Project Unity ~ Sacramento (Sacramento Youth Activist Commission)

A Peacemaking Project by Natalie M.

What is the injustice we are solving?

This project will unite the youth of the Sacramento, California community, inspiring an already empowered generation to band together in the hopes of finally getting our voices heard: The Sacramento Youth Activism Commission. Yes, the name is bad, the faulty nature of which is the exact reason we need more ambitious, inspired youth activists longing to make their voices heard. Not only are we the future, but we are the present, and in standing up together, we can shift the culture towards more progressive and wholistic goals, and away from harmful societal stigmas. We will educate in the hopes of expelling ignorance. We will advocate on behalf of what we believe in. We will protest against the injustice that we see on the daily. And finally, we will shout, and scream, fight, and, when necessary, we will smile and nod in order to divert the attention of our oppressors, until we create the society we know is possible.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of We want to put an end to the suppression of youth activism and the lacking number of progressive platforms that allow youth to call foreword injustices through our own eyes. Our perspective is valuable, but in Sacramento, we cannot express it.
we will address The lacking number of spaces where youth can collaborate in order to sufficiently call to attention our point of view stifles our impact. We have all of the opportunities readily available in order to inspire change except a place to congregate.
by By providing this space, it alone providing the necessary funding and the collective grounds in which we can speak freely, we will make sure that we as youth have the ability to make the necessary change to the views and the actions of our communities.

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • 1) Establish a community that works alongside WMSac. Women's March Sacramento has the capability to give us some start-up money and venues so that we can begin our projects.
  • 2) Collaborate with each other in order to create a focalized set of goals. This way, we can outline what we as a group see as a pressing issue: i.e. Mid-Term Elections, Gun Regulations (Brady Bill), Lowering college costs, etc.
  • 3) Contact our community and make connections with other motivated and strong organizations, like the assembly members that have already reached out to us. They will allow us the opportunity to have a strong communal foundation.
  • 4) MAKE AN IMPACT!!!!! We want to find a project that speaks to us, and use our personal drive in order to will in into existence. This will allow us to make our voices heard while positively impacting our community.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

We will increase my / our compassion by taking a good and hard look at our community - observing that which is has and that which it lacks in terms of progressive change. When we listen to the stories of a variation of members of our society, we will gain focalized and compassionate insight into the pressing issues of our times.

How will you show courage?

Fighting for our rights, ensuring that our will can carry us to a place of driven success, in itself is courage enough. We will stand up for ourselves, for each other, and for those who have been oppressed but lack the privilege to march forward in the open. In pursuit of our mission, we will optimistically charge forth with composure and force, and our livelihood alone will represent our courage.

How will you collaborate with others?

Ours is one of community effort. We rely on the cooperation and collaboration on part of everyone who feels the drive to work towards a greater goal of equality. Reliance on everyone willing to listen and all those willing to lend a hand will keep us on their feet. Once we get started, we will be fully sufficient; supplied by our silent communal supporters.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

We will know we are moving in the right direction overtime we hit a goal; every time we see an injustice have fight against it; every time we have the courage start a new project; overtime we make progress, however small. Our victories - colossal and minuscule - are what will show us that we are moving forward. In acceptance of the notion that we will not ALWAYS move in the direction we would like, we will rejoice in appreciation of those moments where we know that we have.

Key Steps

  • 1) Get mini-grant :)
  • 2) Launch media-blast through WMSac, and hope that people apply for our program.
  • 3) Review applications and hold our first meeting with an exuberant, dedicated group of youth activists.
  • 4) Follow WMNational curriculum and choose a project to focus on.
  • 5) Launch our project and work with our community to make it happen.
  • 6) See where we can go.

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

Through this project, and with the help of our Peace First grant, the WMSac Youth EMPOWER group was able to better understand the impact our project could have as we saw the necessity of its existence. It was a lens through which we could understand the power of civic engagement and an opportunity we utilized in order to test the limits of local activism. So, by coming together and working alongside each other to dissect the issues facing the Sacramento area, we are able to better understand the stories behind the youth that had for so long been without a platform to speak their mind, allowing us to see how taking the time to kickstart the creative process of finding solutions to issues could begin, and how groups like ours are necessary in making the change. All of which ties back to the idea of better understanding the issue of lacking youth-friendly advocacy spaces, and shows exactly what it was that we learned about absolving the issue that we wanted to focus on.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

The idea behind receiving our grant was that it would help us to start up a group that would continuously work on different projects that would aim to better the community. As of now, we have not completed any, as we are working in the midterm elections to tie local candidates to the issue of homelessness in Sacramento, serving as a middleman for the political voice of the community and the various nonprofits we are working with. So while we haven’t had significant aid to the community quite yet, we have taken the step of providing a platform for youth voices and of thinking through the issue that we want to address, and over the next few months, you will see our plan in action.

