esther at www.estherstanford.com

Zena Edwards – who has been involved in performance for 20 years – as a writer/poet performer, facilitator, creative project developer and vocalist to promote and inspire positive social change. Contact Zena on http://goodnewzee.wordpress.com/

Alice Moore – Communications and Marketing Officer at Sheila Mckechnie Award Foundation (SMK). SMK was established in 2005 to help develop a new generation of campaigners who are tackling the root causes of injustice. Set up in memory of Dame Sheila McKechnie, SMK is entirely dedicated to helping campaigners create positive and lasting social change. Whatever your issue, whether you are trying to improve disabled access on local transport or promote solutions to conflict, we can help you to develop new tactics and plan high impact campaigns through our awards programme, workshops and training programmes, and bespoke consultancy. Contact SMK at www.smk.org.uk

Rita Chadha – from RAMFEL which is a charity working with asylum seekers, migrants, refugees and BAME communities across London and the South East. A RAMFEL campaign success was when the Government finally recognised that it should have consulted and engaged directly with individuals and organisations representing the needs and concerns of immigrants in the UK about the ‘Go Home’ campaign and the use of vans saying ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ on the streets of London. Contact RAMFEL at www.ramfel.org.uk

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Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey  – Glasgow based activist, writer, journalist, Scotland’s most high profile rap artist. Darren is also a founder of Volition Scotland, a community project for young people that aims to help them take control of their lives through mediums such as music, visual art and dance.. Darren’s recent amazing piece is ‘Sporting Privilege and The Weapons of Mass Distraction’ – listen here! Contact Darren at volitionglasgow@yahoo.co.uk

Graham Campbell – prolific community organiser, former chair of the African Carribean Network Scotland, Panther UK activist and current producer at African Caribbean Cultures Glasgow LLP . Graham is currently organising ‘Emancipation Day’, celebrated annually across the Caribbean. Make your way around locations in Glasgow’s Merchant City as we bring to life the story of the city’s role in Caribbean slavery using drama, dance and music. Contact Graham at www.accglasgow.blogspot.de

Cathy McCormack – Cathy lives in Glasgow, Scotland, in one of Europe’s largest post-war working-class housing schemes (Greater Easterhouse) which the media still regard as being one of the poorest and most deprived communities in Britain. Cathy is a long-term campaigner on poverty, housing, health and climate-change and her writings and broadcast have received international acclaim. Cathy is also widely known in Britain as a social commentator for the people and an inspiring speaker. Her biography, The Wee Yellow Butterfly which was published in 2009, is local-global story providing a critical analysis of the world war against the poor and working classes that was waged under Thatcher, New Labour and American administrations. Read here Cathy ‘s powerful piece –  The price of Economic Barbarianism – An Uncomfortable Truth. Contact Cathy at http://cathysblogstogod.org/

Mandy Floyd – Amongst a great deal of HIV activism, Mandy organised around the 25th Anniversary of World Aids Day, with the UK screenings of David France’s hugely acclaimed documentary ‘How To Survive A Plague’ . She has been involved with Aid Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in it’s show Shafted?! in Scotland and continues to raise awareness and reduce the stigma that surrounds HIV.

Sukant Chandan – London-based investigative journalist and advocate of the rights of ‘Global South’ people to independence from ‘western’ interference. Suaknt’s background is in advocacy for the rights of people negatively impacted by western foreign policy, around which he has been active for twenty years including in the liberation struggles of the Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi, Zimbabwean and Colombian people among others.Contact Sukant at www.sonsofmalcolm.blogspot.com

Annie Rockson – performance poet from SHAKE! – a project that brings together young people, artists & campaigners to develop creative responses to social injustice.  http://voicesthatshake.blogspot.com

Voices from ‘Let Freedom Ring!′

“The Let Freedom Ring panel discussion and Q&A provided a rare opportunity to hear from those on the ground who are creating change and challenging inequality and discrimination through art and activism. It gave everyone a chance to share ideas and thoughts, reinvigorating us to create change and reminding everyone that no one is working in isolation. Hearing directly from a leading activist in South Africa was especially poignant after Mandela’s recent death.” Alice Moore

“Truly inspiring leadership training and techniques to engage low income communities.” Tim Oshodi, London

“I really enjoyed our panel in Glasgow as a good range of speakers from different activist perspectives and social movements gave their views of the passing the late great Madiba. It seems to me that there was a fantastic level of enthusiasm for building a popular education action network on a very regular basis using the Freirean-Boalian methods. I thought LetFreedomRing did very well in bringing these activists and projects together to cross-fertilise ideas and make possible new collaborations across genre and social movement lines that might simply not have happened otherwise were it not for the introductions made by the project.” Graham Campbell, African Caribbean Centre

Further ‘Let Freedom Ring!’ Links and Inspiring Readings

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde

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