Mission and Goals


Free Minds, Free People is a national conference that brings together teachers, young people, researchers, parents and community-based activists/educators from across the country to build a movement to develop and promote education as a tool for liberation. We seek to develop ways of teaching and learning both in and out of school that help us to build a more just society. The conference is a space in which these groups can learn from and teach each other, sharing knowledge, experience and strategies.

The first conference took place in Chicago in 2007, the second in Houston in 2009, the third in Providence in 2011, the fourth was back in Chicago in 2013 and our last conference we were on the West Coast in Oakland, CA in 2015.

Questions about the conference? Please contact us at thomas@edliberation.org.


The goals of Free Minds, Free People are to:

  • Build and sustain relationships and solidarity among diverse people who are committed to justice-oriented education and community work.
  • Help participants develop and deepen their practice as learners and educators committed to justice.
  • Support the development of education for liberation work in the host city and region and showcase this work during the gathering.
  • Create a planning process and conference space that promotes leadership for those most deeply affected by education injustice, particularly youth, as well as parents, educators and community activists.
  • Place education injustice and mis-education into a context of national and international attacks on communities of color and low-income communities—an assault that includes poverty, incarceration, theft of resources, exploitation of workers, displacement, state-sanctioned violence, and genocide.
  • Respond to the urgency of the threats our communities face by creating space to build relationships and power to support and catalyze social movements around education for liberation.
  • Offer participants a space that is welcoming, respectful and human, in which they can discuss, share, heal, create and collectively imagine a better world.


Most amazing conference ever attended.
—Teacher, CA

Very well organized and fun! It was stimulating and very interactive. The people doing the workshops were amazing.
—High school student, IL

I will remember how the students perceive their schools and give some space for that in my classroom.
—Teacher, NM

I learned wonderful activities and met wonderful people/possibilities for collaboration that will greatly enhance our program. Thanks!
—Community-based educator/organizer, DC

For me, the participation of young people was at the top of my list. There was a lot of great grassroots, radical and transformative energy.
—University faculty, MD

The diversity! As a white woman, I was finally dialoguing with other people from very different backgrounds than mine.
—College student, IL

It was a great conference. I loved it. It was like we all had something in common and we shared our struggles and achievements. Inspiring.
—High School student, UT

The conference gave us time to think big, which is always helpful and necessary.
—Community-based educator/organizer, IL