One of the rising stars of the Youth Justice movement, LeQuan Muhammed has emerged as a voice for his local community and a shining example of the power of positivity and the promise of youth.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles, LeQuan faced many of the systemic challenges and dangerous pitfalls young Black and Brown men are subjected to on a regular basis. He witnessed firsthand the impact of community violence. He heard the gunshots, walked past the yellow tape, and attended the funerals of friends gone too soon. His interactions with law enforcement left him feeling fearful and angry about the state of relations between the community and the police.
But once LeQuan was connected with the team at the Social Justice Learning Institute—a Liberty Hill grant recipient and partner—he found his voice and a renewed sense of purpose. Now, he’s fighting to change the narrative for young people of color across Los Angeles. He was instrumental in fighting for the recent passage of Proposition 47, which reclassified certain non-violent felony convictions to misdemeanors, freeing up people with low-level offenses to find jobs and integrate back into society more effectively. It also freed LeQuan’s own father from incarceration, giving him an opportunity at a fresh start.
“I’m ready to dedicate the rest of my life to social justice and commit myself to this work.” –LeQuan Muhammed
Recently, President Obama honored LeQuan with a special letter acknowledging his efforts and encouraging him to continue the fight for the lives and futures of Black and Brown youth across Los Angeles and the country.
From Youth Incarceration to Youth Development
Liberty Hill’s work to change the narrative around youth incarceration and change the system for thousands of high potential youth took center stage this past year with the launch of several new initiatives and partnerships that are helping to achieve our goal of creating the largest youth development system in the country. In partnership and in support of our front-line organizers, we advocated for and secured more than $100 million in County and State funding that, rather than being spent on punitive and ineffective incarceration programs, will be directed toward community-centered youth development services in Los Angeles County.