Nearly 500 youth and adult allies – including CDF-CA youth leaders from Long Beach – made their voices heard in Sacramento this month. After a weekend summit, the youth participated in a youth-led rally, shared their stories at a legislative hearing of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, and advocated for key legislation to support justice, health, safety and success for youth during meetings with 110 legislative offices.
The Free Our Dreams Summit and Advocacy Day is an annual gathering supported by The California Endowment and organized by Movement Strategy Center, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and PolicyLink. CDF-CA youth leaders from Long Beach, including Maria, Brianna, and Vyshonne as well as CDF-CA alumni leaders Sarai and Mello, joined youth from across the state to learn from one another through regional learning exchanges, issue workshops and skills shares. The weekend was packed with dialogue around policy changes and narrative shifts needed to make their dreams a reality.
The summit culminated with an advocacy day in Sacramento where youth-led meetings with legislative offices to urge action on critical bills. Youth called on state policymakers to support legislation to help end the criminalization of young people, including CDF-CA sponsored bills, SB 1052, SB 1143 and SB 882.