$20,000 / Fall 2017
Youth Organizing Institute (YOI) was formed in 2010 to strengthen the voice of low-income students of color and their families in the debate about Wake County’s school diversity policy. The organization works to build the organizing and political capacity of youth of color through Summer Freedom Schools, seasonal trainings, and IPEPs (Individual Political Education Programs) as well to remove the structural barriers (e.g., transportation, sibling care, financial cost) to youth engagement in organizing and policy work. Over the past few years, YOI’s organizing has resulted in decreased out of school suspensions; increased access to bilingual services for students and their families; amended MOUs to demand more transparency, tracking, and trainings for SROs; mobilized hundreds to school board meetings; and the first statewide Black Lives Matter Youth Assembly. Hazen’s renewal grant will enable YOI to continue to develop the political and organizing capacity of youth as well as help their alumni conduct direct actions at strategic sites and moments. It also will support YOI’s work to organize students and parents in order to end out-of-school-suspensions, a reduction of cops in schools, increase the availability of restorative justice programs, desegregation of schools, stopping budget cuts, and to create a positive school climate for LGBTQ youth, disabled youth, and immigrant youth.