Introduction: Youth Organizing in the U.S.

Source: Hahrie Han and Ester Fang, Forge Organizing, August 19, 2021

In all of these stories, young people’s creativity, moral courage, and commitment enabled them to turn the resources they have into the power for change.

….In this issue, we have brought together a diverse group of youth organizers from across the United States to tackle the critical questions facing the field. What innovations are young organizers bringing to the movement, and what strategies are they pursuing to build political power? What kinds of organizational structures have youth organizers built, how are they forging a relationship between movement and organization-building work, and how are they navigating the tension between revolution and reform? Where are they collaborating across generations, and where are tensions emerging? Youth and adult organizers alike must examine these questions if we want to build organizations with enough power to address the cascading crises facing our world today. …

Articles include:

The Long Arc
Scott Warren and Greisa Martinez

Greisa Martinez Rosas on the importance of personal transformation, the long arc of the movement for justice, and how United We Dream’s strategies are shifting with the new administration.

Oakland Students Turn the Tables
Sonja Kaleva and Lukas Brekke-Miesner

How Oakland Kids First built youth governing power during a pandemic

Youth power requires more than electoral organizing
Michael Carter

Our electoral organizing model increased turnout, but young people of color deserve more.

Young People Will Carry Us On
Tynetta Hill-Muhammad and Makia Green

Tynetta Hill-Muhammad on why she sees young people as the foundation of the abolitionist movement, the work BYP100 does to transform the personal into the political, and the challenges and opportunities of working cross-generationally.

Transforming youth-led organizing in the digital age
Fred Pinguel

While technology is transforming grassroots organizing in incredible ways, the core of our work is still relationship building.

Progressive Organizers Must Redefine Success in…
Kiersten Iwai

I want the rest of America to see the rural America that I see: the queer and trans youth and youth of color refusing to be ignored and the young people demanding progressive change in order to save our planet and humanity.

From Demanding to Commanding Power
Geordee Mae Corpuz and Saa’un Bell

We must find ways to transform the whole system, not just change policies. That will never happen unless we change the people, the culture, and the power young people of color have over their lives.

“Make the status quo unlivable”
Emma Jewett and Scott Warren

Providence Student Union’s Emma Jewett on empowering young people to take action, navigating relationships with adult allies, and why youth organizing is such a powerful mechanism for change.

Advocacy Within the School House
Khin Mai Aung and Greg Fredricks

How Generation Citizen is pushing civics beyond the classroom to the community

How YDSA Will Grow Post-Bernie
David Duhalde and Sarandon Elliott

YDSA National Coordinating Committee Co-Chair Sarandon Elliott talks about the opportunities and challenges facing YDSA in this moment, her plans to help grow the organization over the next year, and the difference between socialist organizing and other forms of campus activism.

From Climate Strikes to the Union Hall
Teresa-Marie Oller , Travis Epes, and Maria Brescia-Weiler

Young workers are key to building the labor climate movement.

Commentary: Youth Organizing in the U.S.
James Lopez

We must build young leaders to make mass organization possible.