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The Youth Power Project and its members hosted an Art Night in Action these past few weeks.
They met on January 11,13,18, and 20 at the Make the Road office, 4250 Bonanza Rd. Suite 20. The purpose of these events is to remind the Las Vegas Youth of the immense power they own, and to continue the fight and empower new young leaders as they grow.
“YPP members joined together to paint their movement for International Education Day on January 24th. This was a lot of fun and empowering activity,” said Kathia Sotelo, Youth Power Project’s youth organizer.
The groups of young individuals came together and decorated t-shirts, jeans, and tote bags to raise awareness of the issues with education. Those issues include: banning pepper spray usage in schools, removing officers from schools, replacing them with mental health professionals, ensuring all students have access to a water bottle filling station in each school, and much more. They instilled positive messages in their tote bags to highlight their voices for change.
Eden Abebe, a youth power member, shared her experience. “Art in Action allowed me to express my passion for educational justice through a new lens. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to use our creativity to communicate critical issues!”
The Youth Power Project always welcomes new members to join in the fight for educational justice. In April 2019, over 90 youth leaders traveled from Las Vegas to Carson City to speak with their elected officials at the state capital. And hand them a letter on the critical issues that impact their daily lives. Not to mention they launched an educational justice campaign; this has resulted in standing meetings with the Superintendent of Clark County—the fifth-largest school district in America!
The Youth Power Project meets virtually every Thursday at 5pm. To volunteer or join the Youth Power Project, email our youth organizer, firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.
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Thursday, August 19, 2021, | The Youth Power Project and partners took to the streets to continue demanding of the Clark County School District to reallocate funds from the CCSDPD back into the education of our students and the hiring of mental health professionals, counselors, school nurses, and college advisors who are in desperate need on our campuses. At the action, we heard heartbreaking testimonies from both folks present, and those who unfortunately live in fear on account of police presence on their campuses.
Our young people have drafted a plan for the reallocation of funds, but the School District has ignored them and their suggestions even when they attend board meetings. Our young folks are met with racist, xenophobic, homophobic, hecklers at board meetings and on top of being exposed to this hatred, they are pushed to the very limit of the meeting, if they are ever acknowledged by the board at all. Although they have been unable to be heard at board meetings, they are regaining control with the help of their community and parents.
These young folks are our future and they are shaping it to their liking.
Our role as adults, their allies, is to listen to them, to push them forward when they are pushed back, and to help amplify their voices loud enough so that those in power can’t ignore them. Join the youth in their efforts to shape the future of their education, not only for themselves but for every student who comes after them. Join the fight to create a better educational experience for your own children.
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On April 7th, the Youth Power Project and Make the Road took the Clark County District Building to rally for police-free schools. Led by the powerful voices of directly impacted youth, the message was clear; “We are directly affected by the police presence on campus. Schools are a place of learning, not a place for the police” (Ivana, YPP).
Tensions rose with the increasing heat fueled by the importance of the message and the courage of those who spoke out. Students used their resources and platforms to bring a difficult conversation to the District’s doorstep that serves them. Their voices chanted Education NOT Incarceration, and their chants hit heavy against the windows of the District Building as onlookers listened from inside. Receiving offensive efforts from counter-protestors, our youth stood their ground and demanded to be heard with courage and power.
Here’s the issue | The latest available budget data shows that CCSD spent $18.4 million on salaries and benefits for members of the district’s police department in 2018–2019.35 While the district has 161 sworn law enforcement officers and 41 civilian officers, they are vastly under-staffed when it comes to nurses, social workers, psychologists, and school counselors. Aside from the monetary strain, the CCSD Police puts on our education system, the repeated violent offenses that police do to children ranging in age from Elementary school to High school need to end.
Read the full report here.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2020— Make the Road NV and school personnel joined the Youth Power Project leaders as they gathered in front of Desert Pines High School to combat the school-to-prison pipeline and call for the defunding of the Clark County School District Police Department. Angelica who is part of support staff in an elementary school, her role is to give support to predominantly black and brown elementary students. She recalls some deeply upsetting encounters, like a kid whose father was in jail, and a school assignment he wrote, which was about his biggest wish to see his father again.“In the back of his paper, he drew a picture of himself sitting down having a meal with his Dad. Unfortunately, this is another sad reality expressed by my students, many of them are growing up with their fathers in jail. Sometimes our presence alone represents that stable adult in their lives.”
That is exactly why we are promoting to defund the school police, to break the cycle of minority kids getting into trouble with the law due to school police and not having a stable relationship with their family in the future.
Adam Allen a former Youth Power Project council member recalled being at school and feeling like he was in prison due to all the police surrounding the courtyard. That is why we must all keep fighting for a police free learning environment and higher investment in school counselors, nurses, and social workers. #DefundSchoolPoliceCCSD #PoliceFreeSchools
Sign your name to our petition to keep our kids in a safe place where they have access to restorative justice, counselors, nurses, and mental health resources and do not have the constant fear of being criminalized and put on the school-to-prison/deportation pipeline by school police.