A coalition has officially launched in the South Bay to empower teens and young adults to create positive social change in their communities through leadership development, community organizing, and advocacy efforts.
Youth in Action launched in the South region of San Diego, from Barrio Logan to San Ysidro on March 25 for teens and young adults ages 12-26. The coalition is led by a group of dedicated youth specifically chosen to lead the direction of the coalition called the Youth Advisory Board.
The youth-led coalition, funded by Proposition 64, was formed in response to “ the unfair punishment of people of color for drug-related offenses,” the group said in a press release that “can lead to a number of challenges such as Adverse Childhood Experiences, mental health struggles, and substance use disorders.”
“We really want the youth to take ownership of the coalition and be proactive in all aspects of its development,” said Lisette Muñoz, assistant program manager for YiA. “They set the agenda and determined the activities at the event so that each attendee could tap into their own individual expression and artistic creativity.”
In a press release, the coalition says it aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills, and support they need to advocate for their communities. The coalition seeks to create a safe and supportive space for youth who want to build positive relationships with themselves, their identity, and those around them.
Through YiA, youth will develop the skills to advocate for long-term equitable solutions. Activities will include individual and team-building development and leadership activities such as a Photovoice workshop, a youth convening in Sacramento, community clean-ups, and other civic activities and mental health check-ins.
“Many of the most vulnerable in society, including youth who have been caught in the crossfire of gang violence or who have an incarcerated parent, have been regarded as ‘unintended consequences’ of the War on Drugs, and our hope is to change that by promoting positive health and establish connectivity to their communities,” said, Muñoz.
To get involved with Youth in Action, contact Lisette Muñoz at firstname.lastname@example.org.