Help Kaanchee Raise $200 for CYAP!

kaanchee!.jpg

Hi friends!

Thank you for visiting my personal fundraising page. The Carolina Youth Action Project has come to mean a lot to me over the past year and I’m excited to help them reach their goal of $7K! CYAP is a part of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an initiative that empowers youth of marginalized genders through art and social justice with chapters across the world. The Carolina Youth Action Project is an abolitionist organization that centers political education and community organizing year-round, giving girls, trans youth, and gender nonconforming youth a platform for issues they don’t often have access to.

My first experience with Girls Rock was volunteering with their NC chapter’s summer camp three years ago. It was a blissful week for me, surrounded by powerful, loving individuals where I learned as much from the workshops and instructions as the campers did. I spent a week with them again the next summer and following that was invited to attend the Girls Rock Camp Alliance conference. It was beautiful to see so many people come together from different backgrounds with a shared vision for the future of our youth.

At the conference, I attended a workshop led by Ariel and Ren from CYAP on imaging a world without prisons. The workshop was easy to follow and appropriate for youth, and still some of the most radical, abolitionist thinking I had learned about to that date. I had been introduced to CYAP before the conference, through my friend Diaspoura who has taught me a lot about community organizing and activism. CYAP to me was a model for how organizations should strive to operate. I never really imagined I would have more than a distant connection to them because I didn’t live in South Carolina. That changed when last summer, Diaspoura let me know of an opportunity to be a Co-Mentor for CYAP’s Youth Leader Institute. Although Girls Rock NC was still going on at the time, I made the decision to head down to South Carolina for a week in July to volunteer my time while learning more about how the camp operates.

CYAP serves you ages 9-17 but as a Youth co-mentor, I was working with youth ages 13-18. When I think about the people and forms of media that were influential on me during that age, I see how much of an impact CYAP’s radical education must be having on these youth people. Throughout the week, the Youth Leader Institute prepared to launch their two campaigns: Safer Schools without SROs (School Resource Officers) and Sex Education Beyond Abstinence. In addition, they led workshops, planned assemblies, and had meetings with their co-mentors, all while writing an original song with their bands. It was inspiring to watch the incredibly motivated youth take control of these issues directly affecting them by organizing actions for change. We had open, mature dialogues with one another and by the end of the week, everyone learned a lot.

Through CYAP, community organizing, and friends, I have learned about the absolute devastation that the prison industrial complex has on communities. Prisons offer no form of healthy transformative justice and the state sponsored criminal punishment system is broken beyond repair. If you had asked me a few years ago to imagine a world without prisons or police, I would have found it difficult. Today, I feel hopeful that this world is not far off because of youth like those involved with Carolina Youth Action Project.

Please donate to my CYAP’s fundraiser today! Any amount is very helpful in reaching my goal of $200.

Thank you,

Kaanchee

Kenya Cummings