Revolutionary education for our youth: Homefulness runs a summer camp and opens a school

by Coriander Mellios

DEECOLONIZE Academy, on the land in Deep East Oakland known as Homefulness, is born! These are a few of the folks who came to the Open House Aug. 30. The other photos were taken at Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp, held at Homefulness this summer. – Photos: Poor News Network
DEECOLONIZE Academy, on the land in Deep East Oakland known as Homefulness, is born! These are a few of the folks who came to the Open House Aug. 30. The other photos were taken at Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp, held at Homefulness this summer. – Photos: Poor News Network

As I listened to the reports back from Gaza as Israel intensified its attack, while militarized U.S. police did the same in Ferguson, Missouri, my heart sank deep into my chest. I immediately thought of the mamas and babies and children who are trapped in both of these places with no way to escape the terror of the global military industrial complex.

I then thought of my son who was at the Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp and the soon to open DEECOLONIZE Academy school launching in September and felt so much gratitude for conscious programs and revolutionary schools like this. They exist so that our children can grow up aware with a revolutionary state of mind. The world needs what Homefulness is so graciously and unapologetically offering.

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-2 by PNN

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-3 by PNNHomefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-5 by PNNLisa “Tiny” Garcia, Muteado Silencio and Needa Bee, along with guest instructors from the Black Riders Liberation Party, POOR Magazine, Spiral Garden and many more, created a camp this summer and, this fall, a school which focuses on revolutionary skills, aka life and survival skills, art and decolonial studies for our Black and Brown youth.

When we think of the skills needed to survive as a Black or Brown person in the world today, our camp goes beyond the mainstream and becomes very specific to our cultures and experiences. Knowing this all too well, Homefulness Revolutionary Camp brought it!

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-1 by PNNThis summer’s camp and the upcoming DEECOLONIZE Academy school provide skills in understanding systematic racism, environmental analysis through the perspective of race, as well as science – the kids took samples of soil and water and looked at them in microscopes – basic construction and healthy eating. All through the two weeks of camp, the young skolas recorded their data and reflections with journals, cameras and digital recorders.

Being a voice in media was a running theme in the summer camp and will be a very integral part of the DEECOLONIZE Academy, thanks to a whole section of the school being dedicated to revolutionary, grassroots media activism as a tool to liberation. The youth were and will continue to be taught that they can and should create their own narrative, the one that they are seeing and experiencing themselves, not the one fed to them by corporate media.

Needa Bee, who leads Healthy Hoodz, will be providing healthy lunches that include how to cook healthy meals for little money. In the summer camp as in the school year, the kids helped prepare their food, which included picking greens from the Homefulness garden and learning about the healing properties of the food they were about to eat as well as the roots of GMOs and the ways in which a lot of our poor people food is made to kill us.

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-4 by PNNMuteado led the revolutionary construction and permaculture classes, which will also be a very important part of the DEECOLONIZE Academy. Each of the young revolutionary skolas built their own planter box, gaining basic construction skills using power drills, saws and geometry. Each skolar then dedicated their box of freshly planted herbs to an ancestor.

Keeping with the theme of Building Our Future, the young skolars in the summer camp got to create scale models of the Homefulness compound. This included gardens, a healing center and a main house – all wheelchair accessible, of course! The details on these models are incredible and really have to be seen to fully appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into them.

During the DEECOLONIZE Academy school year, each student will begin to work with design software to learn how to commit their plans to a digital 3D project. This will be one of many learning projects to teach our children their ancestral knowledge, which, like Mama Tiny says, is already in us. “We are already builders, scientists and designers, mathematicians and linguists. The colonizers stole our knowledge and stole us and then forced us into their weak twist on our sciences.”

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-6 by PNNMama Tiny, aka Lisa Gray-Garcia, brought writing, journaling and investigative journalism basics through an investigative journalism study on environmental racism as well constant teaching on inter-dependence and eldership, including “homework” to love and honor your parents, care-givers and cultures. In the upcoming DEECOLONIZE Academy, these ideas of decolonial education will be expanded on, including empathy, care and talk-story with elders, pre-colonial language and math studies rooted in Kemet, Mayan and Aztec, revolutionary history and herstories, poetry, yoga, healing drum and science and math, through animal care, micro-business, permaculture, earth’s farmacy and car mechanics.

In addition to all this we will be teaching decolonized man’s skoo math, English and Spanish so our children learn what they need to go to one of the man’s skoo if that is their desired journey

Perhaps the most important lesson and skill taught at Homefulness Revolutionary Camp, which will be an integral part of the DEECOLONIZE skool ,was the prioritized ritual of morning prayer to call in and honor ancestors who guide and protect our people as we navigate this out-of-balance world that seeks to systematically destroy Black and Brown babies. Homefulness Camp and the DEECOLONIZE Academy understand the urgency with which our children need to learn these survival skills, which are not openly taught in schools or society, but need to be sought out and fought for.

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-8 by PNNHomefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-9 by PNNHomefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-10 by PNNAll the beautiful visions created by the young skolas in the summer camp were presented to us, their parents and community, in an epic presentation of the things they had worked on and learned. It was clear that these young skolas had a lot of fun while learning about some very serious topics. The beautiful scale models of Homefulnesss will be on display at the upcoming DEECOLONIZE Academy library.

Master screen printer Jesus Barraza donated his talents and was part of the closing ceremony. We made beautiful Homefulness posters, which immortalized and captured the spirit of the youth skolars Revolutionary Camp, summer of 2014!

Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp 0814-7 by PNNKnowing my son was a part of this camp this summer gave me some feeling of hopefulness as Israel continued and increased its siege on Gaza and we watch the increased militarization of our communities of color from Oakland to St. Louis. One thing is for sure, these young skolas will make the positive, revolutionary change that is so desperately needed today.

Check out our interactive slideshow summarizing Homefulness Camp, complete with Bob Marley soundtrack! For more information on the soon to be open DECOLONIZE Academy, go to their website, www.racepovertymediajustice.org/academy.

Coriander Mellios is a Mama Skola with Poor News Network. She can be reached via deeandtiny@poormagazine.org.