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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, email@example.com 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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For Immediate Release:
July 21, 2020
Superintendent Jara Truant in Meeting with Latinx Parents, Students and Educators
Las Vegas, NV– Monday, July 20th, Make the Road Nevada (MRNV) members, consisting of parents, students, and educators, were set to meet with Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara to discuss the reopening of schools within Clark County amidst the pandemic. When the Superintendent arrived on the hour-long zoom 27 minutes late, MRNV members made the decision to reschedule the meeting. MRNV agreed to take the meeting with Dr. Jara when he requested on Thursday afternoon that he have the chance to hear from members prior to tomorrow’s board meeting. Dr. Jara wasted our members’ time. As the Superintendent of the 5th largest school district in the country, our community demands more respect than this.
The topic of this meeting regarded not only the health and safety of students and staff but of their families as well. Parents were ready to ask questions about the safety of their children, something that each and every one of them has had in their mind since the initial closing of the schools. While the Clark County School Board of Trustees argue over the past few weeks, there hasn’t been a space for monolingual Spanish speakers to voice their concerns about the reopening plans. The lack of space that has been held for Latinx families in a 47% Latinx school district is absurd and when the rare opportunity arrives it comes with no consideration for the community’s time. This is unacceptable and must change, we need more opportunities for our community’s voices to be heard.
“Our members were extremely excited to have the opportunity to speak with Dr. Jara, Our members worked diligently over the weekend on their questions and statements. This was the first time many of our young leaders were supposed to have the opportunity to speak to a person in power, someone who has direct influence over their futures. Instead, they were met with disrespect. Our members’ time is valuable and they deserved better.” Leo Murrieta, MRNV Executive Director
We hope Dr. Jara prioritizes our next meeting and that CCSD as a whole creates more opportunities for the Latinx community to use their voice.
“It’s really embarrassing how I as a senior in high school has more of an understanding of how precious people’s time is and how valuable one’s word is. If I even start a meeting late with the J4NG program that I’m in, I’m gonna get in trouble for starting that meeting late and there’s gonna be consequences to follow after that. I’ve been told that one’s word is all that they have. It’s really important to stress how I (personally) think it’s really selfish and inconsiderate that our time wasn’t valued.” Evelyn Hampton, YPP member & CCSD Student
“I was waiting for the opportunity to ask a question around the safety of my child and the community as the schools reopen but now I just feel disrespected. Now I can’t help but wonder if Superintendent Jara even cares if he is this late.” Areli Sanchez Morales, CCSD Parent & MRNV Member
“I was impressed when I learned that Dr. Jara had reached out and asked for this meeting. Needless to say, I was disappointed when 15 minutes after the meeting began, he replied to a text one of the staff sent, stating that he would be tardy. A total of 27 minutes late to the meeting that he asked for was a disappointment. I’m left thinking, would he have texted us at all if we hadn’t texted first? I felt as though he didn’t value our time.” Mario Wolthers, CCSD Educator & MRNV Member
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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.
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The death of George Floyd sent shockwaves through the world as well as within the states. His death was a result of police brutality, an ongoing issue in America. Too many black and brown lives before him have died at the hands of the police. Many of the officers involved in excessive use of force that resulted in the murder of countless black individuals go free with no consequences. It is time they are held accountable and that justice be served.
Our young people are able to make decisions and are capable of bringing forth valuable information and in times like these, it’s imperative that we listen. The youth is the future of our nation and in their hands lie the changes that will come. There are many young people in our city who are working for justice and equality on a daily basis and here is one of them.
Adam Allen is a Youth Power Project council member who fights alongside us for justice. He Brings us a message on how we can be better allies during the Black Lives Matter movement. It is not our place to speak for our brothers and sisters, but it is our place to elevate their voices so they are heard. Adam tells us that as nonblack folks we should be doing everything we can to elevate the voices of the black community not replacing them.
Watch his video below to learn how to be a better ally.
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The Youth Power Project (YPP) is a youth led program that engages young people in local grassroots organizing, policy innovation, and financial literacy education. If you want to be a part of the YPP you can apply on our website here.
You can watch a brand new LIVE conversation with a YPP council every Tuesday at 5pm on our Instagram.