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“In seven words, what is your freedom dream for California’s next century?”

That was the prompt presented to dozens of California youth as part of a creative virtual workshop on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2022. We teamed up with Wakanda Dream Lab to organize this workshop in preparation for Black History Month in February, and see this as an important step in empowering diverse communities, and especially young people of color, to envision, strategize, and act on building a more innovative and equitable future.

Check out the California Freedom Dreaming Jamboard from the workshop here.  

At the workshop, Californians as young as 12 years old and up to 30 imagined the futures they hoped to see in the next one hundred years. What did they have to say? Here’s a sample of their responses visualized with some of their responses in text below:

  • Empathy, compassion, honesty, strength, optimism, courage, persistence
  • Children’s congress protecting the land and water
  • Children find our ancestors’ blueprints and mistakes
  • California will become united under one vision
  • A big family is clean, safe, peaceful!
  • equal voice for a better California tomorrow
  • children have equal voice to govern California
  • Moving forward with young adults in leadership
  • Moving forward, children must be in leadership
  • California Youth become leaders with equal voices
  • The prayers we will answer as ancestors
  • New technology will push California’s economy forward !
  • Empathy and charity powering our future communities
  • Growing into freedom of expression and acceptance
  • A healthy planet with a bright future.
  • The sunken state becomes the new Atlantis
  • Youth of color leading California’s sustainable future
  • possibilities will be limitless if we’re free 
  • free expression of different ideas expressed. 
  • blatant corruption seen now should be gone 
  • safety is police accountability, no solitary confinement, 
  • rehabilitation that allows inmates to actually reintegrate 
  • The proper social programs to curb crime
  • cleaner, happier, and healthier future for all   
  • expanding education, housing, and general well being  
  • general well being of everyone and their community
  • I hope every need becomes more obtainable
  • A society wide change in criminal justice 
  • What justice can be outside of punishment.
  • People expressing themselves how they truly are  
  • Innovative leadership lead us through challenging times 
  • Repair the damage done to our planet. 
  • We will see and feel clearer skies 
  • Shared values for health, education and sustainability
  • Youth have power to lead on issues
  • reach the peace that is the valley
  • Everyone is entrusted with caring and leading 
  • Youth continue to be progressive about identity  
  • Elders listen, learn, and react in support  
  • A change in criminal justice and rehabilitation.
  • A state growing together with open-minded people
  • Freedom and ready access of virtual information 
  • Dream technology and economics will work together  
  • Charity, respect, accountability, and justice in California
  • Freedom of expression and practice of acceptance
  • Seeding hope for a better California future 
  • Our climate is strong and wildlife thriving
  • Our state is full of healthy trees 
  • Humanity finally makes peace with the Earth 
  • Using resources to help others, not harm 
  • Values of community, justice and climate sustainability
  • Black disabled people will lead California’s destiny
  • Our tech coded with joy and justice.
  • I hope my house is still here
  • Free ambulance rides from our burning homes
  • Empathy and charity powering our future communities
  • In full bloom, universal housing for all – 
  • Housing crisis will be a distant shade
  • heartful environment to achieve universal affordable housing

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 The Artist
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.