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#OYUvotes: National Voter Registration Day Challenge

NVRD-register!September 25 is National Voter Registration Day. Your voice matters, your vote matters and not just during presidential elections. This November, be sure to go to the polls.

OYUnited is hosting a voter registration challenge. Be sure you’re registered, and then urge your peers to register on or before September 25.

Here’s how to get involved:

    • First, are you registered and ready? Use our tool, in partnership with TurboVote, here.
    • Why do you vote? Why does it matter to you? Make a short video, image/meme or social media post and share it with the hashtags:  #OYUvotes and #NationalVoterRegistrationDay (bonus: add a hashtag for your city or town!). Be sure to include these tags so we and our partners can help amplify your post.
    • Check out Nonprofit Vote’s resource page to get the info and deadlines for Voting in Your State.
    • Questions? You can call 866-OUR-VOTE to get local information and answers to your questions (or visit the ElectionProtection.org site).

Share this with your friends and networks! Use our NVRD social media toolkit to spread the word.

YouthPOwer

Bringing Youth Power to Polls at the #YouthPower2018 Summit

youthpower

by Adam Strong, OYUnited National Council of Young Leaders

August 10, 2018 – It was a hot California day, with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, but the high temperatures would not dissuade over 300 young changemakers from across the state of California from descending on the University of California Davis campus for the 2018 Youth Power Summit, hosted by PolicyLink in partnership with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and numerous local partners (see the full list here).

The purpose of the event was to strengthen youth movements across California by bringing young activists together for a three-day weekend to hone their skills, share best practices, and build community while they advocate for a better future for all Californians.

With the focus on building youth-led movements, Opportunity Youth United, of course, was there in force with our Los Angelos, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Oakland Community Action Teams (CATs) in attendance.

Their Saturday started on a high note during the regional breakout sessions focused on quality education throughout California. The young leaders split into groups by region to identify problems in their local schools, brainstorm solutions, and recognize their local decision-makers active on the specific issues. The workshop seamlessly built a sense of community across the state as young leaders began to see the common threads across their communities.

OYU at Youth Power Summit

 

Asking Questions of Candidates

As the day progressed into the afternoon, the nonpartisan Superintendent Candidate Forum went into full swing as the two leading candidates for the office of California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond and Marshall Tuck, faced off and answered questions from the moderator and from a group of the young leaders.

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Young people ask the candidates questions during the forum.

In addition, with a little bit of coaxing behind the scenes, we were able to arrange for representatives from our California youth-led CATs to interview the candidates in a small informal group. Both candidates were gracious enough to accept, allowing the OYUnited CAT leaders over 30 minutes of uninterrupted conversation.

The California OYUnited members showed up, stood up, and spoke up about real problems their school systems were facing and asked important questions. California has more than 6 million public school students; the Superintendent selected in November’s election will lead the country’s largest and most racially diverse school system. Both candidates were prepared to address the issues and gave thoughtful responses to each question.

Meeting with Elected Officials

Sunday was another action-packed day as the young leaders prepared for over 100 legislative meetings in total at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. The first part of the preparation was the young leaders learning about the nine bills that were identified by their organizations as good bills to support heading into the summit. Each participant chose a system they were passionate about — for example, police accountability, transparency, education or workforce issues. They then learned about the bills identified in those sectors: what the bills propose, the problems they were designed to address, and the talking points and messaging for each bill.

After these workshops, the young people met in their small groups for a training on best practices and general expectations for meeting with legislators, and of course, had fun engaging in role-plays to prepare.

Below is the list of bills chosen by the organizations and their young leaders:

