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#YouthPower2018: Supporting Youth-Powered Change in California

Young people of color are California’s future leaders, and across the state, they are leading powerful movements for change in our communities. This past weekend, the Youth Power Summit brought together hundreds of youth advocates of color from across the state to kick off a youth civic engagement campaign and advance a new vision for a more just and equitable California.

A main feature of the summit was a  youth-led and moderated “Youth Power to the Polls” forum with Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck, candidates for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In this unique format, the first of its kind through the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, candidates responded to questions posed by a panel of young people regarding their approach to addressing some of the most serious issues in public education, including school discipline policies and restorative justice, school push-out, and education in youth detention facilities.

Several California Funders for Boys and Men of Color member foundations sponsored the “Youth Power to the Polls” forum: The California Community Foundation, East Bay Community Foundation, Liberty Hill Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and Weingart Foundation. The Latino Community Foundation also sponsored the event.

The summit culminated in the “Youth Power to the Capitol” advocacy day at the State Capitol.  Youth organized a “live in” and rally to call for solutions to mass incarceration, education equality, police violence and other issues that impact their communities. Youth heard from elected officials, including Assemblymembers David Chiu, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Dr. Shirley Weber and Jose Medina, before conducting more than 100 legislative visits.

In addition to the forum and the advocacy day, summit participants also took part in workshops and planning meetings to build skills in youth organizing, storytelling, and leadership development. Art and cultural expression were integrated throughout the summit, including an open mic night with Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS), spoken word poetry, poetry reading and discussion, and a performance by the Sacramento Pow Wow Dance and Drum group with Red Hoop Singers.

The Youth Power Summit 2018 was organized and hosted by PolicyLink and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color on the UC Davis campus, with fundraising support from CFBMoC. Check out the hashtag #YouthPower2018 on Twitter to see photos and updates from the forum and the summit, watch the livestream of the “Youth Power to the Polls” forum, and read a recap of the forum The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert.

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