Seeking Change that Lasts
There’s more than one way to change the world. The East Oakland students who started our Teens on Target youth leadership program back in 1989 sought to create a safer community through two approaches: education and advocacy. Today, TNT youth leaders continue to influence the policymakers and community leaders on issues like gun violence and police-community relations. Youth ALIVE! has an advocacy arm that works to design and pass legislation to increase safety and equality an d to promote healing. We also work with our partners in the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs to fight for justice and safety. This month, Governor Brown signed into law a bill we had worked throughout the year to pass, AB 1639 (E. Garcia) Victim Compensation Fund Expansion. Until now, any victim of a violent crime accused or suspected of being affiliated with a gang was ineligible for victim compensation. These funds are absolutely crucial to victims in a time of great emotional and economic stress. To deny them without due process was to perpetuate the pain and interrupt the healing each person deserves. It is this healing that we and many others believe can prevent future violence. We thank Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, Policylink, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and others for their leadership on this issue. We’ll continue to work in upcoming legislative sessions to pass bills on police transparency. One bill seeks more openness when police forces acquire military equipment. Another seeks the release of records of officers and prison guards being investigated for abuse. Read about the legislation on our radar.