2017 ABCs

The 2017 Alternative Break Citizenship schools (ABCs)

Citizenship as Community: Reshaping an American Identity
June 4 - 9 | Atlanta, GA
Hosted in partnership with Freedom University and Emory University

In our current political climate, U.S. principles of equity and fairness are pitted against principles of national sovereignty and security. This juxtaposition challenges the boundaries of citizenship - placing undocumented immigrants at the center and Atlanta at ground zero. Georgia is home to some of the highest numbers of undocumented immigrants and is among a handful of states with the most restrictive laws and rights for individuals without documentation. In early 2016, Atlanta alone detained more people than any other U.S. city, while also ranking among the lowest in U.S. cities to grant deportation relief. This ABCs will challenge conventional narratives around immigration and citizenship while providing participants the opportunity to learn how we can work alongside our undocumented peers. We will partner with Freedom University to support advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns and existing programs for undocumented students who are systematically barred from the University System of Georgia.

Disability: Communities of Independence and Self-Determination
June 18 - 23 | Spartanburg, South Carolina
Hosted in partnership with University of South Carolina Upstate

“The ‘DIS’ prefix is not only ‘un’ and ‘not’ but also has a Latin and Greek derivative meaning ‘duo’ and ‘two’ hence another way of doing and being” - Heather Watkins. Contrary to the assumption that disabilities are barriers to full participation in society, with reasonable support services, adults with disabilities can holistically engage in their community. This ABCs will examine ways that disability is constructed not by one’s physical and/or mental impairments or difference(s), but by a society whose policies and institutions are designed to accommodate a narrow definition of “normal.” Five years later, we are thrilled to bring the ABCs back to Spartanburg to continue work with Christmas in Action - an organization who contributes to circumventing the historical institutionalization of individuals with disabilities. Participants will engage in roofing, painting, remodeling, and ramp construction projects that preserve affordable and accessible housing options for local residents to remain in place and live with dignity, safety, and independence.

The Spartanburg ABCs will also feature a three-day staff development track. Workshop descriptions and more information can be found here. Staff who work with break programs have the opportunity to attend the full ABCs and switch into the staff track for the last three days, or to just come for the final three days, depending on program needs.

Cultivating Ownership and Access through Sustainable Food Systems
July 9 - 14 | Keene, New Hampshire
Hosted in partnership with Keene State College

In the last few decades, conversations around food access have grown in sophistication and scope - considering all entities within a food system, including land, animals, workers, consumers, etc. Though the need for food is universal among all human beings, there is no universal solution for food justice for all. This ABCs, we’ll be exploring ways to center our food systems around sustainability and equity for the people and land involved in production, distribution, and consumption, rather than further investing in corporations that monopolize the sector. Throughout the week we’ll conceptualize community-specific needs, objectives, and action steps to build sustainable food systems in our own homes. Participants will serve alongside a number of local organizations whose missions ensure all members of their community have access to healthy and culturally appropriate food, nutritional education and awareness, and strong connections to local agriculture.

Minimizing Human Impact in a Changing Climate
July 22 - 28 | Grand Canyon National Park
Hosted in partnership with the National Park Service 

We know the basics - green for compost, blue for recycle, brown for trash. Yet humans produce over 1.3 billion tons of waste each year, and the United States alone is considered the highest waste-producing country in the world. Many of us give little thought to the trash we produce and often, even less to where it goes once it’s thrown away. Responding campaigns and narratives are often isolating or shame-producing for individuals, communities, and organizations; thus, it remains easy for the majority to feel disconnected from local and global waste-reduction efforts. This ABCs will confront our relationship with the earth, shaped in part by a societal decay of our environmental ethic. We’re honored to return to the Grand Canyon and continue our long-standing partnership with the National Park Service. Participants will engage in projects that support park staff in addressing the impact of trash and visitor traffic on the health of ecosystems in our nation’s parks.

Break Away strives to offer training that responds to the needs and talents of its participants. Every effort is made to ensure housing and meeting rooms at the ABCs have gender neutral bathrooms and are ADA compliant. Additionally, training sessions are designed to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles and abilities, and all service projects can be arranged to accommodate individual needs. Everyone is encouraged to include information on the registration form that will help us create a space for you to participate fully. If you have specific questions about accessibility or available accommodations at the ABCs, please contact Meghan Foley