The Young Women’s Freedom Center was founded in 1993 to empower and inspire cis and trans young women, trans young men, and gender-expansive young people who have been disproportionately impacted by incarceration, racist and sexist policies, the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and/or the underground street economy, to create positive change in their lives and communities.
YWFC meets people where they are at: on the streets, in jails and detention centers, and in the neighborhoods and communities where we/ they live. We create economic and leadership opportunities through internships, employment, and engagement in advocacy and organizing. Together, we build our personal and collective power, heal from trauma, advocate on behalf of ourselves and each other, and gain access to education and work to transform the conditions, systems, and policies that lead to intergenerational cycles of violence, incarceration, and poverty.
We envision a world in which all cis and trans young women, trans young men, and gender- expansive young people have the support they need to recognize and eradicate all forms of oppression, to heal, and to live self-determined lives.
Those most impacted by incarceration and cycles of intimate, community and state violence have the most information and are best positioned to lead legislative and community-change toward safety, healing and transformative justice.
- When cis and trans women and young women, trans men and young men, and gender-expansive people most impacted by these cycles lead, we bring everyone with us. Our families. Our communities. Our societies.
- Poverty is a key driver of incarceration and recidivism: cis and trans young women and girls, trans young men and boys, and gender-expansive youth living in poverty experience high rates of sexual exploitation which leads to further risk for incarceration.
- Providing economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated and systems-impacted people is crucial to breaking cycles of poverty, exploitation and incarceration.
- The skills used to survive the street, incarceration, foster care and public institutions are transferable to movements for change, social enterprise and community businesses.