Former President Obama Urges LeQuan Muhammad to ‘Dream Big’ as He Works to Transform L.A. County’s Youth Justice System

by raymond on May 27, 2020

An Acknowledgement From President Obama

In 2018, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK), an initiative of the Obama Foundation, sought out organizations working to improve the lives of boys and young men of color. As one of 10 MBK selected sites, the Liberty Hill Foundation, along with 15 cross-sector partners, is now working to transform L.A. County’s youth justice system. 
 
Recently, we were excited to play a role in sharing the story of LeQuan Muhammad, a young activist with the Social Justice Learning Institute, who got the opportunity to meet his hero, President Barack Obama at the recent My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Rising! Convening. LeQuan was personally moved by the experience, and decided to write President Obama a personal letter about his movement work, sharing the story of his fight for the passage of Proposition 47, which reclassified certain non-violent felony convictions to misdemeanors, freeing LeQuan’s own father from incarceration and giving him an opportunity at a fresh start.

Former President Barack Obama has a message for LeQuan Muhammad, a community activist with the Social Justice Learning Institute, as he continues his work to transform L.A. County’s Youth Justice System.

President Obama was so inspired by LeQuan's passion and dedication to the cause of youth justice that he wrote him back, inspiring him to continue the fight, not just for himself, but for all system impacted youth in our communities.

To learn more about LeQuan’s story, visit his Faces of the Movement profile in our 2019 Impact Report.

Partnerships Fuel Progress in Youth Justice

Liberty Hill Foundation, in collaboration with many of our California Funders for Boys and Men of Color’s (CFBMoC) partners, was thrilled at the opportunity to apply for an Obama Foundation MBK Impact Community Challenge Grant in 2019. This grant represented an opportunity to bridge the work of so many of our amazing partners here in L.A. County, while also shining a national spotlight on their transformational work.

The awarding of the MBK grant allowed our partners to show the nation that there is no bureaucracy too large for system change work.

Our MBK partners are bridging community organizing, system change, leadership development, arts, legal advocacy, school and community-based mentoring, and so much more to transform the lives of Black and Brown boys of color.

The two primary goals of our MBK work are to:

  • Build the power of youth organizing groups in L.A. County to end youth incarceration, as we know it.
  • Expand evidence-informed youth development programs.

Liberty Hill Foundation, working in collaboration with many of our CFBMoC partners, which includes eleven organizations and two coalitions, developed an ambitious goal to transform the punitive youth justice system into a care-first youth development system.

Youth Justice Community Partners

  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)
  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • Brothers Sons Selves
  • Children's Defense Fund–California
  • Community Coalition
  • Inner City Struggle
  • LeadersUp
  • Khmer Girls in Actions
  • L.A. Youth Uprising
  • Social Justice Learning Institute
  • Urban Peace Institute
  • Youth Justice Coalition
  • Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network

To read more about what our partners are during to meet these goals during the COVID-19 pandemic, please check out this post The Fight for Youth Justice Accelerates Amid COVID-19.