Working classroom Credit: John Acosta / W

The Collective Action and Resistance Education (C.A.R.E) program is a collaborative partnership between the fronteristxs collective, Working Classroom and the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP). C.A.R.E creates a unique perspective for students who are speaking back to social, institutional and political forces that are affecting their communities. 

Dare to C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E program derives from the DARE program that began in the 80s. Originally the DARE program was taught by law enforcement officers in LA to create a new drug resistance education program for elementary students. Unlike DARE, C.A.R.E recruits abolitionists that work with students on sustainable solutions to drug abuse through transformative justice. 

Transformative Justice (TJ) is an approach to responding to violence, harm and abuse that sets out to transform the conditions that allow harm to occur in the first place. C.A.R.E has created a TJ model for working through conflict on many scales without relying on policing and the criminal legal system. hazel batrezchavez, an artist, abolitionist organizer and educator, said that C.A.R.E emerged from questions like these: How can we create leadership and abolitionist movements? How can we create real transformative justice while working with youth?

“Transformative justice is not something that is taught in schools. C.A.R.E creates a different approach to thinking about violence and harm that deviates from society’s definition of punishment,” batrezchavez says,

Moving Forward through Collaboration 

C.A.R.E. will be giving students an honorarium of $400 each at the completion of the program and 20 students have been selected to participate. C.A.R.E. aims to engage young people in a parallel series of workshops about Transformative Justice. The workshops pair art and activism; and writing and activism. Students will elect either one of these two tracks. The C.A.R.E. program is designed for students in middle school and high school. 

Holding space for the continued change of the pandemic and experimenting with new program formats that embrace transformative justice has been the focus of non-profits like Working Classroom, one of the collaborative partners for C.A.R.E. Madelena Salazar, Executive Director of Working Classroom says, “Social-emotional learning is a major part of arts learning, connecting to ourselves and our own creativity and healing practices.”

Community programming, collaborations, and community partnerships have taken center stage for the students to continue to flourish. In the spring of 2022 Working Classroom will be partnering with UNM’s Computer Science Department in their second year of grant programming. Artist Nani Chacon, Professor Leah Buechley and PhD candidate Alyshia Bustos will be working with students in the spring to create interactive, LED lights and murals with students.

C.A.R.E is a ten-week hybrid program that runs through May 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-7:00 pm at Working Classroom. The workshops are held at Working Classroom and on Zoom. Tuition is free. For questions contact,