illustration with words, "It's Our Duty to Fight for Our Freedom"

Building Youth Power to Influence Policy

UCLA Luskin Urban Planning Professor Veronica Terriquez and UCLA undergraduate Kahlila Williams wrote a Stanford Social Innovation Review article on the importance of supporting youth who are joining together to work for a more equitable future. The number of youth-organizing groups in California grew from 10 to 15 in 2010 to 171 by 2019, in part due to heightened engagement from undocumented youth and the Movement for Black Lives, the authors write. This mobilization led to calls for change that included a campaign to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, which Williams participated in as a leader in the Students Deserve group. In addition, massive voter registration and education campaigns contributed to a near tripling of youth voter turnout between 2014 and the 2018 midterm elections. “By embedding young people in relationships and activities that help them constructively respond to hardships and trauma, youth organizing can channel their energy toward building a multiracial democracy,” the authors write.


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