A new generation enters the voting booth

by Crystal Shaw on September 08, 2016

Liberty Hill's new Youth Vote Action Fund grants are making it possible for some of L.A.'s most effective grassroots organizing groups to really target young voters this election season with peer-to-peer voter education, outreach and mobilization programs. 

In nearly every county in California, government spending on the criminal justice system is the single largest budget category, though prevention strategies involving health and education are more effective and less expensive ways to achieve community safety. This disparity in the allocation of resources has a disproportionately negative impact on California's low income communities and communities of color; it is the heart of why our most disenfranchised Angelenos must become active voters. Through their collective voice and power, the youth who participate in these voter outreach programs have the opportunity to advocate for themselves and hold accountable those that continue to limit critical resources like mental health support, housing, health care, a sufficient education system and employment opportunities.

Youth have the highest voter registration deficit in the state at 73%. The Youth Vote Action Fund was created to empower grassroots community organizations working to close the deficit by increasing youth civic participation in Los Angeles County.

By providing grants to the eight selected recipients below, The Youth Vote Action Fund will:

  • Increase youth voter turnout in key regions

  • Enable youth to build and show their power through integrated civic engagement campaigns, mobilization strategies and voter participation efforts

  • Win policies that improve outcomes for young people of color

  • Build capacity for ongoing programs and campaigns of youth-centered organizations

We are delighted to announce the grantees:

ACCE Institute

The ACCE Institute was founded in September 2009 to educate the public about the issues and problems facing California's low and moderate income people in communities across the state. ACCE Institute's activities focus on access to decent housing, equality in public education and health care; worker's rights; environmental justice; financial justice and economic literacy. Their projects include civic participation; community improvement and neighborhood development.

Children's Defense Fund

CDF is a national child advocacy organization founded in 1973 by Marian Wright Edelman. The mission of CDF-CA is to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life, and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF-CA was established in 1998 to meet the needs of underserved children in California. Today, in addition to the Los Angeles headquarters, CDF has offices in Oakland and Long Beach, and a satellite office in Sacramento. CDF-CA's policy priorities are ending child poverty, education equity, children's health and youth justice.

Community Coalition

Community Coalition (the Coalition) was founded in 1990 by now-Congresswoman Karen Bass as an institution that would use community organizing as a core strategy to address the devastation in South L.A. heightened by the crack cocaine epidemic, and rooted in systemic inequity and decades of disinvestment. The organization's mission is to help transform the social and economic conditions in South L.A. that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty by building a community institution capable of involving thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.

InnerCity Struggle

Founded in 1994, InnerCity Struggle (ICS) organizes youth and families to build power toward economic, social and educational justice in East Los Angeles and promote healthy, safe and nonviolent communities. ICS's work is grounded in a theory of change that views real and lasting change occurring as a result of a mass number of youth and families organizing at a grassroots level.

Khmer Girls in Action

Khmer Girls in Action's (KGA) mission is to contribute to the movement for social, economic and political justice by building a strong, progressive and sustainable community institution led by Southeast Asian women and girls. Its main constituents are Khmer (Cambodian) girls, aged 14 to18 years, living in Long Beach, who have power in KGA to make decisions and determine projects and campaigns. KGA takes a comprehensive approach to youth development by providing leadership skills and holistic support together with cultural arts production.

Labor/Community Strategy Center

The Labor/Community Strategy Center (LCSC) is a multiracial, intergenerational "think tank/act tank."  Based in Los Angeles County, it works to impact grassroots organizations around education, environmental justice, civil rights, public health, mass transit, worker and immigrants' rights, and the growing criminalization of urban life. LCSC's accomplishments include winning the School Climate Bill of Rights in 2013 with the Brother Sons Selves Coalition which bans "willful defiance" as grounds for suspension or expulsion; amending daytime curfew law in 2012 which protects youth from being given tickets for being late on their way to school; a directive on tardy tickets in 2011 which ordered officers not to give tickets to students within a 3 block radius of the school within the first 90 minutes of school; and more than $2.9 billion in public funds in 2011 to improve L.A.'s bus system and secure bus-only lanes on the densest corridor in the country to reduce auto use and improve public health.

Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education

SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education) was established in 1993 to address problems of poverty and underdevelopment in the inner-city communities of South Los Angeles after the civil unrest the previous year.  SCOPE believes that the economic problems of South Los Angeles can only be solved by building grassroots power among lowincome communities of color—and that the voices of residents play a critical role in ensuring that government works for everyone.

Youth Justice Coalition

The Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition (YJC) was formed in March 2002 to mobilize youth and their allies to address racism and class-based inequities in the Los Angeles juvenile justice system. YJC is building a countywide youth movement through organizing, advocacy and political education to push the county to develop alternatives to arrest, detention and incarceration. Since its inception, more than 400 youth have helped to establish YJC, and more than 2,000 have participated in YJC's legal education and leadership workshops. In 2007, YJC founded Free L.A. High School, one of the country's few community owned and operated alternatives to detention and incarceration for youth. Its first graduating class of 24 students received their high school diplomas on June 19, 2009.

 

The Youth Vote Action Fund is made possible by the generous support of the California Endowment, the California Wellness Foundation, the Rosenberg Foundation, the Service Employee International Union and the Weingart Foundation.

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