The Youth Jobs Coalition (YJC) is experiencing a major transformation. We realized that what we had been doing, though effective in small ways, was not enough. Now, our youth leaders are shifting to a new kind of movement, and we need your help. As Ashley Delva, one of our teen leaders says: “Why is there always guaranteed funding for jails in the state budget but not guaranteed funding for youth jobs? We need to challenge that.”
Will you join us in being a founding supporter of our new movement? If you donate before the end of 2015, we’ll send you a #IHaveAFuture Founding Supporter sticker to show our appreciation.
While we celebrate seven years of history and tremendous victories, we need your support to build something bigger. This movement to truly transform the lives of young people of color in the state won’t be funded by foundations, it will be funded by a base of people who understand our vision and want to stand with us.
“‘Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?’ You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From a Birmingham Jail
Here’s our story about why we’re changing: In 2009 young people of color in Massachusetts faced a crisis. With severe state budget cuts, the already dismal rate of youth unemployment was about to get much worse. The Youth Jobs Coalition decided this situation was unacceptable and so we fought back and won.
Since our founding, the YJC has trained thousands of teens from dozens of communities of color across the state, supported tens of thousands to take action and has won millions of dollars in youth employment funding. We have made our voice heard to our elected officials, from the late Mayor Menino to Governor Patrick, from Mayor Walsh to Governor Baker, from House Speaker DeLeo to dozens of legislators across the state; we are one the most powerful political forces fighting for youth employment and youth opportunities in Massachusetts.
We are so proud of all of these accomplishments, but we also realize that despite enormous gains, IT IS NOT ENOUGH.
It is not enough, because the unemployment rate for teens of color is still over 50%. It is not enough, because young people of color are unjustly targeted by the police and the criminal justice system. It is not enough, because Massachusetts is one of the richest states in the country but does not provide adequate educational and economic opportunities to young people of color.
Because it is not enough, the YJC has transformed. Because it is not enough we have started the #IHaveAFuture Movement.
As our work for justice changes so do our fundraising needs. If we are going to build this movement, we need to build it with a base of supporters who have a stake in its success.
Can you stand with our movement and support us with $5, $25, $100 or any amount that you can? We’ll send you one of our Founding Supporter stickers if you donate by the end of the year.
Here is our vision: the #IHAF movement will continue to win concrete changes that benefit young people – but it also seeks to create a moral crisis through direct and disruptive action. This sort of bold organizing needs a bold base of support. #IHAF seeks to force the Massachusetts public to take a stand. Which side do you want to be on: the side of opportunity or the side of incarceration? The side of structural racism or the side of building the beloved community? Will we be a state where race and income decides our futures? Or will we be state where ALL young people have a future?
We hope that you will decide to be on the side of transformation and liberation. And we hope that you will decide to support our movement.
#IHaveAFuture Core Team