Founded in 2007, the mission of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS) is to create new generations of critical and independent thinking young people who use their unique experiences and power to create a just world.
CFS provides training and education opportunities for youth and adult allies to develop leadership skills through the lens of civic action and through the study of the history of social movements and their leaders. Our vision is in the spirit of the original freedom schools in Mississippi in the 1960s, with CFS serving as a catalyst for young people across Chicago to discover their own power to make change – not only for themselves, but also for their communities and the world.
- To develop, nurture, and support leadership among youth ages 14 – 21 across Chicago.
- To create a space where youth from across the city can gather to share ideas and knowledge about civil rights and social change.
- To educate youth and adults about the history of social justice movements from multiple perspectives in order to provide a platform for more thoughtful action and organizing in the present.
- To build the capacity of adult allies to understand and support youth-led social change.
- To develop, sponsor and engage in intergenerational dialogue that supports social justice and where opportunities for organizing for change.
Chicago Freedom School founders recognized a need for a citywide effort to provide space and educational opportunities for young people to gain new skills, build alliances across neighborhoods, identities and ideologies. CFS continues to be informed in purpose and program by the guiding principles and values established by our visionary founders.
Smart Growth – CFS’s Future Planning:
In late 2011, the Chicago Freedom School (CFS), embarked on an internal organizational assessment to define and commit itself to a path of “smart growth” for its next five years of operation. This work was conducted both with the services of an external consultant, as well as led internally by one of the Chicago Freedom School’s founders, along with the active support and engagement of CFS staff, Board, youth and other supporters.
Read the Executive Summary in its entirety here. The full report is available by request.