Monday, August 11, 2008

The Re:Construction Period

THE RE:CONSTRUCTION PERIOD™ (TRP) develops and cultivates innovative curriculum and programming to support youth organizations, institutions and communities. TRCP’s programs and curriculum are designed to enhance young people's ability to identify their passion, excel in a technological and media-driven world and make significant social change locally and internationally.

Specific Goals

Using techniques in media education, leadership training, and personal development, TRCP creates youth programs and curriculum that:
  • Exposes young people to new ideas and cultural perspectives;
  • Challenge them creatively;
  • Help them develop critical thinking, public speaking and literacy skills; and
  • Provide them with the knowledge, tools, and relationships they need to generate powerful, insightful action toward social change.


Booker T. Washington shares his view of the Reconstruction Period in America in his autobiography Up From Slavery. In it he says:

"It could not have been expected that a people who had spent generations in slavery ... could at first form any proper conception of what an education meant. In every part of the South, during the Reconstruction period, schools, both day and night, were filled to overflowing with people of all ages and conditions, some being as far along in age as sixty and seventy years. The ambition to secure an education was most praiseworthy and encouraging. The idea, however, was too prevalent that, as soon as one secured a little education, in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world ..."

THE RE:CONSTRUCTION PERIOD™ (TRP) is committed to returning the “ambition to secure an education” to young people. The programs and curriculum created for schools, organizations, and communities are designed to provide youth with opportunities to explore mediums to free themselves from disempowering and predictable futures. TRP focuses on three main areas in its programming: Media, Arts, and Activism. We are a youth development organization that believes young people, when given the resources, have solutions to the world’s most complex problems. We also believe that when given access to information, tools of advocacy and mediums for self-expression, young people are pre-disposed to leadership and community-building.

Through this model, THE RE:CONSTRUCTION PERIOD™ seeks to examine and challenge systems of oppression aimed toward youth of color. The young people of TRCP work together to dismantle the mental, emotional, and cultural impediments that mock their dreams and to improve the lives of those, including themselves and their communities, whose dreams and goals have been deferred.


As a second year math teacher in a public school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Jamilah Seifullah recognized a number of her students were on the verge of dropping out of school. The reasons varied – problems at home, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, bullying, failing grades and special needs, and an overall disinterest in the educational paradigm. Her belief in the resilience and innate passion of young people led her to a brainstorming session with Sallomé Hralima – an educator, youth organizer, and close friend. Together they researched successful youth programming in New York City and identified what was missing for the young people Ms. Seifullah worked with daily. What they determined was that programs that are mostly youth-led, focused on their passions, included media and arts, and occurred within and outside of schools are most effective in supporting youth in taking control of their own education and ultimately their futures.

In October 2007, without 501(c) 3 status, a board, administrative staff, or funding, The Re:Construction Period™ began with Reel to Real Talk (an after-school program at Frederick Douglass Academy IV) and The Stoop (a Saturday community program open to youth borough-wide). It has grown from two programs to five in less than a year. To date, over twenty individuals and organizational leaders have requested that TRCP recreate their two flagship programs in their schools and communities.

Though all TRCP’s programming is done presently within the
New York City area, its vision is global.

Overview of Programs and Projects

The Stoop - The Stoop’s mission is to create an empowering reciprocal relationship between teens who are taking their destinies into their own hands and successful urbanites who are examples of those destinies fulfilled, thereby building a powerful intergenerational cultural and professional network.

The Stoop Promo from PlanIt Brooklyn on Vimeo.

Reel to Real Talk (RtRT) - A two semester media art project that has students view independent films, have meaningful conversations in groups, take action inspired by the films, and create documentaries of their own.

Battle of the Bands BK (BOB) - A benefit concert that merges youth, activism, and music. BOB is an event that will host New York high school acts in a musical talent competition and encourage youth to become active humanitarians. Proceeds from the concert and the BOB winner of the concert will be chosen by the audience. Visit their blog.

Frederick Douglass Academies Academic and Cultural Exchange (FACE) An annual 5-day competition amongst Frederick Douglass Academies in New York. FACE’s mission is to unify all of the FDAs, to propel the FDA brand within the academic community, and to serve as a model for innovative programming. FACE provides academic and creative problem-solving opportunities for students in junior high and high school. Competitions include: Black History Bowl, Academic Bowl, and Poetry/Spoken Word Competition.