As we are all collectively grappling with what life in the time of COVID means for us, individually and institutionally, we here at Youth Rise are sending out our deepest care to those whose lives have been adversely affected, and are seeking ways to do our part to protect those most vulnerable.
From co-drafting letters and co-hosting digital press conferences , calling on city and county officials to coordinate comprehensive response plans , to decarcerate, and to fund cash assistance programs for undocumented and formerly incarcerated people, to speaking to the press about the needs of our families in this time, we’ve been doing the best we can to reduce the harm we know that our people are facing right now.
In order to help stabilize our own membership, we have developed an Emergency Cash Assistance Program that is now serving more than 40 YRTX youth and their families, many of whom are immigrants, ineligible for federal stimulus checks, reliant on cash economies, or who have been furloughed and laid off due to the COVID crisis. We have always maintained a small monthly emergency fund for our members because we know that their ability to lead requires that their basic needs are met, and this moment is no different, so we scaled these efforts accordingly. You can contribute to our COVID Emergency Fund here . 100% of the proceeds of this fund, up to our $20K goal, go directly into the hands of our membership in order to help pay for basic needs including housing costs, food, and healthcare. Any donations that exceed our goal will support our mission and transitioning our programs to happen online this summer.
And while all of this is going on, we can’t help but remind ourselves that this is why we are here: to reduce harm and cultivate opportunities for healing. While we’ve taken all operations remote, and are pivoting to create a bright spot for our city’s youth through a creative online organizing strategy, we’re also sombered by the collective trauma and deep uncertainty so many of our families face. This is why we organize youth to become outspoken, powerful leaders for justice and collective care, and in this moment, our work has taken on new meaning.
Young people’s power matters in 2020, now more than ever. We recognize that in the last few years, we’ve said this every few months, but it bears repeating because each time we mean it even more – and each time we assert it, we are once again filled with a resolve and clarity about why we gather, why we teach, and why we heal. Thank you for gathering with us.