  • Police Accountability
    • AB 931 (Weber) – Changes the standard by which law enforcement officers can use deadly force.
  • Policy Transparency
    • SB 1421 (Skinner)– Allow public access to police investigations, findings, and discipline relating to deadly and serious uses of force, sexual assault against a civilian, and proven dishonesty.
  • Juvenile Justice
    • SB 439 (Lara & Mitchell) – Would exclude children 11 years old and younger from prosecution in juvenile court, protecting them from the negative impacts of formal justice system involvement. |or| Setting a minimum age for Juvenile Court prosecution.
    • SB 1391(Lara & Mitchell) – Prohibits children age 14 and 15 from being tried as adults in criminal court and being sentenced to time in adult prison.
  • Sentencing Reform
    • SB 1437(Anderson & Skinner)- clarifies that a person may only be convicted of murder if the individual willingly participated in an act that results in a homicide or that was clearly intended to result in a homicide.
  • Education
    • SB 607 (Skinner) – End of willful defiance/disruption suspensions and expulsions.
    • AB 2772 (Medina) – Ethnic Studies Requirement.
  • Healing and Trauma
    • AB 1639 (E. Garcia) – California Victim Compensation Board, this bill ensures that alleged gang affiliation and immigration status don’t preclude someone from Victims Compensation Fund eligibility.
  • Workforce
    • AB 2138 (Chiu & Low) Access to Occupational Licenses for formally incarcerated people.

The capitol visit day was a strong success. Our young leaders came prepared, shared their stories, built relationships with their elected officials and helped move the needle towards a better future for all Californians.

Learn More

  • You can learn more about the Youth Power Summit here.
  • You can learn more about OYUnited’s Community Action Teams (CATs) in California and around the nation – and get involved! – here.

 

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adam
Adam Strong
is a passionate advocate and lifelong learner with six years of experience in national policy advocacy, using his skills in policy analysis and communication & strategy he aims to influence policymakers to implement policies that increase economic mobility and decrease poverty in America.

 

August14News

August 14th, 2018 Newsletter: Creating Community Leaders

Community leaders from OYUnited’s National Council of Young Leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans to speak on panels and engage other young leaders.

Read the full archived August newsletter here.

August14News

 

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July19News

July 19th, 2018 Newsletter: Leaders Partner, Build Power, & Enforce Change

OYUnited leaders lead and, participate in workshops in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sign into law a bill that promotes improvements to the court system, and more.

Read the full archived July newsletter here.

July19News

 

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MCF

OYU Builds Power with the Marguerite Casey Foundation Family

From May 18 to 20, more than 400 leaders gathered at the Marguerite Casey Foundation’s National Convening in Washington, DC, to celebrate their work, their communities and their power.

OYU leaders were among the grassroots leaders, students, parents, artists, spoken-word poets, and organizers who explored what power really means, what it takes to build and grow a movement of low-income families, and how to disrupt and dismantle structural causes of poverty.

During the convening, OYU leaders and members facilitated a breakout session focused on building power among young people.

In preparation for the convening, OYU created a video on the theme of power #OwnthePower2018:

Learn more about the convening on the Marguerite Casey Foundation site: Our Power. Our Community. Our Change.

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Join OYU and Youth Voice Project for a Webinar on Intergenerational Equity: July 25

logoOpportunity Youth United members are invited to join Everyday Democracy for an intergenerational equity webinar on Wednesday July 25th.

The session will feature our work, as well as that of our friends at the Youth Voice Project in Boston.

What: Best practices for building intergenerational equity in your work, through the experiences of Youth Voice Project and Opportunity Youth United.

When: Wednesday, July 25 2-3:30pm ET

Presenters:

  • Malana Rogers-Bursen, Program Associate for Everyday Democracy
  • OYUAmanda Shabowich, Program Coordinator, Youth Voice Project
  • Shayla Fonfield, Senior Peer Leader, Youth Voice Project
  • Lashon Amado, National Coordinator of Community Action Teams, Opportunity Youth Unit

Register here

More on the session: What is intergenerational equity? Everyday Democracy defines it as the practice of treating everyone fairly and justly regardless of age, with special consideration to the structural factors that privilege some age groups over others. We do this by building strong relationships and partnerships, sharing power across generations, creating mentorship and cross-generational learning opportunities, and making space for youth voice.

This webinar will explore best practices for building intergenerational equity in your work. Youth Voice Project will share their experience in developing intergenerational conversations that provide a welcoming space for people across all generations to enter and tell their stories, voice their opinions, and organize together to create sustainable solutions in a concrete way. Opportunity Youth United will discuss their national work and how they organize young leaders and adult allies to work together and build power within communities. Learn more.

This webinar is free and open to the public. You must register to join.

June12News

June 12th, 2018 Newsletter: Leaders Connect to Get the Movement Growing

OYUnited gives young leaders a space to share their voices, reflect on their lesson learned, and further develop their leadership skills.

