Below is Youth Together’s statement on the rampant police brutality and anti-Blackness being perpetuated by our government and other hegemonic forces.
June 10th, 2020
To our Oakland Community,
We honor the Black lives lost due to senseless, yet targeted anti-Black violence: Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Steven Taylor, and the countless other lives lost, who deserved to have their names known too.
We must acknowledge since at least 1619, White Supremacy has aggressively caused the dehumanization, violence, and purposeful miseducation of the Black community. This has led to disparities to every meaningful aspect of life – healthcare, housing, education, wealth, and the right to be treated as a human being.
For more than 400 years, Black people have been denied the opportunity to self-determine. How can we continue to defer that most basic human right of the Black community, even after using all the tools and tactics available to them to appeal to the better conscience of those in power?
The injustice MUST end.
Grounded in our commitment to peace, unity and justice, the mission of Youth Together is to address the root causes of educational inequities by developing multiracial youth leaders and engaging school community allies to promote positive school change. Youth Together was formed as a direct response to social unrest and multi-racial violence. As long as the ways in which White Supremacy continues to be woven within our institutions, economy, and social systems- to the effect that Black people are consistently terrorized, targeted, underserved, and murdered by the police- the vision of Youth Together for self-determined communities can never be fully actualized.
We call on the adults in our communities to come forward as advocates, educators, supporters, and protectors of youth, especially our Black youth, by committing to:
- Following Black Organizing Project’s leadership in eradicating the Oakland School Police Department by 2020 and invest in student supports such as Restorative Justice, School Counselors, and Peer-to- Peer support groups
- Supporting Anti-Police Terror Project’s Black New Deal for a holistic, community-centered approach to addressing systemic inequities within housing, education, healthcare, and transportation for Black people in Oakland.
- Supporting the full implementation of Ethnic Studies curriculum in all grades levels. As a multi-racial, educational equity organization, we understand that people aren’t born racist – racism is taught.
The path forward can only be forged through intersectional action, personal reflection, and leadership by those who are most affected. Time and time again, our ancestors have shown us that our collective power and unity can topple any adversary; however, we must each do our own part to contribute to that unity. We must constantly and consistently educate and mobilize ourselves, our families, youth, and communities, so we can all take part in actively and strategically shaping an equitable future, where we can all thrive.
A Message from Youth Together Staff