Service Spotlight: Crafting Change Agents (CCA)

I recently got in touch with Tayler, who told me about this amazing organization she's running called Crafting Change Agents (CCA). And because of how fitting it was for this website, I thought we should share the craft of giving. We asked Tayler a few questions to share her cross-cultural program with us (and we hope you try and get involved). This program is an intense cultural dialogue for African-American students and "coloured" South Africans. Yes, coloured. Don't take offense. Just keep reading...

What is CCA and how was it discovered?

Crafting Change Agents is a youth-led program that serves as a cross-cultural dialogue between black American (US) students and coloured* South African (RSA) students. This project aims to better understand the ways in which minority groups function within democratic societies and how greater participation in democratic processes can encourage peace. In order to promote social cohesion and the building of inclusive societies it is imperative that safe spaces be created where both intra- and inter -group conversations can be held. The goal is for both groups to gain a better understanding of one another’s culture and to better define their position within their community and political activism spaces. 

This project stems from my personal encounters in South Africa as a young black American woman that was consistently questioned about the reality of popular American culture that had permeated South African borders and specifically the *coloured South African community. Yet, upon my return to the United States, many Americans had never heard of *coloured South Africans, and attached many of the misleading stereotypes of Africa that are prevalent in American mass media. I knew that I had to do something in order to facilitate dialogue. 

With the help of Isabel Morgan, co facilitator, and the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation, we were able to successfully create this program.

What programs/projects have you recently launched?

The Crafting Change Agents is structured in two phases.

In Phase I, six students from Spelman, Morehouse and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health engaged in weekly-structured digital conversations with seven students from the University of Cape Town and the University of the Western Cape to explore US and RSA history, critical race theory, and political and community activism. US students traveled  to Cape Town to meet their RSA colleagues to participate in Phase II of the program.

In Phase II of the Crafting Change Agents program six U.S. students embarked on a journey to Cape Town, South Africa to bond and create lasting friendships with seven South African students. Scholars had the opportunity to meet with an academic professor, the U.S. Consul General, a journalist , a filmmaker, instructors and school administrators and community youth activists to bring to life their scholarly understanding of the Black experience in South Africa. Likewise American students shared their experiences as being black in America and what that means in 2015 to various South African audiences.

In collaboration with the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation, the Crafting Change Agents Program hosted a Night of Reflection at the District 6 Museum in Cape Town, SA. The evening started with a short-film about the Nama people (a South African ethnic group) and their struggle to maintain ownership of their land. As the night progressed our feature event showcased talented youth activists, poets, and performers eager to share their craft with the community. 

What are some of CCA’s future plans?

In the future, we will expand this project to include more students from both Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as well as Predominately White Institutions (PWIs). Future iterations of this program will be reflective of an inter-generational perspective by having multiple generations respond to these topics. 

How can people get involved?

We are currently seeking a volunteer Web Developer & Social Marketer to create and manage our organization’s online presence. CCA is also in need of a volunteer Grant Writer to identify and apply for grants to help support our initiatives. If you think that Crafting Change Agents is the right place for you, please contact us at tulmer@scmail.spelman.edu

What inspired you to give back?

People of color around the world are oppressed by similar systems of power, yet many people of color believe their experience is unique to their circumstance. By uniting youth that are actively working to improve their communities, they will know that they are not alone. We hope to spark a global movement of young leaders that want more for their communities.

How to get in contact

We shared a small snippet of what CCA has to offer. If you want to read the full details of the interview post, head over here.

+ Check out the CCA 2015 Final Report for more info. 

Email them now to get involved.