Improving educational outcomes is just part of a broader agenda of creating justice for low- and moderate-income communities. Its goals are both building community capacity and reforming schools.
HISTORY OF 482 FORWARD
482Forward grew out of trial by fire. Many of the founding organizations had previous relationships and shared work in Detroit, but came together for a special purpose– to create the 482Forward network.
Molly Sweeney and Jamila Martin, founding co-directors, convened a roundtable of community-based partners at Excellent Schools Detroit who were interested in engaging in education organizing in their neighborhoods. When ESD no longer wanted to support organizing, the partners felt so strongly about the work they had built together that they stood together to form an independent network and raise the necessary funding. The founding directors, staff, and leaders had a vision of leveraging social service communities toward organizing that would marry, rather than place at odds, immediate program work with long-term system change work.
Everything about 482Forward was formed collectively. Subcommittees learned about things like structure, membership, and conferences from other organizations and brought back recommendations that were adopted by the whole body. In particular, 482Forward representatives visited Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and had a number of learning conversations with them and Together Colorado. Everyone debated and consensed on issues like who should be on the board and whether or not members should pay dues.
The first group of organizers was hired directly from the parent leadership in each participating organization. Today, we have 10 staff, 5 interns, 12 participating organizations, and hundreds of dedicated students, parents, educators, and community members across Detroit working together to achieve education justice.