Young People’s Task Force: Vision and Platform for Police-Free Schools
In 2021-22, through a partnership with Californians for Justice, Coleman Advocates, and Gender & Sexualities Alliance Network, we launched a Young People’s Task Force, Vision and Platform for Police-Free Schools.
It began in July 2020, when more than 400 youth leaders and organizers from across the state joined our virtual Youth Power Assembly and voted to prioritize the following issue-focus for the YO! Cali network’s power building efforts in 2021-22: Defund the pol(ICE) as a critical step towards abolition, and invest directly in our community-led priorities such as healing, education, and transformative justice.
From June – December 2021, YO! Cali convened 16 youth leaders as part of the Young People’s Task Force on Police-Free Schools, which included representatives from ACLU of Southern California Youth Liberty Squad, Black Parallel School Board, Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, Californians for Justice (Fresno and Oakland), Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth, COPE, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Fresno Barrios Unidos, GSA Network, MILPA, and Students Deserve. Through interviews with police-free schools campaign organizers and research on campaign platforms from across the state and nation, a statewide Young People’s Vision and Platform for Police-Free Schools was finalized in early 2022.
In late February 2022, four of the youth members of the Young People’s Task Force started a 9-month Fellowship on Police-Free Schools. The Youth Fellows represent Fresno Barrios Unidos, COPE (San Bernardino), GSA Network (Long Beach), and Coleman Advocates (San Francisco) and focused on leading a narrative change and “translocal” organizing strategy to support police-free schools and advance the Young People’s Vision and Platform.
Youth Power Summer 2020
In the summer of 2020, a core group of youth leaders from nine YO! Cali steering committee organizations led the process of developing the statewide Young People’s Agenda Youth Demands Platform (https://bit.ly/yocalidemands2020). This group of youth leaders, known as the Youth Organizing! Squad, or YO! Squad, surveyed hundreds of youth leaders across the state, conducted youth focus groups, held in-depth issue interviews with 20 organizations, and reviewed demands from organizations and coalitions from across the state and nation to inform and shape the platform. Unveiled at the July 2020 Youth Power Assembly, the Youth Demands Platform calls upon state leaders and decision makers to follow the voices and demands of Black and Indigenous youth, youth of color, LGBTQ+ youth, youth who are undocumented or unhoused, youth who are unprotected frontline workers, foster youth, immunocompromised youth, and youth with disabilities on a wide range of issues. The key issues addressed by the platform include Educational Justice, Health Justice, Youth Justice, Immigration Justice, Economic Justice, and Youth Power.
YO! Cali worked with youth leaders and organizers from the YO! Squad and planning committee to organize Youth Power Summer 2020, a series of virtual events that culminated with a statewide Youth Power Assembly and Town Hall issue forums in July 2020. On July 31, 2021, approximately 300 youth leaders and nearly 200 staff organizers and other adult allies from more than 90 organizations participated in the virtual Youth Power Assembly. During the Assembly, youth leaders voted to prioritize the following issue-focus for the YO! Cali network’s power building efforts heading into 2021: Defund the pol(ice) as a critical step towards abolition, and invest directly in our community-led priorities such as healing, education, and transformative justice.
Young People’s Agenda 2018
The YVote (www.yvoteca.org) and Youth Organize! California networks are launching a new kind of agenda: a Young People’s Agenda that frames and influences key issues from a young people’s perspective in the 2018 elections and beyond.
From all across the state young people are organizing to build political power and move our communities towards full equity, inclusion, justice and dignity for all. The Young People’s Agenda creates a Youth-Centered Platform to amplify local organizing campaigns, articulate a shared vision for our communities and state, and advance toward the long-term horizon of building youth power by expanding the franchise and youth vote across California. The mission is to radically align local and state officials and policies to reflect the Young People’s Agenda and build youth power. The framework draws from issues highlighted in YVote polling, the #FreeOurDreams Youth Vision and Platform, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Policy Platform, and the Until We Are All Free Declaration of Unity.
SIGN-UP HERE TO STAY INFORMED AND SUPPORT THE YOUNG PEOPLE’S AGENDA
To support and incorporate the Young People’s Agenda into your civic engagement campaigns and grassroots organizing efforts, register here to stay informed and receive tools and materials.
The Young People’s Agenda is a collaborative project led by the YO! Cali and YVote networks.
Welcoming and Safe Schools for All model resolution
In 2018–2019, the YO! California network had two goals focused on collective action to elevate and connect place-based campaigns for greater impact:
- Win the public release of a model resolution on Welcoming and Safe Schools for All by the State Superintendent of Public Instructions and California Department of Education and provide toolkits and training resources for grassroots organizations to take advantage of the model resolution to advance local systems change campaigns.
- Work with YVote to jointly develop and release a Young People’s Agenda that can frame and influence key issues, and support local, regional, and statewide youth education and engagement efforts in the 2018 elections and beyond.
The Welcoming and Safe Schools for All model resolution emerged from a successful delegation meeting of youth leaders from organizations affiliated with Youth Organize! California network with State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s office, organized by the Advancement Project and Movement Strategy Center in May 2017.
Since last May, an ad hoc committee of youth organizations including Genders and Sexualities Alliance Network, Californians for Justice, RYSE Center, Khmer Girls in Action, Del Norte and Tribal Lands Building Healthy Communities, Resilience Orange County, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and InnerCity Struggle have worked with the Advancement Project and Movement Strategy Center to draft a model resolution on Welcoming and Safe Schools for All. The resolution provides a holistic model that school districts and other local education agencies can use to develop their own resolutions and policies.
The resolution focuses on expanding “safe haven” schools to include all students impacted by the current climate of fear and hate in the wake of the 2016 elections, particularly indigenous, African American, Latinx, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander students, undocumented, immigrant, and refugee students, transgender and LGBTQ students, Muslim and Sikh students, homeless students, English Learner students, foster youth, low-income students, students with special needs, and students impacted by the juvenile and criminal justice systems.