Youth Art Contest and More Info on 2016 Fair!

Dear Youth, Families, Education Workers, and Community,
We are excited to share this year’s theme and open the call for workshop proposals. Visit our website to read about our theme: Upset the Setup!, and to submit a brief workshop proposal. **Proposal deadline extended to September 21st! **
Youth Art Contest

Calling all youth artists! Share your artwork with fair participants this year!

1) Design an image for this year’s fair reflecting the theme, “Upset the Setup!” The chosen artist will receive an award of $150. Image should work as one-color design (for t-shirts) but can be submitted as a multi-color artwork. Deadline to submit is September 16th.

2) Share your artwork at this year’s fair! We will be holding space for any and all youth artists to display and/or offer artwork for sale. Artist’s will keep 100% of anything sold. If interest is there, we may organize a pre-fair exhibition at a local venue to display artwork for a longer time period. Any and all mediums are welcome and we will do our best to accommodate.

To submit to artwork for the contest or for exhibition please send us a digital copy of your work at

Volunteer for the Fair!
We need volunteers! Earn service hours and/or meet new people committed to education justice. Are you multi-lingual? Tech savvy? Ready to do whatever? From Hunger Management to the Reboot Crew, there are opportunities for all skills and schedules. 
Here are a few options for getting involved, depending on your interest:
  1. One-Time Volunteer: Put in a few hours during the Fair or at pre-or post-fair events.
  2. Committee Volunteer: Work with a small team to bottom-line a core aspect of the Fair’s work. For example–logistics work (securing food donations) or contributing to growing one of the following tracks (Tracks are organized by groups of folks who recruit workshops and make space at the fair that center particular issues.) The following are tracks that folks are already working on this year:
    • Youth Activists Summit (aka Youth Track)
    • Parents and Families Track
    • In-School Organizing Track
    • Adult Basic Education/Adult Learner Track (new!)
    • Early Childhood Caregivers and Educators Track (new!)
    • Ethnic Studies (new!)
    • And? If you feel passionately about organizing a track at the fair, contact us!
  3. Big Picture Volunteer: Attend regular meetings (bi-weekly) with the Organizing Team to ensure all parts of the Fair are accounted for and successful.
For more information, contact or fill out this volunteer interest form.  
Tabling at the Fair
Visit our website to submit a tabling proposal if your organization would like to table at the fair.
Tabling will take place throughout the day of the fair, with the day starting at 8am. You are welcome to arrive as early as 7:30am to begin set-up. Busiest times for tabling will be during breakfast, lunch, and transition times between workshops. We’ll provide more details as it gets closer .
*$20 suggested donation (to help defray the costs of the fair).


Sponsor the Fair
The fair is now in its fifth year and has grown exponentially since its inception, with more than 700 participants last year and around 50 workshops. With our growing capacity as an organization, we are planning to put on an even bigger and better fair this year. To coordinate (all volunteer) such a large event, keep it free, serve nutritious, local food, and provide quality childcare, we need a community effort!
If your organization is interested in co-sponsoring the fair, please email Contributions to the fair can include money, food or drink, volunteer people power, support for outreach, materials, or other kinds of contributions! All co-sponsors are listed in our program, on our website, and will have a reserved area to table, if desired.
Keep an eye out throughout the summer for updates on the keynote, location, registration, and more!
In Solidarity,
The Social Justice Education Movement

Propose a workshop for the 5th Annual Twin Cities Social Justice Education Fair!

 5th Annual Twin Cities Social Justice Education Fair

Call for Workshops

Theme: Upset the Setup!


Submit workshop proposals by Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

There’s a lot cooking in the Twin Cities and the social justice pot is bubbling over! Whether it’s student walkouts, teach-ins, takeovers and/or curriculum restructuring students, staff, and families are sending a clear message that the educational system is fundamentally flawed and they’re out to reclaim what is rightfully theirs- an educational experience that challenges the status quo and forces us to think critically and act radically. From K-12 education to Adult Basic Education (ABE), all the way to the colleges and universities, many of us know that we are learning, teaching and laboring in spaces that were designed without many of us in mind. We’ve entertained the existing educational system’s politricks for far too long, which is why we’re calling on youth, educators, families, school staff , and communities to “Upset the Setup!”

Upsetting the Setup requires a commitment to radical politics. “Radical” comes from the word “radix” which means “root” in Latin. We can no longer invest our time and energy in educational reform that does more to till the soil of power and domination than uproot systems of oppression. We are interested in change from the ground up. In the spirit of Audre Lorde, attempting to fix the setup with the tools provided to us by those in power will only support the foundations of the setup rather than dismantle it. We all have the capacity to be better builders. However, we must also learn what systems of power and oppression must be destroyed in order to build an educational space that is both for us and by us.

As we work together to dismantle hierarchies in the spaces we learn, we seek a liberation education that frees us from biased curriculum, isolated classrooms, school resource officers (police), teachers and educational standards that deny our collective empowerment. We know that as social institutions, schools can never be the sole gatekeepers of knowledge. For those whose (intersecting) identities are constructed as deficits, schools tend to examine, extract, and exploit the rich gifts and contributions of (multiply) marginalized students.

Community remains one of the most valuable sites of knowledge production, and there are plenty of undercover intellectuals without formal credentials who could teach the educational system more than they can ever be given credit for. So while we upset the setup, we must also step up and support the informal systems of education rooted in our communities. In other words, as we uproot the unequal elements of traditional education, we establish roots in the spaces we call home. We invest our hopes for revolutionary educational change in  one another, not the setup.

We are currently seeking proposals for workshops from those committed to upsetting the setup we call “education.” Please submit a brief proposal of no more than 200 words by visiting our website by Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016.

Below are some questions and themes we intend to wrestle with and build on at the fair!

  • How do we build solidarity across our different educational roles to support youth organizers committed to upsetting the setup?
  • How can we interrogate the spaces in which we learn (e.g. schools) while appreciating the spaces that taught us the most (e.g. community)?
  • What critical and radical teaching and learning strategies can and do we, as educators, parents, staff, and young people, engage to revalue and foster our community knowledges in the service of “upsetting the set up” within schools and beyond, in community spaces?  
  • In the course of organizing to upset the setup, how do we avoid reproducing the same types of violence and oppression we seek to dismantle?
  • How can we be in but not of the setup called “education”?
  • How do we uproot systems of educational inequality rather than continuously till the soil under the guise of “reform,” “policy change,” and “inclusion?”