How many people were impacted by your project?

33

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

There are 18 people in our group, and we are working with a team of 13 others who do collaborations woth us. There are 33 people who are directly impacted. The number of people impacted by our project (FYI; in the box above, we tried to put “all of them,” but due to form submission restrictions, we settled for the estimate population of Earth) has nothing to do with the number of people in our group, the number of candidates we are speaking to, nor the rough estimated total population of the homeless community. It has to do with the educational resources that we provide. Our efforts do not have to be confined to one number, A) Because our first project is not finished, and B) We can’t account for the people utilizing our resources, our future projects, our inspiration. So we hope to help THE people. All of them.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We used paper resources, information for the organizations that worked with them, and virtual interviews. While would have liked to go out into the field itself, it was deemed “too risky.” As we go, we hope to learn more and get even better at what we do.

What did your team learn?

In light of this project, we have learned that when you keep yourself aware of the importance of self-discipline, communal push-back, and the flaws of society, the re is really no limit that you can set for yourself. While this statement can seem generic, it is what we took away from this project, and it represents the ideals we hope to continue to evolve going foreword.

What challenges did your team overcome?

Other than the basic challenges of life and our own internal struggles, there’s nothing that we would say we’ve encountered that we consider to be a challenge. Everything we have faced has been clouded by excitement, and ultimately pushed through. And thats not to say that there won’t be any, but we’re ready for them when they rise to meet us.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

We work hand-in-hand with our community in developing our projects, and so we are hoping to reach out to more nonprofits, to more candidates, and generally to the population to see hat they want to hear from us. As for expanding our group, others across CA have started to do their own thing, but we hope we can partner with them on similar issues and perhaps expand our horizon going foreword.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Dream big. Start small. Persevere the crap out of every problem you face. Get enough sleep.

Our Updates:

Register for Sacramento Youth Activist Commission

Natalie M. 18 March 2018 2:53 Here is the link to a form for those who wish to register for the Sacramento Youth Activist Commission: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewuFw2Lm5uMmmiOaBe_bTaSSlQPxDBPlKDH8NG2YAmnH8glw/viewform

We're in the publicity phase!

Natalie M. 23 April 2018 21:28 So far, we have 8 applicants, and our flyers are all over Sacramento. With  part of the mini-grant, we were able to print 180 flyers - and every single one of them is in circulation, from trash-can to storefront window. 

Comments:

Kelsey T.
15 June 2018 17:06

Hi Natalie! Congrats on all you've accomplished so far! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughtful Reflection!

I LOVED reading your reflection and hearing how things are going! I know this is just the beginning of a long journey of creating space for youth to drive change in Sacramento and I'm so excited to follow your ongoing journey! Can't wait to see your plan continue to come to life!

I love the advice you've shared as well - and YES, SLEEP! It is important!

I'm curious to hear where you're at right now in this ongoing development and what is your next step? How many applicants did you receive and do you have a final group of members? It sounds like your initial focus as a group is on addressing homelessness with an eye to the midterms? That's such an important issue in Sacramento! Keep up the great work.

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!  

Kelsey T.
24 April 2018 16:28

Hi Natalie -- glad we can help! I'd be more than happy to take a look at the syllabus for your first meeting and provide some feedback.  

Natalie M.
23 April 2018 21:34

I appreciate your support and the support of Peace First. I'm drafting a syllabus for our first meeting, and I want your feedback on the clarity of our program.  

Natalie M.
23 April 2018 21:32

Thank you SO much for your advice. Because of you, we're planning to have community night where we review our project plan and our mission statement with willing members of our community. That way we can get feedback and publicize our committee so that we can gain the support of adults in our community.  

