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.

Past Conference Locations:

  • 2007 – Chicago, IL
  • 2009 – Houston, TX
  • 2011 – Providence, RI
  • 2013 – Chicago, IL
  • 2015 – Oakland, CA
  • 2017 – Baltimore, MD
  • 2019 – Twin Cities, MN
  • 2021 – Virtual

Questions about the conference? Please contact us at FMFP@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.
  • Cultivate spaces where participants can collectively develop and deepen practices as learners committed to justice.
  • Support the growth of education for liberation work in the host city/region and showcase host city’s existing education for liberation work during the gathering.
  • Create a planning process and conference space that promote the leadership of those most affected by education injustice, particularly youth, as well as parents/families, educators and community activists.
  • Strengthen our understanding of educational injustice in relation to other forms of assault, both nationally and internationally, on communities of color and low-income communities. These assaults include (but are not limited to) poverty, incarceration, theft of land and/or labor, violence and genocide.
  • Support and catalyze social movements around education for liberation that respond to the urgency of the threats to our communities.
  • Co-create a space with participants that is courageous, welcoming, respectful and human, in which we can discuss, share, imagine and heal.


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