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Teach-In: Movement for Black Lives

shayna cureton

On Saturday, October 1st at Allen Temple Baptist Church, as a part of the BLM Election Town Hall and Candidate Forum, Abundant Beginnings collaborated with Bay Area SURJ, Rice and Beans Cooperative, Sama Sama Cooperative, Radical Monarchs, Our Family Coalition and Coleman Advocates to organize and host a concurrent Children’s Town Hall. This Children’s Town Hall aimed to help children learn about and understand the Movement for Black Lives Platform and allow them to practice ways to use their voice to influence this election!

After a Morning Welcome Circle and Power Chant, youth ages 5 - 14 moved through different interactive learning stations as cohorts. The four stations focused on: 1) Kid-Friendly language of the Ten Demands put forth by the Movement for Black Lives, 2) Letter writing to Mayor Libby informed by #ByeLibby, 3) An interactive tri-fold about Divest-Invest, and 4) How community members can particpate in the process of how a bill becomes a law.

After a nutritious lunch, the children talked about what a demand is and brainstormed how it could be met. Then, the children played with megaphones and organized an action. They marched into the concurrent BLM Election Town Hall chanting, “We demand that no police and no guns should be in schools!” At the closing circle, the children debriefed the youth-led campaign and action and shared that they felt successful in disrupting the meeting. We’d like to thank all of the families and children that played with us and learned about the voting process and the Movement for Black Lives!

A moment of learning at the Children's Town Hall, as part of the BLM Election Town Hall. At this interactive learning station, children explored the meaning of Divest-Invest, from the Movement for Black Lives Platform. They decided where our money should go by placing dollars into different pockets on the board. The children demand that we invest in schools!

A moment of learning at the Children's Town Hall, as part of the BLM Election Town Hall. At this interactive learning station, children explored the meaning of Divest-Invest, from the Movement for Black Lives Platform. They decided where our money should go by placing dollars into different pockets on the board. The children demand that we invest in schools!

Abundant Land Project

shayna cureton

Hello Abundant Beginnings Community,

Happy October! I hope that all is well as our young people are settling into a new and exciting school year! At Abundant Beginnings, we’ve been reflecting on our summer camp experiences and diving into planning Abundant Activism community programs. Additionally, we are pouring lots of energy into Abundant Community, our land-based education project.

In collaboration with the Hummingbird Urban Garden Collective, we are building a land project in the Oakland hills that will serve as a community space centering children, caregivers, and educators. The Hummingbird Children's Farm is an aspiring Black-led land-based liberation space for healing, growing, and learning. We envision transforming this 2-acre plot of land into a freedom school, medicinal garden, micro-farm, sacred space for spiritual practice, art space and more! We are currently hosting a series of community work days that will be opportunities for our network of friends, families and supporters to contribute some sweat-equity to the project, connect with one another, and share/build visions for future programs and events in the space. If you’d like to bust out your gardening shears and floppy hats, check out our online community calendar for upcoming work days!

Much love,


Allied Media Conference

shayna cureton

Great news! In March, Abundant Beginnings submitted session proposals to the Allied Media Conference (AMC), a national conference that brings together social justice organizers, artists, educators and technologists to share skills and develop creative strategies that address the roots of problems and advance holistic solutions towards a more just and creative world. Check out our two accepted conference session proposals that will be facilitated in Detroit, Michigan at the end of June 2016:

  • Abundant Activism: Practical Tools for Empowering Youth

Children are often not invited to participate in activism and social justice dialogue, but are facing the realities of oppression. Encouraging children to learn about and challenge inequities is more empowering than trying to shelter them. We will explore how to create developmentally appropriate spaces for young activists while empowering families and educators to navigate social justice issues with youth (age 2-10). Participants will leave with an Abundant Activism Teach-In Toolkit and ideas for engaging young activists in their communities.

  • When We Rule the World: Kids in Direct Action

The year is 0005 PC, robot puppies are finally a reality, capitalism has fallen, and kids have taken over the world. Within the context of this futuristic narrative, children will learn the skills involved in safe non-violent direct action. In this fun and interactive session, children will create action materials, protest signs, and chants, and learn about actively using their bodies during marches and blockades for social justice activism. Are they up for the challenge?

The Abundant Beginnings Team is currently not being funded by professional grants or receiving compensation for facilitating workshops. Please consider donating to our transportation fund, which will help us share our work at a national conference!

“Play, Power and Privilege" Teach-In for Children

Crystal Knight

On Saturday, May 14th, Abundant Beginnings led a play-based action entitled “Play, Power, and Privilege: Teach-in for Children” at Roberts Park. The goal of the teach-in was to explore what power and privilege mean and brainstorm ways we can use them to challenge systemic oppression every day.

