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By Leiloni De Gruy, 12/06/2022

SJLI’s Youth Transform the Landscape of Education Through Youth Bill of Rights Workshops

Social Justice Learning Institute youth don’t pursue knowledge for themselves, they use it as a tool to create thriving communities and change systems for future generations of color. 

The youth leaders you see here are participating in one of several Youth Bill of Rights Workshops that are designed to arm young folks, ages 14 to 25, with the strategies and mobilization techniques needed to transform the landscape of education.

Back in 2018, the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition—a group of 9 youth-serving organizations—did a survey with over 3,000 students, including SJLI’s Urban Scholars and youth leaders. 

The survey assessed youth perspectives on law enforcement and took into account their priorities, experiences, challenges, and solutions to improving Black and Brown student success.

The responses were then synthesized into three (3) pillars that guide the bill:

        1. Defund school police and reduce youth contact with law enforcement

        2. Invest in school-based resources like restorative justice coordinators, academic counselors, mentorships, leadership development, and mental health counseling 

        3. Include youth in decision-making processes 

Since then, our youth have locked arms with other youth leaders to move these agendas forward, having successfully reduced the presence of police on campuses throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District and moving almost $100 million toward Black student achievement. 

The bill, which contains policy recommendations and actionable items, launches next year and will be presented to lawmakers, school boards, LA County Supervisors, community members, and stakeholders.

For now, our youth are strategizing, preparing to mobilize, engaging early stakeholders, and finetuning their public comments. 

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