BIPOC youth are emboldened to live joyfully and abundantly and advocate for themselves, their peers, and the next generation. All schools are culturally responsive and restorative, absent of police and policing, and environments where students, families, and all Black teachers and staff thrive.
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The purpose of the BASS Program is to create transformative change within Austin school systems so BIPOC students, families, and staff can thrive. We aim to achieve this through advocating for police-free schools because we recognize that safety does not exist when Black, Brown, students with disabilities, students who have immigrated, and LGBTQIA+ students are forced to interact with a system of policing that views them not as a child but as a threat.
Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) has had Higher Learning, our youth program for BIPOC (Black Indigenous People Of Color) youth, for approximately 6 years. Racism and inequities regularly experienced by BIPOC youth and adults in AISD and weekly engagement with BIPOC youth currently in Austin Independent School District (AISD) led AJC to challenge the school district to engage in transformative change.
Adults and young adults in the criminal justice system now were likely “pipelined” to prison as early as the 3rd grade (school to prison pipeline). BASS focuses our efforts on transforming the school systems that are funneling our children into the criminal justice system. BASS has an organizing and program component both tailored to Austin school systems and youth. This program not only educates people on why this work is important but it also organizes the community to take action and advocate for transformative change.
Below are projects under the BASS Program