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Public schools are the heart of our communities. That’s the core belief that led us through the good, the bad and the everyday moments of 2019. From lessons learned to shared victories, we couldn’t have done it without our students, staff and community leading together to build a brighter future for California. To celebrate that energy and dedication, please join us in taking a look back at some of the highlights in our work over the last year. 

#1: Breaking New Ground on Relationship Centered Schools:

#2: Gearing up for a Historic 2020 Initiative: Schools & Communities First

  • Californians for Justice joined the Schools & Communities First Executive committee and is playing a key role in education and youth organizing around the campaign. 
  • Org-wide our staff have collected hundreds of signatures and engaged youth voters of color across the state to ensure they are informed on what this historic initiative means for our communities.

#3: Building Power Across the State

  • We held a new version of our annual celebration–State of the Youth–with Assemblymember Ash Kalra in San Jose. We honored grassroots ally organizations SIREN, GSA Network and SOMOS Mayfair for their work to transform our communities and promote youth leadership. We also heard about the future of education in California from State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and challenged our guests to share their own radical dreams for our schools and communities.
  • We joined 17 other organizations from across California to form the Shared Story Table as part of the Partnership for the Future of Learning to build a powerful new narrative of public education in our state. Together with grassroots, policy and research groups, we worked hard to establish a new way of talking about our schools and how we can create an “Education System Built for Us All.” 
  • This summer more than 50 community leaders, educators and allies gathered in San Jose to learn how our fight for education justice is rooted in the fight for integration and liberation across the movement. From housing rights to climate change and gender justice, our SJ staff and students spoke out on how we all need to Lead Together for real change.


#4: Celebrating Youth Voice in Democracy

  • In 2019 we continued our integrated voter engagement program and polled more than 8,500 youth of color to see if they agreed that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes in California. 
    • We established civic engagement and phone-banking teams in each of our four regions, including hiring and training an all-alumni civic engagement team in Oakland
  • CFJ youth from San Jose to Long Beach attended Univision’s Presidential Forum this fall where they heard directly from candidates on key issues like racial justice, education and housing rights.
  • After 15 years, hundreds of youth and millions of memories, we said goodbye to our San Jose office and moved right next door! The shift accommodates our growing staff while staying true to our roots in the Eastside. Plus, we’re still right across the street from one of our main schools in the district — Independence High — where dozens of CFJ youth, alumni and staff have attended over the years. 

Folks were also working hard behind the scenes to keep our magic alive in 2019. CFJ  hired and oriented 11 new staff members, managed our biggest budget yet — over $3 million — and officially became a fiscal sponsor for a movement building network: Youth Organize! California. 

All told, Californians for Justice saw more than 250 student leaders progress through our unique youth organizing model, engaged with thousands of youth voters of color across the state and helped shape the narrative of how California’s public schools are the heart of our communities. 

We look forward to the new challenges and opportunities presented in 2020 and can’t wait to Lead Together with you!

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