With your support, we will hire six young, low-income New Yorkers to serve as Social Justice Policy Fellows, receiving the support, knowledge and platform they need to transform the systems of poverty and inequity in this rapidly changing city. During this nine-month program, fellows will receive trauma-sensitive, culturally competent training, experience and access to coalition partners that will help them achieve meaningful change and feel the incredible empowerment that comes with mastery.
Low-income youth of color are becoming New York City's permanent underclass. In 2015, just 61% of students in NYC's lowest-income districts graduated high school in four years, compared to more than 95% in the highest-income districts. In the 2015-16 school year, student homelessness shot up 15%. Young people are systematically ignored as stakeholders when addressing issues that most impact them, but have the resilience, tenacity and innovation to affect meaningful, lasting positive change.
Youth Social Justice Fellows will work with leading policy experts and Resilience Advocacy Project staff - lawyers, social workers, journalists, and activists - to develop and lead concrete initiatives to push for change around these entrenched social problems. We give impacted youth the tools to hone and amplify their voices, countering these sobering statistics: issue identification, participatory action research, organizing strategies and data analysis to advocate for structural change.
These six fellows' policy research and advocacy will make government and community systems more responsive to the needs of New York City's most vulnerable youth. Our intentional focus on recruiting low-income youth of color elevates the voices of those most historically marginalized from system-change initiatives. Our Fellows demonstrate the power of low-income youth of color to be active, engaged community members and catalysts for positive change in their own lives and in their communities.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP) Website