Grantee Highlight March 2018

Home   Grantee Highlight March 2018

About Grantee:

Liberation School – Kentucky
The Liberation School emerged to strengthen the resiliency and support the leadership of a rural and urban multiracial, intergenerational cohort of changemakers who are key to impacting positive social, environmental and economic changes needed in their Southern and Appalachian communities.

Grant Amount $1,000


This grant helped offer training and grounding for School faculty to better empower the cohort. The cohort participated in a nine-month holistic leadership development program to allow them to engage in movement work for the long haul and train their communities to do the same.

Liberation School cohort members have incorporated countless practices, songs and learnings with their local community organizing work in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts and beyond. For example, in Florida one of our cohort members, Pamela Gomez, an immigrant rights organizer, taught songs they learned from Liberation School trainings. Additionally, Will Brummet of their faculty has shared cultural storytelling with an anti-racist men’s circle, Freedom Beyond in Boston Massachusetts.

Two of their cohort members were supported to step into bigger leadership positions. Judy Hatcher transitioned into an executive director role at Biodiversity Funders Group and Natalia Thompson to a position with Grassroots Leadership in Austin, Texas.

Deitrah Taylor, based in rural Georgia, is a cultural historian and dramaturg and produced a play around Detroit’s history. She has been deeply diving into her family’s ancestry. She recently completed her Reiki 1 training and is looking to incorporate this modality into her life and work with students.

Encalada Grez received her doctorate degree. Years before, Dr. Encalada Grez emigrated to Canada with her family, fleeing the USA-CIA-sponsored military coup and dictatorship in Chile. She became the first person in her immigrant/refugee working-class family to go to university and then into a PhD program in Social Justice Education at OISE of the University of Toronto. She prioritized migrant justice organizing over academia and found a way to defy binaries between community/organizing and academia and brought the voices and knowledges of Mexican migrant farmworkers into the ivory tower. She has received great support from Liberation School on this journey.


Liberation School led three online public workshops with the Liberatory Leadership Project around the topics of trauma and healing for movements, Emergent Strategy with adrienne maree brown and white anti-racism as a spiritual practice. Their fourth workshop was around healing our bodies from white supremacy.

Their cohort has committed to a deeper personal and collective ancestral healing practice as an imperative to build resilience and healing in People of Color (POC) and white communities.

In January 2018, they organized and led the POC and non-POC spiritual care space at the Mystic Soul Conference, a POC-led contemplative justice effort led by the amazing folks at Mystic Soul Project–a partner organization.

Liberation School organizing team members hosted a weekend of medicine making which allowed them to offer a traveling apothecary at both the Mystic Soul Conference and at Creating Change for LGBTQI2 changemakers.

Liberation School cohort members have incorporated countless practices, songs and learnings with their local community organizing work in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts and beyond.

 The Liberation School faculty organizing team and cohort are loving, kind and supportive in a way that is constantly inspiring! They have shared in over 25 sessions (in small practice groups and a large co-mentoring group), hundreds of posts in their private Facebook group and a weekly newsletter curating the best practices and celebrations of our movements.

They are entering into a 2018/19 visioning process that will include organizing faculty and the cohort to support the growth of and strengthen year two of Liberation School.

They recently secured their first major grant from the Angell Foundation for general operations.

They have been accepted to present on lessons from Liberation School at the 4W Gender and Women’s Studies Conference at UW-Madison on April 14, 2018. The title of our workshop is “Changemaker Resiliency: Impacts of a Holistic Leadership School

They are organizing and leading Healing Justice workshops and practice at the 19th annual Allied Media Conference in Detroit this June.


A special thank you to everyone who made this grant possible by contributing to the Appalachian Community Fund!