“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Paulo Freire
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.
Education is a basic human right, not a privilege.
The vision of Youth Together is to reclaim public education. We seek to create public educational systems that are just, community based, supportive and people centric. We aim to empower, mobilize, and build self-determination among students and their communities.
Youth Together envisions students who think critically, are social change agents, and who challenge internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression in their schools and communities. Specifically, we envision public schools as spaces where youth, their families, and community members are key decision makers in their educational experience.
We envision an educational system that is both the center of the community and a tool for creating community. When local educational institutions are designed to meet the needs of students, a strong community is created.
1. YT values young people because we believe youth are inherently valuable and powerful and must be key players in creating a world free of internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression.
2. YT values supporting academic development, raising political consciousness, and knowing our histories because we believe the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, education, and reflective practice is necessary for our liberation.
3. YT values leadership development because we believe by nurturing the confidence and skills of young people they will create a just environment in their schools and communities.
4. YT values multi-generational partnerships because we believe youth and adults sharing power and knowledge is necessary for authentic social change.
5. YT values multiracial unity because we believe that racial division is a key tool of oppression, and that we gain strength and power in learning and sharing our histories, cultures, and experiences.
6. YT values anti-oppression work because we believe that all forms of injustice prevent effective movement-building.
7. YT values movement building, because we believe power is created by people organizing to make change inside and outside of institutions.
8. YT values accountability because we believe both self-discipline and high expectations nurture a fair and equitable environment.
9. YT values access to equitable and quality education because we believe education is basic human right that determines individual and community well-being.
10. YT values self-determination because we believe in the capacity of individuals and communities to envision and realize their strength, power, and well-being
11. YT values building a healthy organizing culture that acts out of love, respect, and equality for all people because we believe strong individuals and strong relationships build strong movements.
12. YT values collaborative decision-making and transparency because we believe open communication and healthy conflict struggle the greatest solutions.
13. YT values peace and non-violent solutions because we recognize the damaging effects of violence in our homes, communities, and world and see the role we play in ending this cycle.