Posted 2020-11-22

ASDE and Anti-Oppression Work

Over the past few months our organizing team and board have been engaging in training around anti-racism work, intentional culture creation, and team building. We have been taking a critical look at the story of how The Alliance for Self-Directed Education was created, how our team dynamics have affected our ability to work cohesively with a shared vision, what has happened as a result of these issues, and how we want to move forward now, with a new commitment to anti-oppression for all marginalized groups.

In retrospect, the ASDE Board and organizing team realizes that the organization operated without a full shared awareness of how it prioritized and overwhelmingly amplified white, US, and male contributions to Self-Directed Education. Our unwitting reliance on formal corporate governance protocols didn’t support the depth and transparency of communication so crucial to inclusion and accommodating other cultural norms.

We have been working to create a shared awareness and shift the way we function as an organization, and we are committing to move forward in new ways in order to facilitate a more nuanced understanding of the many ways Self-Directed Education is named and practiced by people worldwide. The organizing team of ASDE believes strongly that the liberation of children is intrinsically tied to liberation of all people. Moving forward, alliance members must commit to actively opposing systems of colonization and oppression.

The landscape of Self-Directed Education encompasses parenting, living, community-building, deschooling, decolonization, disruption – as practices toward youth liberation. When we say youth liberation, we are talking about the liberation of all young people. As young people take back their original freedom of self-direction, a commitment emerges not just to the abolition of coercive educational practices, but of all systems and ways of being that seek to demean, diminish, and oppress people.

Liberation cannot mean freedom for some but not others. Our efforts must benefit all children, not just the most privileged. And since SDE is the civil justice work of liberating young people, part of its work must be the liberation of all marginalized people. This includes Black, non-Black Indigenous, and People of Color; queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people; disabled people; neurodiverse people; and others.

Young people live among systems, relationships, caregivers, and communities where oppression affects everyone. If the adults and elders in the community are not striving for a liberated mindset, they cannot expect to raise liberated children. We invite our members into this work, eager for further conversation, collaboration, conspiration, and revolution.

Sincerely,

The ASDE Organizing Team