Young men of color are dying as a result of racial profiling. With the recent string of highly publicized killings by police both here in California and around the country, Youth Speaks wanted to create a space for young men to be heard on their own terms. While the nation talk about the issues, often lost are the hundreds of thousands of teens who experience being profiled, harassed, and brutalized by law enforcement every single day.
Their stories go unheard. Trauma goes untreated. The ability of these young men to live full lives is impeded. Power by Youth Speaks, I Want to Live is a space for young people to tell their stories, providing the testimony that indicts the practice of Racial Profiling by law enforcement.
Youth Speaks knows there are many factors that contribute to this everyday crisis. Legislators, educators, media, parents, and the youth themselves also play a role in perpetuating a system of profiling and criminalization. This project is interested in uncovering many of the institutional and environmental factors that contribute to this violence, while also providing a platform for young people to specifically share their stories about how law enforcement – be it police, immigration officials, security guards or others – targets them.
I Want To Live is designed to:
- Provide a platform for young men of color who have been profiled and threatened by police or law enforcement to tell their stories.
- Illustrate the stories of victims of police violence as a result of profiling.
- Engage young men around in workshops designed to help them tell their stories and participate in the campaign.
- Share perspectives from participants in this system: victims, families, police officers, educators, the formerly incarcerated, and anyone else who thinks they have something to say.
- Provide source information on racial profiling and violence at the hands of law enforcement for anyone interested in researching or understanding the crisis.
- Inspire programs around the country aimed at providing space for young poets and writers to write and speak to this issue.
The ultimate goal of this campaign is to facilitate a culture change that no longer allows this practice to be tolerated, in any form. We start by humanizing the people in the system through the power of voice to inspire permanent change to occur.
We are initially focusing on five methods to help make this happen:
- Online Stories – We have created spaces for victims of police violence to leave their testimony and declare their desire to live. We hope that thousands of young men participate.
- Poetry Contest – We have commissioned local poetry contests in 8 cities around the United States through our Brave New Voices Network to provide a space for young poets and writers to engage in this conversation.
- Live Workshops – We have developed a series of workshops to create structure around facilitating spaces for young men to tell their stories.
- Interactive Website – We have designed a website that captures all of the poetry, testimonies, source material, and workshops as a one-stop-shop to engage in this conversation and begin combatting this crisis.
- Promotional Videos – We have produced a few videos that we will spread wide to help illustrate the institutional nature of this crisis, and to provide story and context for victims of the practice of racial profiling.
The California Endowment
Building Healthy Communities Sites
Boys and Men of Color