Advancing Youth Policy with a Racial Equity Lens
Youthprise is intentional about examining policies, practices and programs through a racial equity lens to address the disparities faced by youth of color and other disconnected youth. This means that we elevate the voices of those most impacted by disparities and then work to close disparity gaps.
The PolicyLink paper, Equity is the Superior Growth Model describes the changes occurring in Minnesota. As the paper describes,
There will be more people of color in Minnesota’s future, a fact that bodes well for realizing a more robust economy in the state. Minnesota’s Tomorrow: Equity is the Superior Growth Model, commissioned by the state’s philanthropies, makes clear that realizing the potential of Minnesota’s growing diversity requires adopting an equity strategy that would grow new jobs and businesses while bolstering long-term competitiveness. Equity is an economic imperative that means fair and just inclusion for all into a society where every Minnesotan can participate and prosper.
In public policy advocacy, we mobilize the voice of Youthprise partners, grantees and youth to advocate for public policies that:
- Increase public investment in afterschool and summer learning, youth development, juvenile justice, and workforce readiness
- Promote cross-system collaborations between afterschool, schools, juvenile justice, workforce development, health and other systems to address the holistic developmental needs of youth
- Reduce disparities in access to opportunities for learning, economic prosperity, and health and safety
- Empower youth voice in policy decisions
You can download our 2016 Policy Priorities here.
A key collaborator in Youthprise’s public policy work is Ignite Afterschool, Minnesota’s statewide afterschool network. Youthprise serves on Ignite’s Strategic Leadership Team and complements its policy efforts through our own policy advocacy. Youthprise shares Ignite’s top policy priority of increasing public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs.
The Minnesota Youth Council (MYC) is another important policy partner. The MYC is a strategic partnership between Youthprise and the Minnesota Alliance With Youth. A representative statewide body of 36 youth and their adult mentors, the MYC advises the Minnesota Legislature and Minnesota Department of Education on policy issues affecting youth. They host MYC Committee meetings at the Capitol each year where legislators come to present their bills for consideration.
Ignite Afterschool and MYC play a leadership role in organizing the annual Youth Day at the Capitol, which brings more than 1,000 youth and adults to the Minnesota Capitol to highlight youth policy issues and hold meetings with legislators. The next YDAC is scheduled for March 29, 2016.