We began our day with some energizing, grounding and educational activities, including the “Building a Privilege Tower” activity with all 100+ children and family members in attendance. This activity prompted groups to build the tallest tower they could, but different groups had different amounts of materials available to them. This allowed us all to see the full effects of unfair access of resources in our everyday lives.

Then our young activists participated in activities with their adult allies in either the PoC Polar Bear Group or Solidarity Sea Lion Group. These activities included “System May I” and an Empowerment Walk. “System May I,” a play on the popular game “Mother May I,” engaged our youth in dialogue about how to challenge "the system," aka "The Mother" through allyship and creativity. The Empowerment Walk is a movement-based activity that invited families to respond to statements that reframe deficient-based statements into empowerment-based statements, such as “Step forward if you or someone in your family is too cool for binary bathrooms” and “Step forward if your family survived slavery.” This activity allowed our community to recognize the definitions of privilege and resilience. Afterwards, we had a pizza party and enjoyed art and free play in the beautiful park.

In the afternoon, the young activists brainstormed strategies to use their privilege and power to be an ally in situations of injustice or oppression. Adult ally workshops were offered for Solidarity Sea Lions (led by Showing Up for Racial Justice Network) and PoC Polar Bears. We wrapped up the day with songs, music and chanting.

We’d like to say a big thank you to all of the campers and families that participated, and hope the conversations have continued at home. Please let us know if you’re interested in receiving a digital copy of our Teach-In curricula, which will become available in the next few months. Our next Teach-­In will take place towards the end of summer.

These photos reflect some highlights of our day, including moments at the Craft Table where children were invited to create PlayDoh models of allyship and solidarity, empowering dialogue during System May I and the Empowerment Walk, and some quiet moments of fun in our Lego Tent! 

How do we talk to our youth about current events and what is on the news?

shayna cureton

Hello Abundant Beginnings Community,

     There has been a lot going on in our community! The San Francisco Police Department is currently under federal investigation for racial bias for the murders of three people of color since December. The Bay Area community has been participating in numerous protests, including marches in support of the Frisco Five, a group of five people that called for SFPD Chief Greg Suhr to step down during an 18 day hunger strike.  On Thursday, May 19th, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee asked that Suhr resign after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black woman, which occurred in the same neighborhood that Mario Woods was killed.

     How do we talk to our youth about current events and what is on the news? When talking about recent police violence, be honest with how you are feeling and what you’d like to see happen differently. Invite the youth in your life to do the same. With young children, I often utilize the idea of little voices in a police officer’s head to talk about bias and racism. Many police officers hear little voices that black people are scary, bad, and dangerous -- but we know that’s not true! Sometimes those voices are put there by their boss, the media, and the system. Encouraging ourselves and our children to tell police officers not to listen to those little voices will help to challenge racist messages and paradigms.

Shayna Cureton, Director of Abundant Beginnings, engaging in dialogue with children at the May 14th "Play, Power, and Privilege Teach-In for Children".

Here are some ideas to try at home to engage in dialogue about current events:

  • Talk about National #SayHerNameDay, which took place on May 19th and acknowledges the injustices and violence against black women and girls. You can look up photos online of non-violent direct “Say Her Name” actions and talk about how it’s important to prevent violence against all people of all gender identities.

  • Engage in dialogue about how People Power has a role in current events. For example, the Bay Area community had lots of strategic meetings, the Friso Five utilized hunger strikes, and what came to be known as the Frisco 500 participated in marches and blockades to tell the Mayor and SFPD Chief that they are not doing their jobs correctly.

Continue to connect with the children in your life about what is going on with current events and how we can fight for a more just world in our everyday lives.

Much love,



Importance of Direct Action

shayna cureton

Hello Abundant Beginnings Community,

You may have noticed some Abundant Beginnings community members in the news! Dylan, Nanci, several of our camp families, and I participated in the Bay Bridge Shutdown on January 18th, one element of the 96 Hours of Direct Action during Martin Luther King Weekend. Abundant Beginnings believes that it is not enough to sit and wait for change. We must actively create the change that we wish to see using the time, skills, and resources available to us. Learn more about the Bay Bridge Shutdown here:

As parents, guardians, and family members, it is important to engage our youth in critical conversations around current events, what direct action means and why it’s important. It can be difficult to engage in conversation with youth about direct action without concrete examples. Feel free to use the Bay Bridge Shutdown as a way to begin dialogue with your children. Additionally, here is a great resource to utilize when exploring the vocabulary involved in social justice movements:



Much love,

Shayna Cureton