August at RYSE: Lighting the Fire


It’s back to school season and days are filled with teachers diligently preparing classrooms for their students, parents buying school clothes and supplies, and students hanging on to their last few days of summer.  However, with the first day of school right around the corner, we are pulled abruptly from the ethereal last days of summer. 

Charlottesville reminds us that the ghosts of our nation’s past are actually still very much alive. The fabric of white supremacy is not new and cloaks the inequities in many of our systems from criminal, health care, economic and education. We must continue to fight and educate others to join the movement to transform these systems.

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men [and women and gender-nonconforming individuals] deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”
- Richard Shaull

RYSE believes that “education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire" (W. B. Yeats). We are committed to igniting that fire and fighting for the transformation of those systems that have historically had disproportionate and negative impacts on our children and youth.  

A thriving and equitable education system looks like: healthy lunch options; adult allies willing to genuinely listen and co-create school systems where all members of the community feel ownership; lessons, readings, teaching practices, and teachers that reflect the cultures, traditions, histories, and desires of the community; radical service learning; education that centers healing and restorative practices and de-centers punishment and criminalization; and more. The time for transformation is now.

Obtaining equity within our education system is essential for our youth and our society. This work can only be made possible by the ingenuity and fortitude of our local, homegrown youth leaders, but also through a community strong enough to have hard conversations.

Thank you for transforming the world with us—below are a few resources to support our journey. It is through leading with love, empathy, forgiveness and affirmation, that we as adult allies can support youth as leaders of today and tomorrow.

Stephanie Medley
Director of Education and Justice


from Photo Voice Project with our Richmond Youth Organizing Team (RYOT)


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August at RYSE:

Photos from Night Out for Safety and Liberation 2017

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