Star Institute for Conscious Organization’s origin was informed by a synergy between Students at the Center (a nationally recognized writing program created in New Orleans public high schools and refined in the spirit of the Black Arts Movement - Kalamu ya Salaam's NeoGriot process)) and Resurrection After Exoneration ( a community based transitional support and advocacy organization created by death row survivor and exonoree John Thompson). Our inception was informed by students, exonerated men, and Students at the Center pedagogy as we incorporated wrongful conviction and unjust incarceration investigation work efforts to free persons from greater confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola Prison) into the classroom experience and dialogical processes.The partnership was initiated within New Orleans public schools by Thompson, SAC Staff, and a Cabralista wrongful conviction investigator working with Innocence Project New Orleans beginning in the Fall of 2008.
Navigating the legacy of Mama Connie Tucker, the first black woman political prisoner after Rosa Parks and COINTELPRO survivor, we organized and applied a culturally relevant participatory action research focus centering exonerated men, public high school students, law students into a pedagogical process that has resulted in the liberation of incarcerated persons, incarceration prevention, true eduction for liberation, purposeful resistance and reimagining of communities victimized by prosecutorial misconduct, genocidal application of western laws, collective consciousness and successes in disrupting juvenile life without parole.
Our work and vision has evolved to encompass education toward liberation from systems of oppression - prison, academic, military, health-medical and underdevelopment. Central to these aims is the recognition that Black people possess the capacity to cultivate the power necessary to confront these systems while also cultivating the skills and tools to manifest a reality that enhances our quality of life. To achieve this we must simultaneously promote ancestor veneration, create and rebuild relationships of trust, accountability and reciprocity towards developing the communities, structures, purpose pathways, holistic healing and wellness offerings that ultimately inform a way of life necessary to enhance our existence as a people for the present and the foreseeable future.