Demand Safety & Health Security for System-Impacted Youth & their Families
March 30, 2020
Board of Supervisors and City Councils of Alameda County, San Francisco and Santa Clara
Mayors of Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose
The health and safety of all young people must be an immediate priority.
As people who have been directly impacted, and advocates and leaders working directly with systems impacted young people, we call on Bay Area city and county leaders to take immediate action to protect the health and safety of justice- and systems-involved youth as you take measures to address the spread of COVID-19.
Everyone deserves to have their basic human needs met during this crisis. Those of us who carry the additional burden of being harmed by the criminal justice and other systems are most at risk from the immediate and lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we support the measures to curb this pandemic, we also know that shelter in place is particularly difficult for women, girls, trans and GNC people and our families and communities. Many of us must fend for ourselves, are the primary caregivers of our families, are already isolated, face health challenges that put us at risk, and will be hardest hit by the economic fallout. We must have reassurance that our most vulnerable who already struggle with a lack of resources and secure places to shelter, are taken care of and provided for.
We have done an initial assessment with our young people and communities we serve and the need is immediate and urgent. It is critical that cities and counties in the Bay Area not only take action now, but be bold and innovative in our solutions.
We call on San Francisco, Alameda and Santa Clara Counties to incorporate the following actions into your coordinated response to this public health crisis: 1. Bring our young people home; 2. Establish a no-arrest order for low-level, non-violent and survival violations; 3. Issue a countywide emergency plan to ensure that transitional age youth immediately receive the housing, food and cash aid they need to weather this crisis.; 4. Ensure that young parents have the support they need to be safe & care for & educate their children; and 5. Immediately reduce the population of county jails NOW!
Overview of our Statewide Work
YWFC works in four locations across California and also has statewide initiatives. The statewide work is informed by and implementd at the sites and the local work is informed and strengthened by the statewide work.
- Alezandra Zaragoza Melendrez, Director of Freedom Research Institute, Statewide
- Amika Mota, Policy Director, Statewide
- April Grayson, Statewide Coordinator of SWFC
- Katie Manbachi, Manager of Community Research, Statewide Team
- Krea Gomez, Education Director, Statewide
- Legislation & Policy: Advancing policy and legislative agenda in Sacramento and supporting local systems change initiatives
- Freedom Research Institute: Collecting, analyzing and disseminating data and research for and by those most impacted by cycles of poverty, violence, systems and incarceration through participatory action research
- Education & Training: Creating standardized curriculum and training of trainers for all YWFC programs as well as on the overall methodology and offering training to other organizations. In addition to our staff and memberleadership pipeline, YWFC supports the leadership of the Sister Warrior Freedom Coalition through coordinating Freedom Academies.
- Base & Movement Building: Developing the leadership of formerly incarcerated and systems-involved girls, women and TGNC people through YWFC programming and incubating the Sister Warrior Freedom Coalition, as well as contributing to coalition efforts and supporting emerging organizations who are part of prison reform, decarceration and decriminalization efforts.
- Changing the Narrative: Sharing our own stories, public speaking and speak outs, and producing our own social media, op eds and articles, artwork and poetry.