Homeless, jobless, high school dropouts hanging out in parking lots, doing nothing. These are the dispossessed youth that came together to end violence within and against low income communities of color in Madison, Wisconsin. Freedom Inc., one of four 2013 Torchlight Prize winners, started out 15 years ago as a group of Hmong girls coming together in a parking lot. Today, Freedom Inc. works to build leadership and organizational capacities to help marginalized communities create a world they want to live in.


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  • Chris

    I lived in Appleton, WI. when the hmong population arrived in that area. They were such a family oriented culture where the elderly were honored. It was the young generation however that learned our language and I felt that it created a barrier among the older generation. It is wonderful to read what this generation is doing to embrace each other and design their lives moving forward. Bless you for picking up the torch and lighting the way.

  • Sheree Victorian

    I am a 67 year old African heritage woman. I am aware of a spiritual tool that will enhance and empower the women currently causing change in lives. I would enjoy sharing this information with this group. Lets talk about how we can make this happen. I will send my phone number after I receive a response from you. Have an inspired day!

  • Brian

    Amen! Thanks Guys! These are the voices that need to be heard...There is a whole world of work to do! Let's pay Enlightened Ladies like this, and all the like minded, to the change the world! Instead of marketing greed. Way to go Freedom Inc!!!! May God give you all the power you need to create the change! Amen!

  • Cathy

    I was recently talking about societal challenges with another individual where I proposed that change comes from within. Not the government, but by people who want a better life. These are kids that recognized that THEY could change their circumstances and took ownership of their lives. Kudos to these kids!!!

  • SueZen

    To realize (again...) that all change begins at home, with one person realizing and taking back their power to ACT ..to CHANGE the status quo! What love and courage!

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  • Learn more about Freedom Inc., a grassroots organization working with low- and no-income communities to bring about deep social, political, cultural, and economic change.
  • The Family Independence Initiative (FII) uses the power of information to illuminate and accelerate the work of low-income families to improve their lives. The Torchlight Prize recognizes these efforts.
  • Nominate a self-organized group you know for the Torchlight Prize. Nominations are open until June 30, 2014.

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