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Our Week of BAYM!

Another summer has ended and a new school year has begun. Any summer at PSU wouldn’t be complete without our week-long organizing and leadership institute, BAYM (Building A Youth Movement)! Knowing that this schools year will present more challenges than ever before, as our schools continue to be under-resourced and under-funded, BAYM was especially important to prepare us for a whole new school year of organizing. BAYM was held the second to last week of summer. Here are some of the highlights!

We began the week by connecting the what we see and feel in our schools to what we see and feel in our communities. We mapped out the issues to better understand them.

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Our brainstorm of the issues in our schools and communities.

We also discussed different kinds of organizations to better understand the work that PSU does. We learned that organizational models generally fall into one of three categories: Service, Advocacy or Organizing. PSU primarily does organizing. We defined an organizing organization as one that “focuses on the process of bringing people togerher in order to use their collective power to win improvements in peoples’ lives and to challenge the power structure. In short ‘Unite to Fight'”.

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PSU organizer, Ebony, explains the different types of organizations: Service, Advocacy, and Organizing.

We spent the next couple of days in workshops and discussions educating ourselves on the issues in Philadelphia and designing our campaign strategy for the year. The issues we focused on were the school budget crisis, school closures, local control, prison expansion, and school discipline. We also collectively decided criteria for our campaigns. We decided that our campaigns should be, among other things, winable, deeply and widely felt and focused on shifting power structures.

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PSU members, Minh and Brian, during our conversations about campaign criteria.

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PSU members at BAYM in discussion with PSU’s Executive Director, Hiram.

During BAYM, we also took time to understand everyone’s roles. We developed our membership form and created definitions and responsibilities for what it means to be a base, member, leader, core and organizer. We discussed how leadership gets developed and how we can involve more students in PSU.

At the end of BAYM, we celebrated! All students recieved certificates and appreciations for their week of hard thinking and strategizing. We also began to screen print flags to bring to rallies!

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PSU members screen printing flags with our logo on them.

Throughout the week of BAYM, students’ energy was high and we felt ready to build our organization and movement to be stronger than ever before. As PSU enters it’s 20th year, we felt excited to work with more youth leaders so that we can fight for the high quality schools we all deserve.

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