Zack J.
23 April 2018 14:36

Natalie,

I love the energy behind this project! You have so much passion and you're solving a very important problem. I love how you used a video to tell your story. I would continue to capture and create media like that to help amplify your message. When you meet with people, take pictures, post them on social media and encourage others to share. Keep making videos and encourage others to do the same. The more you can tell this story the better!

I think introducing students to influential activists would be an amazing way to create a transformative experience for anyone in your program. In starting Dual School here in Delaware, we've found that great mentors and advisors can make all the difference. AND adults love to help out young people. So if you can provide a place for adults to help students work toward solving important problems, you will change many lives!  

Kelsey T.
6 April 2018 16:37

Hi Natalie,

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths:
This project is so exciting -- so glad to see this work happening in my hometown! You are addressing an often overlooked injustice: that youth voices are often ignored and youth activism suppressed, and have thoughtfully come up with a plan to create spaces for youth to collaborate in order to push back against this injustice and ensure your voices are heard. I see a strong articulation of courage, compassion, and collaboration in your plan. I love that you are planning to collaborate with a wide range of groups and organizations -- including assembly members and WMSac. I also really appreciate that you want to stand in solidarity with those who have less opportunity to march forward in the open. You have a clear set of steps in place to spread the word and get your youth commission launched.

Things to Consider:
I'd encourage you to think about how to track your impact and progress in the short term -- I love that you are thinking about long term goals to address a range of injustices in the community, but how can you measure your short term impact? This could include simple things like keeping track of how many youth are engaged in these conversations, how many people you are able to get your message out to, etc. One thing that I think could prove challenging is the wide range of issues you are passionate about-- that's fantastic and it is important that youth voices are heard on ALL those issues, but it will be important to think about how to focus your energies. It is great that one of your steps is to get aligned on this once you've formed the group. Is your strategy for different members of the group to focus on different initiatives (Mid-Terms, Gun Regulations etc.) or is your strategy to focus on one major campaign or issue at a time and then use that to learn what works well for the next one. There are different approaches you could take, but I think it will be important to set clear goals for yourselves as you go.

I would definitely encourage you to keep doing what you're doing when it comes to considering how to collaborate with others, including marginalized groups or voices that are not as likely to be heard, AND those with access to platforms to support your work. As you work to lift up youth voices and advocate for change, it will be important to consider the best ways to advocate for each specific cause: for example, trying to lobby for state legislation vs. working with the local city council (depending on the issue).

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!  

Adrian B.
29 March 2018 20:42

Hi Natalie,

Just checking in about your project and the next steps. I wanted to make sure you are aware of the upcoming Mini-Grant Deadline - there is still time to remain eligible to attend a Peace First Challenge Accelerator if you complete your Compassionate Insight, Project Plan, and Mini-Grant application by March 31st.

We're excited about your work, and would love to be able to support it with a mini-grant of up to $250.

These tools can help you craft your insight, plan, and budget for your mini-grant:
https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion
https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Through your dashboard you can submit your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let me know how I can help!

Best,
Adrian  

Adrian B.
19 March 2018 16:40

Hi Natalie,

I love this video and your idea! This is such an important topic, and we're excited to support your work however we can. Let us know how we can help!

One thing we suggest everyone does is to engage with our online tools: https://www.peacefirst.org/peacemaking-tools The next step before applying for a mini-grant is to submit a compassionate insight, which you can do on your dashboard: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/project-unity-sacramento-sacramento-youth-activist-commission/dashboard

We also encourage you to, at this planning stage, talk to people who are directly experiencing this injustice, people who are causing the injustice, and other people who are working to make changes to this injustice. Here's a great resource for making that happen: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others

It also can be helpful to talk with other people who are doing similar work on this platform. Check out these projects and comment on ones that resonate for you to help start a conversation!

https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/uniteach-civic-engagement-0
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/civic-engagement-post-millennial-age
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/voter-registration-drive
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/your-vote-your-voice-teen-voices-must-be-heard
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/global-youth-service-day
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/youth-democratic-participation-project
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/empower-youth-teen-center
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/empodera-youth
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/community-conversations-youth-voice
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/its-time-student-voices
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/iowa-student-learning-institute
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/global-millennials-program
https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/leadership-embassy-empowerment-academy

I look forward to talking more. Please let me know if you have any questions! :) Adrian