2018 ABCs

The 2018 Alternative Break Citizenship schools (ABCs)

Placemaking & Public Art in Evolving Spaces
June 3 - 8 | Atlanta, GA
Hosted in partnership with Emory University

The benefits of art in public places are countless - it promotes social cohesion, adds life and beauty to neighborhoods, and tells the stories of people and history often left in the margins. Atlanta has consistently invested in public art - in 2010, the Beltline project initiated the creation of a four-mile outdoor gallery for residents and visitors; five years later, the city launched its free Public Art Tour app; and in 2017, Atlanta invested 4.4 million dollars in new public art acquisition. An unanticipated consequence lies in the increasing demand for space - as communities develop, investment in public art can bring tensions over community identity to the forefront. This ABCs will consider the correlation between art and gentrification - specifically looking at the history of public art in Atlanta, the types of projects and artists that are supported and commissioned, and the complicated relationship between long-term residents and contemporary art initiatives.

The Atlanta ABCs will also feature a three-day staff development track. 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.

The Hands That Rebuild: Workers' Rights in the Wake of Disaster
June 17 - 22 | Houston, Texas
Hosted in partnership with Rice University and the University of Houston

Houston’s immigrant workforce, as many as three-quarters of whom are undocumented, were the first to enter areas affected by the hurricane to do the critical work of cleaning and rebuilding. Although crucial to the recovery process - laborers, especially immigrant laborers - often experience exploitation, unsafe working conditions, and wage theft. Organizations like The Workers Defense Project and Fe Y Justicia are among many who have implemented effective organizing strategies to improve occupational health and safety conditions for many low-wage workers in Texas: using formal unions and informal networks advocating for public safety campaigns and more inclusive policies. At this ABCs, we’ll partner with a variety of groups and resource centers in Texas who are making notable strides to protect the rights of workers.

The Shifting Principles & Practices of Housing Policy
July 8 - 13 | Salt Lake City, Utah
Hosted in partnership with the University of Utah

In the world of alternative breaks, topics of Affordable Housing and Homelessness are consistently some of the most frequently addressed trip focus areas. In 2015, Salt Lake City was deemed a national leader and praised for “solving homelessness” when they embraced a housing first approach - choosing to provide shelter for people as they are, without the restrictions associated with the traditional shelter model. In the years since, the more complicated reality of the city’s relationship with the homeless population has surfaced, and many community members continue to experience homelessness. In August of 2017, City Leadership transitioned its focus to public safety initiatives - launching a two-year, $67 million dollar plan that has so far made over 2,000 arrests near the city’s largest shelter. At this ABCs, we’ll examine multiple approaches to homelessness - ranging from providing hospitality and addressing immediate needs to larger issues of displacement and criminalization. We’ll work alongside local organizations who are providing necessary services and addressing homelessness at the systemic level.

America’s Best Idea: Common Ground in Uncommon Spaces
July 22-27 | Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
Hosted in partnership with the National Park Service

For more than 100 years, the National Park Service has been a cornerstone of our nation’s past and present - committed to the preservation and protection of our country’s land and culture. In an effort to increase access and inclusion within its workforce and individual park units, they’ve provided spaces to highlight stories of marginalized communities; worked to preserve and restore indigenous lands and artifacts; and created initiatives to increase citizens’ involvement in parks. The future of the National Park Service, however, may be set on a different course as their newest five-year strategic plan moves toward different priorities. Join us near our nation’s capital to work within Prince William Forest Park while addressing the future of our public lands and what it means to build a nation of environmental stewards.

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 all-gender 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.