A Call to Funders: Support a Youth Movement for Safety and Justice for All
The wave of student-led mobilizations calling for gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, FL has captured the attention of the entire nation. The Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing applauds the courage and leadership demonstrated by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They are a testament to the power young people can wield when they take collective action and speak with moral clarity. We now call on funders and donors to join us in supporting a youth-led movement that cuts across race and class in order to demand safe, just and healthy communities for all.
The students of Parkland stand in a long tradition of young leaders driving transformative change. For the last 18 years FCYO has supported young people from across the country organizing for justice and equality in their communities. There are now more than 300 organizations represented on our Youth Organizing Landscape Map. For more than two decades, youth from working class communities of color have been organizing to demand redress for systemically racist policies that have resulted in their communities and schools being under resourced, over-policed, and disproportionately subject to both interpersonal violence as well as violence perpetrated by agents from the very institutions that are supposed to serve them. These young people have long called for an end to gun companies profiting from flooding communities with dangerous weapons as well as an end to other forms of systemic injustice. We believe that these multiple forms of violence are deeply intertwined and must be addressed simultaneously if we are to create healthy and safe communities for everyone.
Toward that end, FCYO is creating a new fund: The Youth for Safety and Justice Fund, to support young people organizing in this moment. This fund will focus on efforts that employ a racial justice lens and connect gun violence to other forms of systemic injustice. It will look to connect young people across race and class to build unity and broader political power. Our initial goal is to raise $250,000 to provide rapid response funding to young people taking action in the current moment. Over the longer term, we seek to raise $1,000,000 to support young people doing the essential work of building their base, educating voters and taking collective action to ensure safe, just and healthy communities for all.
Out of the horror of this latest tragedy comes an opportunity for transformation. The seeds are present for a multiracial, cross-class alliance of young people standing up to demand a society free from all forms of violence. Youth organizers will require substantial resources if these seeds are to blossom into a full blown movement.
Young people across the country are taking up the mantle of leadership. Join us as we work to ensure they have the resources needed to seize this moment and build their strength for the critical political moments to come. With initial contributions, we have already raised $85,000. Join our growing list of donors by contacting Mónica Córdova, Deputy Director of FCYO, at firstname.lastname@example.org, in order to contribute to the Youth for Safety and Justice Fund.
The Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing
The California Endowment
Rachel Gunther, YouthBuild USA/Youth on Board
Katie Warner, Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)
Jesus Sanchez, Gente Organizada
Reggie Moore, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Office of Violence Prevention
Ash Chan, House of Gold Collective
Manuela Arciniegas, Andrus Family Fund
Cerissa Huggins, Rockaway Youth Task Force
Zack Mezera, Providence Student Union