Community Rights Campaign
SYOA 2009 Grads | Spoken Word Video to End School Pre-Prison Conditions
On August 29th, 2009 the Community Rights Campaign and its Summer Youth Organizing Academy held our third annual Graduation Celebration at a local community marketplace, Mercado La Paloma.
For those who missed our 2009 Summer Youth Organizing Academy Celebration please see the clips below of our graduates spoken word pieces to end pre-prison conditions in our schools. If you appreciate their politics and performances, please consider making a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more to help us expand and deepen our training of youth organizers.
Through spoken word pieces, each SYOA alumni reenacted a revolutionary activist/organizer from the past that inspires their work today--as they train to be the next generation of civil/human rights organizers with the Community Rights Campaign.
Carlos Gomez: I am Cuauhtémoc (Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan)
Chinyere Garner: I am Sojourner Truth
Preyanka Guiati : I am Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya
Yara Dorado: I am Connie Cruz from the Young Lords
For those of you that were unable to attend and even for folks that did attend-we hope you will consider making a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more to help us expand and deepen our training of youth organizers.
This summer our class doubled to eighteen high school students from five different LAUSD schools. Thus far, the class of 2009 has had the widest range of diversity-truly representing the Strategy Center's politic of helping to build a multi-racial, multi-national, multi-lingual, working class movement.
From left to right: Tekoah Flory, Diana Mauricio, Chinyere Garner, Jonathan Williams, Carlos Gomez, Yara Dorado.
What is SYOA?
In the summer of 2006, we created the Summer Youth Organizing Academy as a way to connect youth of color with the Community Rights' work of conscious organizing and civil rights movement building. SYOA students spend at least two days a week participating in political education, civic engagement, and organizing. It provides students with the skills to identify problems, recruit members, help plan campaigns, and build organizations to begin to structurally address the policies that are turning our schools and communities into pre-prisons.
Students that graduate from our program then become the school-site organizers for their peers the next year on LAUSD campuses, and many have continued to work with the campaign while they are attending college. We now have alumni from ages 15 to 21 still building the program.
Youth Organizers Hit the Streets to Take On the Pre-Prison Conditions in Schools!
Our students hit the streets ready to organize our folks!
A typical conversation could consist of:
"Have you ever been late to work? Really, well have you ever received a ticket for $250 and been brought to work in handcuffs for being late? No, I didn't think so. Well that is what I am faced with everyday as student because it is a crime for me to be late to school..."
Student conversations ranged from tardy/truancy tickets, police accountability, and the prison budget to real solutions to crime, substance addiction and community violence. In their organizing they talked about alternatives to incarceration that will create real public safety. Our youth took on the difficult conversations our elected officials should be discussing with our communities and the brainstorming of solutions!
- What does your community need to make you feel safer?
- Why do you think violence exists in our communities?
- What do you think will address the root cause of crime and violence in our communities?
Our students responded with concrete solutions and alternatives compared to typical responses of more police and prisons.
- We need counselors not cops!
- We need resources not repression!
- We need support not suspensions!
Furthermore, from the hard work and drive of our students, hundreds of surveys were collected from students and parents who had either received a tardy/truancy ticket and/or experienced some form of police abuse. They organized their peers, parents, teachers and other community members to attend our Community Rights Monthly Meetings, Know Your Rights Trainings, and join our "No to Pre-Prisons" Campaign.
To get involved and/or learn more information about the Community Rights Campaign, contact Lisa Adler at 213.387.2800, email email@example.com, or visit us at www.thestrategycenter.org/project/community-rights-campaign
To make a donation to the Labor Community Strategy Center in order to support the work of our Summer Youth Organizing Academy, Taking Action after-school club, "No to Pre-Prisons" Campaign, or any of the other campaigns/projects of the Strategy Center, please make your checks payable to:
Labor Community Strategy Center
3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Thank you in advance for your time, consideration, and generosity.
Co-Coordinator of the Summer Youth Organizing Academy
About Kendra Williby
- Jan 22 2013