Making Black Lives Matter in Schools
Organizing takes time and building true power sometimes takes years. As the late icon John Lewis once said, “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.”
Our community partners have been on the frontlines of the struggle to invest in our youth and our communities for years. Recently, the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to cut $25 million from school policing and reinvest the money in funding staff to specifically serve the needs of Black students. It was a tremendous victory for students—and an equally big victory for Liberty Hill’s partners, who have been working together over the last decade to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and create effective, proven systems of care that help youth succeed, learn, and thrive.
We are proud to celebrate the foundational work of our partners at Brothers, Sons, Selves Coalition, Students Deserve, CADRE, Community Coalition, Inner City Struggle, Youth Justice Coalition, Labor Community Strategy Center, GSA Network, Brotherhood Crusade, Khmer Girls in Action, Social Justice Learning Institute, and the YMCA. They have all been leaders in this space. And we’re excited to work with them as they continue to press for greater investment in communities and care.
Liberty Hill’s Youth Justice initiative is a pillar of the Agenda for a Just Future. We have worked to emphasize the need to divest from a system that criminalizes our youth—and to invest in services that support students and their ability to thrive. For example, less than a year ago, LAUSD announced an initiative, in partnership with some of our grantees, to expand diversion programs, reduce student arrests, and increase services.
The timeline of success also includes getting LAUSD to move away from willful defiance suspensions, as well as shifting millions of dollars out of punishment and into care. The school board declared that these redirected funds will be used, to the maximum extent possible, to aid Black students.
Check out this video to see a virtual timeline of the progress in action and stay tuned for more information as the fight to reimagine school safety and invest in systems of care, not punishment continues.