• Bust of Paulo Freire
Attallah College of Educational Studies

» Paulo Freire Democratic Project

The Paulo Freire Democratic Project (PFDP) is a collection of local, regional, and international initiatives based in Chapman University’s Attallah College of Education Studies. These initiatives reflect the political, pedagogical, and ethical imperatives of the great Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, and capture his democratic struggle for social justice. Originally supported by the Jack H. and Paula A. Hassinger Chair in Education, the PFDP began at Chapman’s Attallah College in 1996. It is the living and lasting effect of the inspiration of Paulo Freire upon the hearts, minds, and work of academic scholars and community activists.

Starting with a small group of Chapman professors dedicated to certain core principles concerning education and justice, the project has since grown in numbers. Academic scholars and graduate students from a number of institutions and disciplines, as well as community activists, are part of the project. Through dialogue and action, members re-envision the philosophy of Freire in our contemporary moment. Critical consciousness of injustice and oppression, as well as the material and epistemological forces that perpetuate it in education become the work of the project.


The Call from Tajaun

By Charlotte Achieng-Evensen


Collective Remembering

the collective body

              myself turned inward

              myself turned outward

              Love as commitment to others (Freire).

collective re- member-ing


              Love as a commitment to others (Freire)


              the names of the fallen…


Breonna. transformation.  George Floyd.

transformation. Chadwick. Inspiration

transformation: Daniel Prude. Collective.

remembering: Emmett.


You ask us to disrupt. Resist. Transform.

A moment of JOY.

              Name. Speak. Learn. Act.

              Love as a commitment (Freire)


Statement Against Racism and Police Violence

Grounded in the principles and teachings of the Brazilian educational philosopher Paulo Freire, the Paulo Freire Democratic Project at Chapman University is a group of critical educators, public intellectuals and community activists who work towards attaining a more humane, equitable, and just society through critical educational practices that are anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-gender normative, and anti-capitalist. As such, we vehemently denounce the abuses inherent in the violent policing of the Black community and other communities of color. These practices and those of vigilantes have led to the unjustifiable deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Corey Jones, and many others over the years. As Freire warned, “Engaged in the process of liberation, [we] cannot remain passive in the face of the oppressor’s violence.”

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist groups who demand that we value the life of every Black person. In recent weeks hundreds of interracial and intergenerational protests have erupted throughout the country and the world in support of the victims of police brutality and their families. The purpose of these protests has been to demand justice and the cessation of police brutality against Black Americans. We are filled with rage and deeply saddened at the continued loss of Black lives. However, we are greatly inspired by the boundless courage of Black people who are, once again, leading the fight for justice in the current global protests. When one candle is lit, there is hope; when many candles are lit, there is promise.

We call for a dismantling of racism and other systems of oppression that dehumanize our communities of color, including the prison industrial complex that serves as an arm of the state to ensure white supremacy and capitalist interests. We argue for community-based, restorative alternatives to the punitive systems of state repression represented by the police. We are in support of holistic social programs aimed at the health, welfare and empowerment of local communities and their development. 

James Baldwin once said that, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." We kneel united with our Black brothers and sisters with compassion and we are committed to face those who deprive them of life and liberty with steadfast determination. We refuse to be seduced into piecemeal reform once again or to acquiesce to a gradual decline of tyrannical policing. ¡Basta ya! Enough!

While racism permeates all levels of society, we recognize the roles that class exploitation within capitalist societies play in perpetuating and sustaining racism, police violence, extraordinary levels of poverty, underemployment, and homelessness. These must be attended to through a common ownership of the wealth, goods, services, and economic means of production. In educational institutions, this means organizing around the shared democratic means of socially produced knowledge

As educators concerned with the lives and welfare of our students, we also call for increased support to schools and teachers. This support includes curricular changes that include critical pedagogy, culturally responsive and sustaining teaching, and ethnic studies, which affirm cultural diversity and funds of knowledge in communities of color. It is with conviction that we prepare educators to do the important work of building respect, understanding, and inclusivity in all young people so that we can live in a world where diversity is celebrated, and social relations are rooted in love and dignity for every human being and all life.

The views expressed here are those of the PFDP members and do not represent those of Chapman University.

PFDP Resources

View the Edu Blog of Co-Director of The Paulo Freire Democratic Project, Peter L. McLaren, Ph.D.

Discover Chapman University's Leatherby Libraries Paulo Freire Archive

Read more about Freire's legacy