POY

Opinion

A Year of Youth-Led Racial Equity Service Projects

America's Promise Alliance

Throughout 2021, youth leaders have been working to create more just and inclusive communities with the support of grants from America’s Promise Alliance’s Power of Youth Challenge. This round of grants, focused specifically on promoting racial equity, recognizes the important role that young people play in addressing racial division and injustice in their communities. Youth grantees have taken on a range of issues: from educating peers and community members about various cultures, to taking action to address racist policies, to providing tangible supports for immigrants and refugees.

This year’s grants were made possible with generous support from The Allstate Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering youth to succeed and lead.

Below are five examples of innovative projects grant winners are leading to promote racial healing in their communities:

Race in the Classroom: Open Discussion
Camden County, N.J.

Andrew G. worked with members of the African American Appreciation Club to lead an open conversation about racism in the classroom, being a minority in a school setting, and assumptions about BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students. After a successful initial conversation, the project is expanding to all high schools in the district. School administrators, Board of Education members, and students will all be invited to future conversations.


Encode Justice
Santa Clara County, Calif.

Sneha R. is using a Power of Youth grant to fund educational workshops about the ways in which flawed facial recognition technology has resulted in wrongful arrests of Black men. These workshops have reached more than 3,000 high school students worldwide and share about the potential of algorithms to be a force for good as well the ways they currently compound surveillance and discrimination.


Raising Awareness of Hawaiian History
Honolulu, Hawai'i

Hā‘ena L. and Lamakū L. are educating students and community members on the history of Hawai'i via an annual school event about Hawai‘i’s independence and encouraging their school to fly the Hawaiian flag. The project will promote cultural awareness by sharing little-known facts about Hawai'i’s history.


Virtual Tutoring and School Supplies for Refugee Youth
Shelby County, Tenn.

Krishnav M. is fighting education inequity via online tutoring sessions and collecting school supplies and books for refugee youth in Shelby County. The goal of this project is to embrace cultural differences, build friendships, and meet the needs of refugees in the community.


Breaking Barriers with Books: Reading for Racial Healing
Reston, Va.

Maxine P. is using a Power of Youth grant to purchase books that portray underrepresented cultural perspectives and themes of racial power structures. Maxine’s project promotes cultural awareness by introducing students to new cultures and allowing them to see their own identities reflected in a story.