City Council Award to Floyd D. Harris’ Freedom School

City Council Award to Floyd D. Harris’ Freedom School

On June 23, 2016, Rev. Dr. Floyd D. Harris Jr. received an award from the Fresno City Council for his Freedom School summer program that began last year. Councilmen Oliver Baines III gave Harris the award at the City Council meeting. Photo: Standing with his students, including his son Floyd Harris III in blue, Rev. Harris is second from the right. Councilman Baines is on the far right. Below is information on this summer’s program and more photos from the award ceremony. Photos by Hannah Brandt.


All classes start on 7-20-16

1. Automotive Maintenance – Participants will learn the do’s and don’ts of vehicles, including how to properly inspect and regularly perform maintenance and repair. This course will begin with a basic introduction to your vehicle: car, truck, van, etc…, what you should know about your vehicle’s make, model and year, and how to navigate your owner’s manual. Next, participants will learn the vehicle’s basic areas of maintenance, such as vehicle body, doors (function and locks), hood, trunk, windows, mirrors (cleanliness, adjustment for driving and repair), tire maintenance and air pressure, nails, cracks and wear, dashboard, wipers, gadgets, oil lights, and checking fluids (transmission, coolant, windshield wipers, power steering and breaking). In addition, the class will learn the function and proper maintenance of hoses, signal lights (blinkers and high beams), heating and air conditioning (defrost, rain), as well as how to identify engine and wheel size, the importance and role of the fuse box, and how to use a car jack for tire and other repairs.

2. Book Club– Students who like reading can decide from a pre-selected list of books or choose to bring one of their own. Participants are expected to make a selection they can discuss during class or they may submit a (1-2 paragraph) synopsis of their book. The Book Club will be fun and entertaining if you love books!

  1. Culture, Science, and Culinary Arts– Getting STEAMy in the Kitchen: This 6-session series is designed to be intergenerational and participants can come to any or all sessions. Youth will hone their reading, language arts, science, math, and research skills while learning about a Central Valley staple crop and a star in African American soul food cuisine: the PEACH! Participants will first learn more about the history, agricultural science, and culture of peaches from different perspectives. Students will also have the opportunity to adopt an organic peach tree at Masumoto Farms in Del Rey, which involves attending an orientation on the farm and going to either of two different harvesting sessions (probably the last two Saturday’s in July). Then, students will work as a team to can, dry, cook and freeze the harvest and to host a Peach Festival showcasing their accomplishments and newly learned knowledge with family members and community. The youth participants will enter some of the canned and baked goods into the Junior Exhibit at the Big Fresno Fair. This session is being led by Dr. Dvera Saxton, an assistant professor of anthropology (the study of peoples and cultures) from Fresno State. Course goals consist of:

First Session: Reading about peaches. Wednesday, July 13, 6-8 PM Harvesting Orientation TBA (required for 6-12 members of picking teams) Second Session: Researching peach varieties and recipes. Wednesday, July 20, 6-8 PM Third and Fourth Sessions: Peach Harvesting at Masumoto Farms. TBA, pending peach ripening schedule, likely last two Saturdays in July from 4:30 AM  – 11:30 AM Fifth and Sixth Sessions: Peach Processing and Cooking.  August 6 & 7 (times TBD—likely 8 am – 2 pm on 8/6 and 2 pm – 6 pm 8/7)

  1. Farming – The farming session will be a six-week program dedicated to teaching adults and youth the proper uses of farm equipment.  Everyone will learn how to plow rows and safely attach various pieces of equipment to the tractor. Participants will also learn how to water plants and to clear-out weeds. Participants will also understand techniques on how to harvest and sell vegetables for the local farmer’s market. The class will meet every Saturday at 6am, at New Light for New Life Church of God, 1106 W. Woodward Fresno, Ca. 93706

(Class starts at _6:00_ am – 9:00 am). (Course dates: 6/ , 7 / , 7 / , 7 / , 7 / , 8/)

  1. Journalism– Participants will be exposed to journalistic concepts and techniques in the art of storytelling. The main purpose of this course will be to conceptualize, layout and develop an organizational newsletter.

(Course GoalThe Voice of Freedom newsletter will be a collection of experiences from participants and their parents as they cultivate their personal and cultural view to develop techniques and understanding for storytelling.

(Class starts at 10:00 am – 10:50 am). (Course dates, 6-29, 7-6, 7-13, 7-20, 7-27, 8-3)

  1. Personal Development – Dr. Jean Kennedy of Atlanta, Georgia will teach a course for all ages, in STEM – Personal Development.  This class will deal with communication and social skills, including an understanding of emotional intelligence.  The course will be a hands-on, fun and an interactive experience, while utilizing the sciences in both a clever and playful way.  The course will also utilize storytelling and facilitate interpersonal and intercultural centric circles and activities.   This is sure to be an exciting class for all ages in the Freedom School.  Come and have fun with Dr. Jean!
  1. Self-Defense, Safety, and Disciple Classes– by Mr. Abdul-Walee Robinson (Imam, Minister of Tauheed Movement) will provide self-defense, safety, discipline and instruction in the following sciences:

1.)  Stretching and Body Conditioning- Before any workout or activities with the body, one must properly know how to stretch as well as breathe correctly to ensure maximum output and minimize injuries. 2.) Heart/Mind Conditioning- This entails cardio sciences; jogging, push-ups, sit-ups etc. 3.) The Art of Wrestling- Not that fake wrestling that we see on T.V but the true science of wrestling: Roman Greco/Freestyle. 4.) Martial Arts: The teaching of different sciences for discipline (Tae Kwon Do/Kung Fu). 5.) Motivational Speaking/Life Stories- In reaching the youth, we must understand the plights that they are going through in their everyday lives (Bullying, peer-pressure etc) thus we should mentor them and give them advice that will help them in making better decisions in society, as well as learning how to deal w/ certain problems or situations.

Mr. Walee is dedicated to establishing a productive and positive society. He also believes in sharing the responsibility to nurture, maintain and teach youth the manners, morals, and maturity he wishes for them to exude throughout their environment.  “It takes a community to raise a child.” says Mr. Walee. “As one who is a part of this community and knows the twists and turns of society, it is incumbent on me to try to make a change as much as possible.”

  1. Sewing & Knitting– Students will learn basic sewing practices, which include; fabric choice, pattern choice, basting, hand sewing and sewing machine operation and maintenance. Students will also have a choice of starter projects that include; pot holders, aprons, lap quilts, and a flag for the classroom.
  1. Video Production– Participants will understand what production skills are required for creating a 30 second, public service announcement. Participants will learn techniques in video production such as; script writing, outlining and storyboarding, lighting and backdrops for a video shoot.

(Course Goal) The goal of this class is to develop and produce a 30-second organizational video of this year’s 2016 Freedom School activities. Participants will highlight the individual benefits of attending Freedom School and how its activities are shaping the understanding of community development.

(Class starts at 11:15 am to 12:20 noon). (Course dates, 6-29, 7-6, 7-13, 7-20, 7-27, 8-3)


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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