The  Youth & Racial Justice Department works to dismantle structural and systemic barriers negatively impacting youth’s life trajectory and overall well-being. Using healing-informed and culturally-rooted practices, our youth develop a positive, healthy identity aimed at empowering and developing their skills to be the positive agents of change in their communities. By centering equity at the forefront of our advocacy, we challenge systems of power that are rooted in oppression by building people and community power.  The Youth & Racial Justice cadre works towards eradicating the current, punitive and outdated youth prison model and replacing it with community-based programs and alternatives to incarceration. Only through the dismantling of systems of oppression, ending mass incarceration, and reducing social, economic and environmental inequities impacting youth, can we create a more equitable and healthier future. Through supporting families, investing in community and strategic positive investment in youth can we strive towards racial and social justice.

The Youth & Racial Justice department envisions a community where youth take pride in their culture, are positively supported, and are thriving in educational and social settings.  We see youth as the future leaders and change-makers in their community.

Our Programs Include:

  • Life Coaching and Professional Development – Helping system impacted youth reach their short term, mid term, and long term goals through comprehensive mentoring and an independent development plan. For more information please email our Education Advocate Foley at fasaholu@ffsj.org
  • NOPAL (Neighborhoods Owning Power Action & Leadership) – In collaboration with UC Davis Center for Regional Change, Fathers and Families of San Joaquin (FFSJ), Motivating Individual Leadership for Public Advancement (MILPA), Centro Binacional para el Desarrollo Indígena Oaxaqueño (CBDIO), Faith in the Valley in Merced are at the core of building power through healing and trauma-informed cultural organizing across the Central Valley. Utilizing Civic Engagement  NOPAL fellows are able to create various local and statewide campaigns that are aimed at systems change (e.g #UNSHACKLEEDUCATION #HEALMENOTPOLICEME #HEALYOUTHEDUCATION). For more information click here (https://www.calendow.org/building-a-youth-power-action-and-leadership-collective/)
  • Positive Youth Justice Initiative – In collaboration with  San Joaquin County PYJI is an innovative approach to transform California’s juvenile justice system.  The focus is to improve the lives of crossover youth ― young people who have experienced documented neglect, abuse and/or trauma, have a history in the child welfare and foster care system, and who currently are engaged in the juvenile justice system. For more information please click here (https://www.sjgov.org/beta/department/prob/youth_justice)
  • Summer Academy for Social Justice – Is a series of classes and workshops focused on educating our youth on issues that impact communities of color here in Stockton. (Summer 2019 schedule coming soon!) For more information or to host a workshop please email Cdavenport@ffsj.org
  • Youth Organizing! California (Yo! Cali) – Yo! Cali practices transformative youth organizing to build power and create long term transformation of our communities. This fellowship places youth leaders at the helm of multi issue campaigns that aim to transform California.  Click here for more information (https://yocalifornia.org/)
  • Youth Empowerment & Advancement  Healing Circle: Culturally rooted, trauma informed rites of passage healing circle for young men and women that focuses on building healthy identities for youth through:
    • Character Development
    • Identifying negative stressors and developing positive coping mechanism
  • Self-reflection and behavioral analysis
    • Political education

Community & Policy Advocacy:

  • Juvenile Justice Reform
  • Community advocacy
  • Community (Re)investment
  • Develop political astuteness
  • Educational Equity

Civic Engagement:

  • Voter awareness and education via the Integrated Voter Engagement Campaign
  • D.A. Accountability
  • Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) & Local Control Funding Formula

Participatory Defense For more information please contact our Participatory Defense Coordinator at Jschawanker@ffsj.org

Educational Equity – Focusing on advancing educational equity for students of color in Stockton Unified School District through:

  • Literacy campaign ( e.g. #READINGISLIT #BOOKSNOTBARS)
  • Eliminating Zero Tolerance policies
  • Ending the school to prison pipeline
  • Participatory Education

Parent Engagement:

  • Educating and empowering parents on the educational, political, social, and environmental issues that impact families and communities in Stockton.
  • Helping to increase parents role in the youth’s educational and social life.
  • Culturally rooted parenting classes for young adults 25 and younger For more information on our parenting classes please contact our Proud Parenting Facilitator at at Iacosta@ffsj.org

Testimonial:

Re: Desiree Quiroz

“Coming to the Joven Noble youth group mentoring meetings have instilled many core values in me, such as honesty, integrity, and loyalty. These values have allowed me to grow as a person and to love myself too. These are the three things that I try to live by because it makes my life much easier. When I came off probation, it was a sigh of relief that came over me. I was very nervous in front of the judge, but I had support from staff and family. I feel better now because I am keeping myself busy by doing positive things with myself” says Desiree Quiroz upon her dismissal of charges and off of probation.

Furthermore, Desiree spoke on some of her future goals. She said that she would like to be a lawyer and someday be a judge. Desiree’s mindset has  changed and she wants to succeed in school, and is continuing to work on her personal goals.

Our Impact:

  • In 2018 Participatory Defense has saved 231 years of youth incarceration time. 
  • 25 system impacted youth have graduated from our youth program
  • Over 50% of youth served graduate from our restorative justice program

“On my first day out of juvenile hall, Fathers and Families had a celebration to welcome me home. I felt the love and joy. With them I advocate for our youth and mentor them, I speak at universities, and I speak about the challenges and our solutions for Stockton. At FFSJ we heal through love, support and cultural ceremonies. It’s definitely been a healing journey for me.” – Luis Angel, Neighborhoods Owning Power Action and Leadership (NOPAL) Fellow