Community Change & Youth Action: Exploring Youth Organizing
Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Selma. Vietnam War Protests. Ferguson. March for Our Lives. Great social movements of yesterday and today have been powered by youth activists. Recent research has shown us that youth organizing is also a powerful youth development strategy that creates substantially better outcomes for youth.
Join us for a conversation with three incredible speakers: Eric Braxton, Executive Director of the Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing, will share national insight from the field on the power of youth organizing, and how it is being used across the country to create better outcomes for youth and community. Emery Wright, Co-Director of Project South, will illuminate the landscape of youth organizing in Atlanta, providing local insight through his two decades of organizing in the south. Manuela Arciniegas, Interim Director of Andrus Family Fund, will provide insight into how national philanthropy is supporting organizations who are moving into the youth organizing space, and how AFF has supported convened youth organizers across the country.
Eric Braxton, Executive Director, Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Eric’s involvement in youth organizing began at the age of 19 when he helped found the Philadelphia Student Union and served as its Executive Director for ten years. The Student Union continues to be a leader in organizing public high school students to transform their schools. At FCYO, Eric has led the creation of new funding initiatives, developed projects to create a stronger and more interconnected field, and helped raise awareness of the power of young people to create meaningful social change. He has supported numerous foundations in developing youth organizing programs that align with foundation goals. Eric is a father, and, in addition to being with his family, enjoys basketball and gardening.
Emery Wright, Co-Director, Project South
An Atlanta native, Emery was raised to be part of Black radical traditions of the U.S. South. Emery carries 2 decades of experience in community organizing, movement building, and political education working primarily across the U.S. South. Prior to working at Project South, Emery co-founded and directed a Black youth organization called The Nia Project which organized in Boston, Coastal South Carolina, and Atlanta. He co-founded and co-facilitated a weekly Black Studies course at South Bay Prison, and he has developed learning and leadership exchanges between grassroots organizers in the U.S., the greater Caribbean, and East Africa. Emery joined the Project South staff team in 2004 and was part of a successful leadership transition to Co-Director in 2007. Emery serves on the board of WRFG, the 35-year old community radio station in Atlanta, the Georgia Citizens’ Coalition on Hunger, and Project Vote.
Manuela Arciniegas, Interim Director, Andrus Family Fund
Prior to being named Interim Director, Manuela was AFF’s Program Officer, managing our capacity building initiative and a national community organizing portfolio. Manuela brings over 15 years of experience in social justice, community organizing, youth development, and cultural arts education. She is a member of the New York City Youth Funders, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy NYC Steering Committee and an advisory board member of the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing. She is currently conducting dissertation research for her PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center focusing on how Afro-Caribbean religious music creates power and cultural change. When not working at AFF, Manuela directs The Legacy Women, a drum ensemble for women ages 23-55 that teaches and performs folk Afro-Caribbean music of resistance. Manuela graduated cum laude with a Bachelors in Government from Harvard University.
Executive Director, Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing
Co-Director, Project South
Interim Director, Andrus Family Fund