We’ve created this glossary to explain the terms we use in our organizing and share resources for those who want to learn more.
This is a living document, and we expect that these terms will change and expand as our movements grow and evolve.
Pro Tip: Looking for a specific definition? Use “Ctrl + F” to find what you’re looking for!

Publicly supporting a cause or policy and trying to persuade decision-makers to adopt it


The people who are connected to the issue and can easily be mobilized into taking action with the organization working to address the problem.


Building strong relationships with a base of supporters directly impacted by an issue by having 1-on-1 conversations, community meetings, social media posts, etc. 


Black, Indigenous, and People of Color: we say this instead of just “People of Color,” to recognize that Black and Indigenous people are disproportionately impacted by the systems of white supremacy and colonialism.

Related Readings: Definition of BIPOC


Time-bound and strategic efforts that address a problem and try to achieve a community’s vision for a solution.

Related Readings: School Food Organizing at FEEST

Collective Care:

Recognizing that it’s our individual, organizational, and societal responsibility to take care of each other and ensure that everyone in our community is mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.

Related Readings: Be Careful With Each Other

Collective Liberation:

The achievement of a fair and equitable world for all people based on the recognition that our struggles are all interconnected, and that none of us will be free from oppression until everyone is free.

Related Readings: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland, 1970s 

    Collective Power: 

    The ability of a group or community of people to challenge oppressive systems and achieve their goals.

    Related Readings: Basics of Studying Power

    Decision Maker:

    Anyone who has the power to make the change you are organizing or advocating for. For FEEST, this may mean politicians, school officials, or CEOs of companies that interact with our schools.

    Economic Justice:

    A society where everyone has equitable access to opportunity and all basic needs are met.

    Related Readings: 

    Environmental Justice:

    Ensuring that everyone can live, work, and play in a safe and healthy environment with clean water, air, and land.

    Related Readings:

    Food Justice:

    Ensuring all people have access to have fresh, nutritious, and culturally relevant food without barriers or exceptions.

    Related Readings:

    Holistic Wellness:

    Taking care of an individual or community’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

    Related Readings: Holistic Wellness


    Recognizing that all struggles against oppression are connected and that we must work together to achieve collective liberation.

    Related Readings: Interdependency – Mia Mingus

    Intergenerational Movement:

    A political or social movement that harnesses the unique strengths and knowledge of different generations to be a more powerful and sustainable force for social justice. For example, young people under the age of 18 can’t vote so it’s vital for us to also organize adults so we can build political power.

    Leadership Development:

    A process that supports each individual member to harness their skills and strengths, grow to their full potential, and better organize for power in their communities.

    Related Readings: Youth Development & Youth Leadership


    A political movement led by the rich that supports increasing corporate profits, defunding and privatizing social services, and criminalizing poverty. It has been the dominant force in American politics since the 1980s.

    Related Readings: Neoliberalism, the Ideology Behind All of Our Problems.

    Organizing/Direct Action Organizing:

    When those impacted by injustice take collective action to build power, challenge existing structures, and implement solutions for meaningful change.

    Related Readings: What is Community Organizing?

    Politically Powerful:

    When we have enough people power to shape policies and decisions that affect our communities.

    Power (in organizing):

    The ability to get a decision-maker (like a school administrator or elected official) to say yes to you, even if they don’t want to.

    Punitive Justice:

    Believes that punishment can change behavior, that those who cause harm will accept responsibility through punishment, and that the use of punishment will deter future wrongdoing.

    Racial Capitalism:

    The system that we currently live under, that is built around race, class, and patriarchy. In this system, wealthy people, who are overwhelmingly white men, gain wealth, profit, and power from the exploitation and oppression of working-class and poor people of all colors and genders. Inequality and division is built in the structure of the economy and capitalism needs it in order to function.

    Racial Justice:

    The end of white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and anti-Indigeneity; a world where everyone is treated with dignity and can live a prosperous life regardless of their race, ethnicity, or where they’re from.

    Related Readings: Equity vs. Equality and Other Racial Justice Definitions

    Radical Joy:

    Cultivating happiness, creativity, and laughter to connect with each other as a community and energize our movements.

    Research and Education: 

    Collecting information about an issue via community surveys, interviews, etc., drawing conclusions based on what you gathered, and sharing it with others to raise awareness.

    Related Readings: 

    Restorative Justice:

    Involves having the person who caused harm work to repair it for the individual and/or communities harmed.

    Related Readings:


    The right that all individuals and communities have to decide what’s best for them free of outside influence.

    Related Readings: 


    The right that all individuals and communities have to decide what’s best for them free of outside influence.

    Social Services:

    Government agencies or non-profits providing resources like money, food, housing, etc. for those in need. These services are crucial for people to survive but don’t address the root cause of an issue.

    Related Readings: FEEST Free Grocery Program

    Systemic Solutions:

    Dismantling unjust systems at their roots and replacing them with solutions rooted in equity.

    Transformational Change:

    Addressing issues at the root and fundamentally changing society to advance social justice.

    Working Class: 

    People who work for a living without being a boss or manager of someone else, earn less than the median income of where they live, and/or do not have a college degree. Essentially, anyone who makes their money by earning a wage and not by owning a company, property, etc.

    Related Readings: 


    When young people are participating as decision-makers and co-creators in an organization or campaign.

    Related Readings: Youth Activist Movements of the 2010s: A Timeline and Brief History of a Decade of Change

    Show FEEST some love!

    Youth are in the lead at FEEST because we know that change is not effective unless those most impacted by health inequities are the decision makers. Support youth leadership by donating today, OR sign up for our newsletter to get the latest from FEEST!

    Donate nowSign up for our newsletter