School Climate, Decriminalization of Youth Major Topics at Youth Led Town Hall

by Crystal Shaw on October 10, 2016




On Thursday, October 6, more than 250 community and youth leaders gathered at the Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition (BSS Coalition) community forum for dialogue about the release of the Vision 2020 Youth Policy Platform (Vision 2020).  BSS Coalition hosted the forum in collaboration with California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, which focused on youth-led initiatives to improve local schools and neighborhoods.

BSS youth leader Ryondell Borne (17, Washington Preparatory High School), shared the Vision 2020 origin story.

“We created Vision 2020 so elected officials can understand how different policies affect our lives. We want them to hear our stories and have the opportunity to make things better for future generations.”

The community forum featured three panel discussions, each touching on a different topic addressed in the policy platform, including improving educational outcomes for boys and young men of color by improving school climate, decriminalization of youth, and improving youth engagement and empowerment opportunities.  Community leaders such as Assembly Member Reggie-Jones Sawyer and Long 

Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson participated in discussions along with the youth leaders.

During his welcome, Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson commented “This effort cannot be accomplished alone. We need youth and community leaders to inform the decision-making process of state and local legislators to improve the lives of our young men of color.”

 Vision 2020 was developed and created by BSS Coalition youth participants and describes how policies have impacted boys and young men of color, how advocacy has positively impacted policy, and most importantly, it outlines several policy recommendations the youth participants believe are needed to bring about meaningful systematic reform.

Shane Murphy Goldsmith, President and CEO of the Liberty Hill Foundation stated, “Vision 2020 is one of the many ways in which our young people should have the opportunity to let t

heir leadership shine. Decision-makers should continue to create spaces for young men of color that encourage leadership development, civic participation, and community empowerment.

A digital copy of Vision 2020 along with more information and resources about BSS Coalition can be found at

Brothers, Sons, Selves is a coalition of 10 community-based organizations from across Los Angeles County that are organizing and working with African American, Latino and Asian Pacific Islander youth in low income communities to address inequity through grassroots policy campaigns and leadership development.  The members of the BSS Coalition are Brotherhood Crusade, Children’s Defense Fund California, Community Coalition, Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network, InnerCity Struggle, Khmer girls in Action, Labor/Community Strategy Center, the Social Justice Learning Institute, the Weingart East LA YMCA, and Youth Justice Coalition.  The BSS Coalition is a strategic partnership of Liberty Hill Foundation and The California Endowment.


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