This Youth Table was convened to inform President Obama's call to action to improve the lives of boys and men of color. We are comprised of national networks and organizations representing tens of thousands of young people of color who are organizing in their communities. Today we stand together in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ferguson, MO and the family of Michael Brown. We call on local and national officials to ensure justice for Michael Brown, an end to the violent aggression toward peaceful protesters, and new measures to address police violence toward young people of color across the country. We call on local and national philanthropic organizations to support community-centered organizing and capacity building efforts to ensure that youth and families in Ferguson have access to healing services and a long-term organizing infrastructure that will outlive this tragedy. We also request support for organizing efforts of young people across the country to address the systemic factors that perpetuate the criminalization of young people.
For all those who have come together under the banner of My Brothers' Keeper and other initiatives to support young men of color, we say that now is the time to stand up and take action against the violence being enacted against young men of color. We cannot call on men of color to take responsibility if we are silent when they are being killed and beaten by representatives of our own government.
Our country's history is fraught with violence toward young people who look like us. From the children being detained on US borders, to Ferguson, to failing schools, Black and Brown youth are being attacked physically and mentally. The militarization of police forces and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have terrorized our communities. The fact that the federal budget calls for $250 million for police in schools and only $50 million for restorative justice will only continue the criminalization of young people of color.
We stand in support of the demands issued by the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis and the national Hands Up Don't Shoot Coalition. Locally this includes a swift and impartial investigation by the Department of Justice into the Michael Brown shooting, the immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, and immediate de-escalation of militarized policing of peaceful protestors. Nationally this includes that Eric Holder to use the full resources and power of the Department of Justice to implement a nationwide investigation of systemic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities.
Furthermore, to address the broader national occurrence of police violence toward and criminalization of young people of color, we call on elected officials everywhere to enact the following policies:
• The creation of community review boards in all police departments.
• The implementation of cameras mounted on all police officers in departments with a history of racial disparities in stops, arrests, killings, and/or excessive force complaints.
• An end to the use of police in schools for regular school security.
• An increase in funding for restorative justice programs in schools and communities.
• That 1% of what is spent on policing should be redirected to education and youth development.
For funders who care about improving the lives of boys and men of color, we make the following funding recommendations:
• Provide direct support to organizations on the ground in Ferguson, such as the Organization for Black Struggle, that are organizing and providing healing spaces for young people. This includes both immediate funding to deal with the current crisis and long term support to engage youth leaders in ongoing efforts to create transformative change.
• Fund groups organizing young people to address the criminalization of youth of color. There is a vast network of organizations that engage young people of color in organizing to address the root causes of inequity in their communities. These organizations work to simultaneously transform individual young people and their communities. The Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing's 2013 National Field Scan identified 27 organizations with active campaigns addressing police accountability, 38 addressing juvenile justice, 20 organizations addressing media justice, 10 organizations addressing militarization, and 58 organizations addressing educational justice and school discipline (FCYO will provide contact information to interested funders).
As young people of color from across the country, we stand united in calling for an end to violence toward youth of color. We are intelligent, we are powerful, and we are ready to organize. We call on all our allies to join us in this struggle for justice.
About the Youth Table
The Youth Table was formed as part of the private sector initiative for boys and men of color, which is working in conjunction with My Brother's Keeper. The Youth Table is facilitated by the Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing and the Movement Strategy Center. Its primary purpose is to ensure the voices of young men of color are included in efforts to improve their lives. In order to ensure the engagement of large numbers of young men of color in a short period of time, the Youth Table primarily sought to engage national networks of organizations that are led by and represent young people of color and are already working on issues to improve outcomes for and address inequities facing young men of color. Organizations that have participated are listed below. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
• Alliance for Education Justice, National
• Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity, National
• Black Youth Project 100, National
• Blocks Together and Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, Chicago, IL
• BMe, National
• Brothers, Sons, Selves Alliance of The California Endowment, CA
• Building Health Communities, Statewide Youth Steering Committee of the California Endowment, CA
• California Center for Civic Participation, CA
• Community Justice Network for Youth, National
• Dear Black Men, Detroit, MI
• Dignity in Schools Campaign, National
• FFLIC, New Orleans, LA
• Harriet Tubman Center / YOUTH VOICE, Detroit, MI
• Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, New Orleans, LA
• NAACP Youth and Student Division, National
• National Council of Young Leaders, National
• National Network for Youth, National
• Native Youth Alliance, National
• Padres y Jovenes Unidos, Denver, CO
• President's Youth Council of The California Endowment, CA
• RYSE Youth Center, Richmond, CA
• South East Asian Resource Action Center, National
• Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Albuquerque, NM
• Task Force for Racial Disparities, Chicago, IL
• United We Dream, National
• Urban Underground, Milwaukee, WI
• YouthBuild USA, National
• Youth Power, Detroit, Mi