Read full archived June newsletter here.

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April4News

April 4th, 2018 Newsletter: Continuing M.L.K Jr.’s Dream

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the March for Our Lives in DC, OYU’s retreat in Phoenix, Arizona, and more.

Read the full archived April newsletter here.

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Feb26News

February 26th, 2018 Newsletter: Working Towards Policy Changes & Better Opportunities For Yoth

Leaders fight for policy reform by speaking out and creating Community Action Teams in multiple cities.

Read full archived February newsletters here.

Feb26News

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OYU Community Action Teams Come Together to Prepare for 2018

By: Shanice Turner, National Council of Young Leaders
Jan. 8, 2018

In mid-December 2017, young leaders from across the country – members of OYU’s Community Action Teams (CATs) and OYU Community Leaders – met in Boston for the first-ever CAT retreat.

I was one of several members of the National Council of Young Leaders who also attended the retreat. It was amazing. The knowledge and practices shared are definitely lessons that I can take back to my work in Atlanta.

Community Action Teams are the grassroots organizing arm of OYUnited.  Groups of young leaders from local youth-serving organizations come together to uplift the issues affecting low-income communities, to promote the Recommendations for Increasing Opportunity and Decreasing Poverty in America, to make their voices heard with elected officials, to mobilize their peers to be informed voters, and to advocate for their priority issues while serving their communities in a variety of ways.

This was the first time many of the CAT leaders met each other in person. There were about 30 young leaders in the room, representing OYU’s CATs in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Seattle. Leaders from Columbus, Ohio also participated. (OYU also has a CAT in New York but its members were unable to participate.)

Here’s what I love about OYU: We are a solutions-oriented movement of young adults who have experienced poverty and are dedicated to creating a society with opportunity and responsibility, love and respect, education and employment, justice and equality for all. We are Black, White, Native American, Latino, Asian, and Mixed Heritage.  We are from all different religions, genders and sexual preferences, from both urban and rural areas.

In this two-day retreat, we learned specific skills to help us make our vision a reality across America.

Learning Fiscal Mapping

A highlight of the retreat was the fiscal mapping training we received. Elizabeth Gaines and Olivia Allen, trainers from the Forum for Youth Investment, walked us through how city and state budgets are made and how government agencies propose funding for local activities.

Using skits, we acted out and visualized how to understand and influence funding decisions. We learned about communities where advocates have successfully increased funding for programs for young people.

Presentation on budget proposals

Budget information

Looking at Boston’s fiscal year budget.

My take-away: the number of people engaged in advocacy counts. Be specific and use your political muscle.

As young leaders, we can follow our city and state budget process by going online, and then pitch a budget increase for the things that we are passionate about. We can bring information to decisionmakers one by one and also use public hearings as a way to have our questions answered and voices heard.

 

Jamiel Alexander

OYU National Council of Young Leaders member Jamiel Alexander during the training.

Building Our Movement, Planning for 2018

Later on that first day, we traveled to the Boston-based organization, Teen Empowerment, for more training. We paired off with the people who live and are doing work in our cities. Together, we brainstormed our plans and priorities for 2018, and then reported to everyone about our key activities. It was energizing and concrete.

 

Inside the meeting

Working on our 2018 local action plans.

On our last day in Boston, the CATs held a discussion about how they would like to mobilize, and how longer-standing CATs could assist newer groups that have recently joined OYU.  One area we discussed: how to utilize social media to gain support and awareness.

We shared the history of OYU and the CATs, and discussed how to define what it means to be an effective CAT. We had another brainstorming session on how to organize our CATs.

At the end of the final day, we reported out on the ideas that we are each taking back to our cities and how to leverage the connections we made during this retreat when we all go back to our communities.

We’re ready for 2018!

READY

 

 

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Shanice Turner is a member of the National Council of Young Leaders and a founding member of Opportunity Youth United, and is affiliated with the OYU Sponsoring Organization Year Up. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia where she serves as grants manager and writer for Gate City Day Nursery. Shanice is equally passionate about child advocacy and creative pursuits like acting and voiceover work. More from Shanice (including video).

 

Photo credits: Nancy Schieffelin and Shanice Turner (Twitter.com/@ShaniceSpeaks)