Manasota ASALH appoints inaugural program director of its Freedom School and Youth Program

Rosario-Hernandez had served as chief diversity officer at New College

Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez. Image from Linked-In

The Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has announced the appointment of Yoleidy Rosario-Hernandez, a former New College of Florida faculty member, as the program director of its Freedom School and Youth Program.

An educator with more than 14 years of experience, Rosario-Hernandez has a bachelor’s degree in theater from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Penn., and a master’s degree in higher education from Messiah University in Mechanicsburg, Penn, a news release notes. Among Rosario-Hernandez’s duties will be providing strategic leadership and operational management of the Freedom School and the Youth Program, the release adds.

“We are thrilled to welcome Yoleidy and grateful to have a leader who possesses proven skills in building and strengthening educational programs, has passion for Black history and culture, significant experience building relationships with teachers, volunteers, donors and community partners, and a genuine love for children and their potential,” Manasota ASALH President David G. Wilkins said in the release.

Rosario-Hernandez served as the chief diversity officer and dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at New College of Florida until 2023, the release points out. “However, the newly appointed trustees, under Governor [Ron] DeSantis, decided to abolish the institution’s DEI program, known as the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence,” the release adds.

In the preceding decade, Rosario-Hernandez held similar positions at the Ringling College of Art + Design, the University of Arizona, Rutgers University, and Northern Arizona University, the release notes.

“The Freedom School, which began in February 2023, is free and open to students (pre-K to 12th grade) of all backgrounds,” the release explains. It “is dedicated to providing accurate lessons in African and African-American History, while the ASALH Youth Program

seeks to recruit young people to join the organization and engage in its mission of promoting awareness of Black life, history, and culture throughout the world,” the release says.

Freedom School classes are being conducted on Saturdays at the nonprofit Girls Inc., which is located at 201 S. Tuttle Ave. in Sarasota, the release adds; they will continue through April. “Information about future sessions will be released when it becomes available,” the release notes.

Image from the Manasota ASALH website

“Manasota ASALH is the largest local branch of the national ASALH organization,” the release points out. “Since its founding in 1995, Manasota ASALH has awarded more than $540,000 in scholarships to 290 high school students accepted to accredited colleges or universities.”

For more information about Manasota ASALH and the Freedom School, visit or call 989-980-0555.

1 thought on “Manasota ASALH appoints inaugural program director of its Freedom School and Youth Program”

  1. As a white person I celebrate the establishment of the Freedom Schools but I also lament the fact that it was necessary.
    New laws coming out of Tallahassee are restricting the teaching of real history. This is affecting the teaching of the Holocaust as well. “those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it”. How quickly we forget.

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