“In only seven words, what is your freedom dream for California’s next century?”
That was the prompt shared with dozens of California youth as part of a creative virtual workshop on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2022. California 100 and Wakanda Dream Lab organized this event in preparation for Black History Month in February, and see this as an important step in empowering young leaders, and especially young people of color, to envision, strategize, and act on building a more innovative and equitable future.
At the workshop, Californians as young as 12 and up to 30 imagined the futures they hoped to see in the next one hundred years. What did they have to say? Check out the California Freedom Dreaming workshop recap here and read a sample of the dreams below:
“Young people are central to California 100’s work and this partnership with the Wakanda Dream Lab is the first of many youth-focused initiatives our team seeks to incubate, in order to ensure that our final vision is inclusive of young dreams,” said Karthick Ramakrishan, executive director of California 100.
Wakanda Dream Lab’s Calvin Williams and Naudika Williams facilitated the virtual session, inviting the rising generation of California visionaries to tap into their most irresistible freedom dreams for the next century. You can review some of the responses here.
“Youth reclaimed the space to create their most irresistible freedom dreams,” said Calvin Williams, executive director of the Wakanda Dream Lab. “We must never cease to contend for our dreamspace and give our young people the permission to dream so they can not only be part of, but be leaders, in the conversations about California’s future.”
California 100 is seeking to develop a vision and strategy for California’s long term success that is equitable, sustainable and inclusive. Central to this work is the perspectives of young people. California 100’s engagement team includes two positions to lead youth engagement work.
California 100 announced research awards in July to 18 centers and institutes across the state that will examine future scenarios with the potential to shape California’s leadership in the coming century, with a focus on 13 priority research areas. The research and scenarios are in final review and will be shared with the public this spring. The research will later be tested through deliberative polling exercises and engagement sessions directly with Californians in 2022.
The goal of California 100 is to lift up and support transformative ideas, people and projects that accelerate progress with a focus on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. In addition to sponsoring original work, the California 100 Platform will promote the best of what is happening in California. Through these various projects and activities, California 100 seeks to move California towards an aspirational vision—changing policies and practices, attitudes and mindsets, for a more vibrant future.
About the facilitators
Calvin Williams: Calvin is a founding creator of Wakanda Dream Lab, producing the Black Freedom Beyond Borders fan fiction anthologies and augmented art exhibit at Betti Ono. He conspires with fellow afrofuturists to produce immersive spaces for new stories and storytellers of liberation to emerge. He lives in Oakland with his Beloveds, Leila & Baby Malik.
Naudika Williams: Naudika loves sci-fi and fantasy, especially the writing of Octavia E. Butler. Writing is Naudika’s own way of creating new worlds. Naudika has garnered many accolades including the Sargent Shriver Youth Warriors Against Poverty and performed spoken word at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and CounterPulse. Naudika was born in Oakland and attends SF State and hopes to be a screenwriter for cartoons and movies.
About California 100
The mission of California 100 is to strengthen California’s ability to collectively solve problems and shape our long-term future—through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and engagement—by identifying, mobilizing, and supporting champions for innovative and equitable solutions.
About Wakanda Dream Lab
Wakanda Dream Lab is a boutique cultural strategy agency that specializes in the design, curation, and production of immersive storytelling campaigns for social impact. We produce collective stories of irresistible futures by engaging community partners in worldbuilding workshops rooted in the cultural practices, emerging technologies and visionary aesthetics of afrofuturism.
Amir Khadar is a Sierra Leonean-American multidisciplinary artist and educator from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their main mediums are poetry, fibers, and digital art. Regardless of medium, their practice has always been grounded through afro-futurism, black beauty, and ancestral practices. They were Creative Director and Designer of “Black Freedom Beyond Borders: Memories of Abolition Day.” Amir is currently a student at Swarthmore College.