Spring Up cultivates a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling, transformative justice and popular education.
Who We Are
Spring Up is a multimedia artivist collective and social enterprise building an alternative vision of our world rooted in ongoing consent, liberation, community accountability and care. We prevent and respond to gender based violence with consent education and transformative justice. We primarily serve youth and young adults (18-35) directly impacted by violence (eg. QTPOC, survivors of sexual violence, perpetuators of harm) to equip them with tools to heal from trauma and practice healthy relationships. We support mission-driven organizations seeking to transform internal cultural dynamics to respond to and reduce harm as well as increase diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our organization is led by a growing community of queer and trans non-binary survivors striving to reduce, respond to, and prevent gender based violence in our communities. With background experience and expertise in popular education and participatory action research (PAR), we provide a wide range of workshops, trainings, tools, and consulting services exploring gender, sexuality, consent, power dynamics, trauma-informed response and healing, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). We are grounded in practices of community accountability, restorative and transformative justice.
As we build resilience in community and increase our collective capacity to transform harm and facilitate healing, our work is continuously shifting, growing and expanding. Our current projects and initiatives include:
A 4-month long Consent Fellowship program to develop local Miami community organizers’, especially young adults, capacity to develop healthy practices in relationships and prevent and respond to gender based harm and violence.
A 4-month long Transformative Justice for Gender Based Violence class for local community organizers to explore and practice responding to harm and violence without punitive measures through community accountability.
Long and short term relationships with local and national movement organizations to support their efforts and vision. In Miami and New York, for example, we support Soul Sisters Leadership Collective as they work and build to empower young femmes of color to interrupt cycles of state violence, trauma, and oppression.
As a social enterprise our business is about more than profit. We value our humanity, uplift creativity, embrace community, and center care and pleasure in our work and organizational culture. We acknowledge that caregivers, nurturers, healers, community conflict mediators, practitioners of restorative and transformative justice, and many other “feminized” forms of labor aren’t fairly compensated in our society. In alignment with our values, we seek to disrupt and shift these cultural norms by incentivizing collective success and maximizing team impact, honoring what we all bring to the work.
We are an ecosystem of consent peer educators, transformative justice practioners, trainers, teachers, and coaches. We collaborate with mission-aligned organizations, and adapt to feedback to make exponential growth towards realizing our vision.
Theory of Transformation
We believe in ethical storytelling, radical imagination, and collective creation.
Most attempts to create change do not transform the root causes of a problem. Stories are the most effective way to transform our mindset and shift the way we relate to the world. Through stories we learn to empathize with people we didn’t know we had connections, and gain the power to imagine choices we didn’t perceive before. These transformations in mindset are consensual, lifelong, adaptable, and self-guided.
We have a four-part approach to everything we do to ensure we are acting in a balanced and sustainable way.
Imagine: To do anything, we must first imagine it. We embrace the power of imagination through storytelling.
Create: We create to share the solutions and innovations we have imagined, to inspire, and to create models of possibility.
Build: To be sustainable, we must build communities and organizations with the capacity to implement transformation and grow in response to feedback.
Support: We must support ourselves and each other to survive and thrive into the future we are imagining, creating, and building together!
Millennials are the bridge between the last millennium and the new one, between the 1000s and the 2000s. We get to decide what the rest of the future looks like - if we survive to the year 3000, if we are happy and free. With technology and connection we have the power to shape the world through our choices as creators, consumers, teachers, students, care providers - as people. As individuals there is only so much we can do, but together we are unlimited. We share three central values:
What we can imagine, we can create, and with each attempt we get closer to realizing our goals. Imagining a future we want to live in gives us insight into solutions to the problems facing us today.
Freedom is the ability to shape our own destiny, to choose what we do with our time and energy. Freedom looks different to each of us, so we each need to imagine what freedom means to us in order to imagine a world where we can all be free.
In our pursuit of individual freedom we often forget that absolute freedom is not freedom for all, and quickly turns to tyranny. Tyranny is placing your will over another's, choosing what someone else does with their time and energy.
In order to create a future where we can all be free we need to care about the consequences of our actions; we need to listen to feedback and choose to evolve. We need to value the uniquely human skills of creativity and care. Creators go out on a limb to create something new for all of us and caregivers invest their time and energy in our wellbeing.
Don't Revolve. Evolve.
More About Our TEam
Phillip Brown - Program Coordinator & Digital Storyteller
Phillip (them/them) is a queer immigrant originally hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, where they spent 18 years of life in deep relationship with the earth for survival, protection, and resilience. Fearing loss of their life, culture, and homelands because of climate change and rampant homophobia, they moved to the United States in 2016 and embarked on a journey of reclamation in the youth climate justice movement where they come alive as a fierce organizer, healer, facilitator, writer, and coach committed to powerful storytelling centering QTPOC voices in the struggle to save our planet and our communities. Over the past 3 years, they’ve left academia at Clark University to pursue full-time organizing and have worked on the local, national, and international scale with organizations including the Better Future Project, SustainUS, Sunrise, and the Sierra Student Coalition. As program Coordinator for Spring Up, they facilitate and hold space for our consent fellowship aiming to educate local community members how to move towards liberty and freedom of mind and body through consent education and transformative justice.
Nastassja “Stas” Schmiedt (left) and A. Lea Roth (Right) Founders & Co-Directors
A. Lea Roth (they/them) and Stas Schmiedt (they/them) founded Spring Up in 2013 after experiencing the challenges of organizing across difference firsthand and perceiving an urgent need amongst social changemakers for shared language and frameworks rooted in a historical lens, critical theory, and tangible skills. Stas & Lea have provided consulting services to professional organizers for over 5 years. They've given two TEDx talks: "Cultivating a Culture of Consent" and "The Millennial Mindset Can Save the World," and have presented workshops to students from over 75 universities and high schools including Yale, Princeton, George Washington, University of Michigan, NYU, and Occidental. They are alumni of the StartingBloc social entrepreneurship fellowship, 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellowship for education innovation, and Dartmouth College.
Stas and Lea have given workshops about gender based violence and cultivating consent culture through transformative justice at the Center for Justice at Columbia, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Conference, Emory's RespectCon: Understanding Sexual Violence through a Social Justice Lens, and the Florida Restorative Justice Association Conference in 2018; as well as the RJOY Convening on Restorative Justice and Sexual Harm, South Florida TransCon, and the National Building Accountable Communities Gathering in 2019. Our clients have included SOUL Sisters Leadership Collective, United We Dream, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Miami Women’s March, and Global Shapers.