Zoom and Resume the Fight for Justice
Liberty Hill News from the Frontlines
MAY 2020





Zoom and Resume the Fight for Justice

In this edition of News from the Frontlines, we explore how community organizers and activists remain connected and active in the fight for justice during a pandemic. In this issue: 1) The Fight for Youth Justice Accelerates Amid COVID-19, 2) Former President Obama Urges LeQuan Muhammad to ‘Dream Big’ as He Works to Transform L.A. County’s Youth Justice System, 3) How Community Organizing Takes Shape During a Pandemic

Youth Justice Car March DTLA

The Fight for Youth Justice Accelerates Amid COVID-19 

As the global pandemic reshapes how we all live, youth organizers continue the fight for justice, especially after two youths in Los Angeles County’s juvenile halls tested positive for coronavirus this week. The research is clear that it is not safe for children to live in crowded and locked facilities with limited access to medical care and no family visits. Fortunately, building on years of work, organizers are moving the needle. In 2017, Liberty Hill and our community partners set out to reduce the youth incarceration rate by 50%. At that time, Los Angeles County held 1,184 youth behind bars. As of today, approximately 550 youth are in jails in Los Angeles County—a decrease of more than 50% over the past two and a half years. This includes a 30% reduction in the number of incarcerated youth over the past six weeks. 
The goal of Liberty Hill’s Youth Justice initiative is to transform and reduce the size of Los Angeles County’s youth justice system into a new countywide youth development system focused on prevention. 
A Letter from President Obama

Former President Obama Urges LeQuan Muhammad to ‘Dream Big’ as He Works to Transform L.A. County’ 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.
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.
Los Angeles Organizers' Virtual Town Hall & Ready to Rise Virtual Convening

How Community Organizing Takes Shape During a Pandemic

Earlier this month, community organizers and activists from across L.A. connected to relay immediate needs and concerns of community members and organizations, share tools and resources on virtual organizing, and discuss ways to use this crisis as an opportunity to push for long-term structural changes. Here are our key takeaways
Our Ready to Rise partners are busier than ever -- providing enhanced mental and emotional health services, peer support groups, virtual learning, as well as financial and food assistance. These expanded services are meeting critical needs for families in crisis and youth coming home from lock-up. Liberty Hill is proud to support our Ready to Rise partners with customized training and coaching to adapt their programs and stabilize their organizations during this pandemic.
Don't Miss a Beat

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  • 2019 Impact Report: See highlights of Liberty Hill’s recent successes over this past year, as well as some of the key victories we have achieved through our Agenda for a Just Future. Learn More
  • Stop a Coronavirus Disaster - Release Kids from Juvenile Facilities: Co-authored by our President and CEO Shane Murphy Goldsmith and Dr. Robert Ross of the Cal Endowment, this op-ed calls for the release youth from jails where COVID-19 is spreading. Learn More
  • Voices of the Movement: Housing Justice Now: View our past recorded Facebook Live Stream event highlighting the critical nature of the current fight for housing justice in the midst of Coronavirus. Learn More
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