What is it and what do we mean?
A lot of the work that we see in our community fits into 2 categories:
Meaning, people need food and so we have a food bank or people don't have housing so we have a shelter. Don't get us wrong- this work is super important! We need it in our community in order for people to be able to survive capitalism, racism, and other forms of oppression. But our work is about asking the question- why don't people have food? Could it be because they make minimum wage and that's not enough to cover basic bills? Then that's the root of the problem and let's fix that.
Advocating, either through a legal avenue or not, for one student to have their rights met or one family to not be discriminated against. Again, this work is essential! We need advocates and lawyers to help people defend their rights.
But our work is different- it is about collective action to solve systemic problems. We don't want to make life easier for one young person or one family. We want to go right down to the root of the problem and fix the system so that no more youth and families have that problem! And we believe that the people who have lived the problem are experts on it and need to help define what the solution could be.......and lead the charge to make that change happen.
We Do this By......Organizing!
Organizing is the tool we use to bring people together and build power. It is the key to our work because it is the most effective tool we have for youth to build power and successfully make the changes they want in their schools and their community. It is a way of figuring out solutions to our problems. A central point of organizing is action. The power is in that quantity of people coming together, taking action together, and not giving up until the solutions are realized and put into place.
We run campaigns on issues that are important to our constituents- young people of color, many of whom are also working class, and/or immigrant, and/or LGBT, and/or undocumented. Thus far, our campaigns have focused on educational justice issues, especially issues of school pushout and the school to prison pipeline.
We recently won the first half of the We Want to Graduate Campaign, which focused on credit loss due to absences and tardies. After 2 years of hard work that included doing our own research to learn more about the issue and how many students are affected, that included hours of meetings with decision-makers, that included talking to hundreds of students on the issue, the New London Board of Education finally voted to revise the district Attendance Policy. The new policy has supports and interventions for students who are absent, rather than punishments. It also has a warning system in place so that students know they are at risk of losing credit because of absences. The revised high school handbook has a detailed section on how to appeal credit lost due to absences. The information is also now on the high school website so that it's easier for students and families to access and learn about.
Read more about our campaign
New London youth activist group to be honored Saturday
(February 16, 2017)
New London youth advocacy group nabs $50,000 award
(December 9, 2016)
New London youth group competes for $50,000 award
(November 11, 2016)
New London school board reforms policy committee
(March 4, 2016)
Youth group applauds changes to New London attendance policy
(September 25, 2015)
New London Board of Education needs Policy Committee
(July 22, 2015)
Why no action on attendance policy? (Dimitry's letter to the editor)
(July 13, 2014)
Child & Family agency plans family resource fair
(May 27, 2015)
Three Rivers forum tackles racial stereotypes
(April 25, 2015)
Bodenwein Foundation to award $109,000 in grants
(February 2, 2015)
NAACP holds rally against racism in New London
(October 18, 2014)
Ferguson shooting case spurs rally in New London
(August 18, 2014)
‘Black is not a crime’ rally to be held today in New London
(August 16, 2014)
Public needs to hear these youth voices
(August 23, 2012)