Akilah Richards - On Unschooling from 'Schoolishness'

This article is part of our...

Planting the Seed

Rooted Public Letter Series

Would you like to receive a monthly letter from us directly in your inbox?

About the author(s):

Akilah Richards

Akilah is a mother, partner, and liberation worker who helps people unlearn the barriers to being our real selves together, in our homes and all the other ways we connect, work, and serve.

In July of 2016, Richards published the first episode of Fare of the Free Child podcast, now known among the short list of must-listen-to podcasts for anyone considering parenting and leadership from a liberation lens. The podcast focuses on Black people, Native|Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) families who practice unschooling and other forms of self-directed, decolonization-minded living and learning.

In May of 2019, Richards joined the celebrated TEDx Speaker village with her poignant speech, Raising Free People, where she shared the now widely-celebrated philosophy, “We can’t keep using tools of oppression and expect to raise free people.”

In November of 2020, she released her book, Raising Free People: Unschooling as Liberation and Healing Work (PM Press)  which has been heralded as “the blueprint” for the type of self-inquiry and collective liberation that will help us free our children and ourselves.

As founder of Raising Free People Network, Richards and co-conspirators produce work to challenge and encourage social justice minded people to explore privilege and power in their relationships with leadership.

Akilah is a founding board member of The Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE) and the mother of two teenage daughters. You can find her views on Self-Directed Education, Black joy, deschooling and decoloniality for leadership and community all over the Internet. Additionally her advocacy and organizing work has received national press including Forbes Magazine, Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), NBC TV, CBC Radio, and several print publications, including The New York Times.