Future Leaders of America Receives BIPOC Youth Project Grant

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Source: Future Leaders of America

Although the Central Coast is known for its wealthy communities and pristine natural environments, inequities in our communities reflect sharp divides based on race, Indigeneity, immigration status, class, gender, sexuality, and other intersecting factors. Young people experience the brunt of these disparities, both through direct discrimination and the accumulation of inter-generational trauma. These issues lead to higher rates of adverse health issues, increased rates of involvement with the criminal justice system, and lower educational achievement.

Future Leaders of America (FLA) has been organizing with Latinx youth on the Central Coast for nearly 40 years. This year, the organization received support from The Fund for Santa Barbara through an Emerging Needs Grant to support a new project that will shine a light on the unheard experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth. Building from organizing networks across California’s Central Coast, this project will transform health disparities by equipping affected communities with evidence to change policy. 

The State of BIPOC Youth project will consist of a survey and focus groups documenting assets and needs among high-school-age youth throughout the Central Coast, including Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Counties. This effort will work directly with schools, community organizations, and parents to recruit a representative sample of young people. Findings from the study will emphasize equity by focusing on education and achievement, mental health and wellbeing, Spanish-speaking communities, Indigenous youth, system-impacted youth, Black students’ experiences, and school safety. 

To help support this project, FLA is teaming up with the Center for Publicly Engaged Scholarship at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to help use this research to inform policy and cross-sectoral interventions. A key aspect of changing the negative experiences affecting BIPOC young people will be bringing stakeholders together across sectors to identify and implement anti-racist practices with locally relevant impacts.

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