The mission of the YA-YA Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies) is to provide training and leadership experience to prepare young people to become the next generation of activists in the movement for social and economic justice. YA-YA is a youth-driven, citywide, anti-racist, anti-sexist organization and allies with the LGBTQ community. We provide core trainings in anti-oppression, organizing skills and political education and engage as leaders and active members in campaigns that directly impact youth, their families and the communities they live in.
Our vision is to build transformative youth leadership through youth organizing. We advance youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social transformation while building the capacity of young people to influence policy, improve institutions, and change systems that they need to navigate in their communities. Our programs allow young people to participate in youth organizing, acquire organizing skills, develop an emerging political consciousness, build their knowledge of community issues and take collective action. Through these experiences, we seek to deepen their commitment to social justice and lay the groundwork for longer-term engagement in social justice activities. As such, our efforts have been sharply focused on creating a pipeline of youth social justice activists—from Black, Brown, Asian, immigrant, and LGBTQ communities—who will go on to play critical roles in social movements in NYC area and beyond.
What we do: The Yaya Network engages youth ages 15 to 19 in a wide range of programs. The youth who participate are a very diverse group representing many communities. Virtually all are youth of color. Many are immigrants or children of immigrants, often undocumented. The majority are female identified and a large proportion identify as queer.
At YA-YA, young activists are trained politically and pedagogically to become leaders and active agents of change through youth organizing, advocating for policy reforms, mobilizing constituents, participating in coalitions with educators, organizers and policy makers and taking leadership in long-term social justice campaigns.
YA-YA’s current program structure is designed to support youth involvement at many levels of engagement. 1. Throughout the year we offer training and political education, open events and short and long-term stipended opportunities to engage youth in hands-on work. 2. Applicants that are accepted to the Summer Social Justice Institute spend eight weeks immersed in community building, anti-oppression workshops, political education and organizing skills training. 3. Participants can join any of our project teams, receiving training, stipends and experience in base-building, workshop facilitation and campaign leadership. They organize events and actions, take our workshops out to their peers in schools and organizations and represent YA-YA in meetings with decision makers and coalitions. 4. In addition, in the Spring, youth focus on honing their organizing and facilitation skills, recruit and select the new cohort of youth and prepare to put their skills into action by co-leading the Summer Institute. Support and Resources for Activists Groups
We also support, encourage and participate in cross-issue and cross-community organizing and coalition building. We provide resources and meeting space for other groups, especially newly forming organizations and coalitions and those working on emerging issues. We work to build a stronger voice for young people in the movement for social & economic justice.
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