Freedom To Thrive’s mission is to abolish the punishment-based carceral systems through transformative organizing, strategic partnerships and convening shared learning spaces. Our work centers around combating crimmigration– the intersection of criminal-legal and immigration enforcement– using a Pro Black, gender-affirming lens.
Our vision of change is grounded in collaborative partnerships and network organizing. We are intentional about supporting the capacity of groups on the ground to create change, while connecting them to national partnerships that unify and advance the work. We believe in strategic campaigning, shared learning and relationship-building across races and genders, and investing in the healing and leadership of communities most impacted by criminalization. We are organizing for a world where Black and brown communities are safe and can thrive, and have resources to build from along with relationships rooted in mutual dignity. And we believe that we will win.
At Freedom to Thrive, we practice the movement we are building. This means:
- Investing in Black leadership and Black liberation
- Supporting leadership of youth, women, and gender non-conforming people
- Generating collective healing and wellness
- Practicing transformative solutions to harm
- Caring for all of our communities, leaving no one behind
- Building in collaboration not competition
- Practicing accountability to each other and our principles
Freedom to Thrive’s Pro-Black Organizing Principles:
- Black people are decision-makers in the systems, processes and practices that lead and sustain their lives
- Acknowledging past and current racial inequities and providing people most impacted by anti Black racism the infrastructure and resources needed to thrive
- Black people are valued and recognized in naming their reality, describing how systems of oppression impact their lives and developing solutions that center their leadership needs and heal anti Black violence
- Individuals, organizations and systems are committed to abolishing white supremacy by addressing the legal, political, social, cultural, economic and historical contributions to anti Blackness
- Abolishing prisons, police forces, military forces, immigration enforcement, border patrol and any government or non-government entity terrorizing Black people and communities
- Black people experiencing joy that reverberates through generations
- Black people embodying Black love for ourselves, each other, and our communities
Freedom to Thrive (formerly Enlace) is a national convener of Black and brown organizations fighting for reinvestment in our communities and an end to the punishment-based criminal and immigration systems.
Partners and allies of Freedom to Thrive are the backbone and strategists behind the Prison Industry Divestment Campaign, and the Freedom Cities & Freedom Campuses Movement to address criminalization and incarceration.
Together with partners and allies we engage in long-term movement building across races and sectors, building trust and collaboration, and bringing down the walls that prevent us from addressing the root causes of harm we experience.
Freedom to Thrive was founded by Peter Cervantes-Gautschi and a binational leadership committee of visionary leaders, originally under the name Enlace, which means “link” in Spanish. In 1998, Peter brought together dozens of worker-based organizations from Mexico and the United States for a week of strategic brainstorming about the major obstacles preventing wins for low-wage workers. It was from that convening that Enlace was born. Enlace trained hundreds of workers in organizing strategy and strengthening internal systems for small organizations to sustain long-term campaigns, and win, against seemingly unwinnable targets: transnational corporations. Enlace led campaigns that won strategic victories for working people, including the first secret-ballot election in Mexico, a national contract for all tire workers in Mexico, and the groundbreaking four-year campaign of Enlace member SEDEPAC against the Sara Lee Corporation in Coahuila, Mexico, which resulted in an unprecedented union neutrality agreement by Sara Lee. In 2011, Enlace launched the Prison Industry Divestment Campaign to take on one of the largest barriers to worker organizing: the prison and detention system that criminalizes, incarcerates and deports working people of color. From Enlace to Freedom to Thrive: Over ten years, the Prison Industry Divestment campaign grew to be one of the most prominent national campaigns uniting Black and brown communities against criminalization. In 2018, our organization transitioned from Enlace to Freedom to Thrive to signal our commitment to building a united movement against criminalization, and for reinvestment in communities impacted by the punishment-based criminal and immigration systems.