Almost one year ago in Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown and left him lying in the street. Since then, the list of names of unarmed Black people whose lives have been taken by the police keeps growing.

Praxis is excited to be a part of a new national learning community, Transformative Schools Network (TSN)!

This learning community is a collaboration with Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ), the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), Alliance for a Just Society & The Praxis Project. Our members are comprised over 40 organizations representing 44 states working together to develop and pass comprehensive school health and wellness policies that will transform schools to keep up with students’ needs in the 21st Century.

The Praxis Project board of directors announced today that Makani Themba will transition from her role as founding executive director by the end of this year. The transition signals a new phase in Praxis’ evolution as a leading grassroots movement institution in support of organizing and change work on the local, regional and national level.

Like many of you, we at Praxis were saddened but not surprised by the grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Walker for the murder of Michael Brown, Jr.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the Brown family and to all who feel the tremendous grief and suffering of a loved one lost - and so senselessly.

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With 88% of its Black teens (16-19) and 85% of its Hispanic teens without jobs, Chicago is one of the nation's cities with the highest rates of youth unemployment, according to a report released this week by Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Praxis interviewed Chicago's Kenwood Oakland Community Organization youth members Kenneth Moore, Alonzo Moore, and organizer Shannon Bennett and Great Cities Institute director Teresa Córdova, who is also Praxis’ board chair, to gain insight about how these staggering statistics can be applied to organizing, and how employment is intricately connected to a community's health and well-being.

Guns are old and tired. Communities fueled by collective responsibility and trust are fresh and alive. That’s the attitude we need in order to achieve our collective vision of building healthy communities where everyone has what they need to thrive.

Scratch beneath the surface of the tension between law enforcement and the Black community and we find The New Jim Crow staring back - the “caste-like system in the U.S that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars” as detailed in Michelle Alexander’s book of the same name. Look at Chicago, where the people are taking over police stations in anger and grief and struggle after the release of the video of the murder of LaQuan McDonald, shot 16 times by a white police officer. Look at Minneapolis. Look at Cleveland. Don't take your eyes away from Ferguson, from Baltimore, from North Charleston.

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