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Calling all Allies! CFJ Needs Your Support

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What’s going down?

Black and brown youth are the leaders we need to create schools rooted in racial justice and liberation. This vision guides our work and relationships at Californians for Justice. But right now, those values and vision for CA public schools are under attack. 

For the last few months we have been the target of misinformation, scare tactics and coordinated efforts by right-wing activists to undermine our school transformation work and the push for Black liberation in our public schools. 

In early-March, our opposition escalated their attacks, including lawsuits (and threats of additional ones) against partner schools and districts as part of a dangerous lawfare smear campaign. “Lawfare” is the use of frivolous litigation to draw time, attention, and resources away from the important youth leadership and school transformation work we do in partnership with schools. This tactic has been used against domestic and international organizations that support Palestinian security and freedom.

Specifically, the opposition targeted CFJ for condemning the Israeli government for committing genocide, orchestrating apartheid, and displacing Palestinians. CFJ’s stance has been strategically misrepresented in an attempt to undermine decades of equity and racial justice work in California’s public schools. We oppose all violence borne from U.S. imperialism, colonialism, corporate capitalism, and white supremacy. We understand our liberation is tied to the liberation of student and youth leaders everywhere.

What’s at stake?

We are seeing youth leadership crackdowns across the country, on college and high school campuses alike as students demand divestment from genocidal governments. We know that billions of dollars are pouring into wars abroad, leaving students without schools or basic supplies. In fact, 80% of schools in Gaza have been destroyed, according to a recent United Nations report.

In March, the The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) commissioner stated that the conflict in Gaza is “a war on children. It is a war on their childhood and their future.” The latest Gaza health authority data indicates that at least 12,300 youth have died in the last four months. Countless other survivors are still navigating grief, famine, and unimaginable violence. As a youth-powered organization we will continue to uplift and amplify the voices and needs of young people. The genocide in Palestine is intrinsically linked to the fate and lives of youth here in California.

CFJ student leaders, staff and community allies mobilized to center youth voice and solidarity at the March 20 Long Beach Unified school board meeting.

Our opposition claims that this sort of international solidarity and political education is irrelevant to CA high school students, that CFJ youth leaders are incapable of understanding the complexities of these issues and are being indoctrinated. These dangerous assumptions have roots in adultist and racist stereotypes that rely on the idea that Black and brown youth lack critical thinking or agency.

“I am someone who talks a lot. I’ve always talked about things that I’ve deemed important. I’ve always talked about things that others deemed important. I talk about things that just make my day. So CFJ did not give me my voice, but it did amplify my voice. It gave me the space to speak and be heard and to heal from the traumas that I’ve endured.” – Shyah, CFJ youth leader and 12th grade student in Long Beach Unified School District

Why does your solidarity matter?

It is no coincidence that this smear campaign comes as we are on the verge of rolling out our youth-led reparations campaign for Black students and families, both locally and statewide. The closer we get to disrupting existing power structures and redistributing resources, the more frantic our opposition becomes.

The great news is we’re not alone in this fight. Our work has roots in the leadership and activism of so many incredible leaders before us; folks like Maya Angelou, Malcolm X and Angela Davis. Today, civil rights and advocacy groups like AROC, Jewish Voice for Peace, 18 Million Rising, and The Movement for Black Lives lead the conversation and show why the fight for liberation in Palestine is directly connected to movement work here in the U.S. 

We ask that you stand with us and youth across the country to face the reality of this moment and speak out against censorship and crackdowns on dissent. Notice and name lawfare tactics when you see them. Continue standing with us as we center Black and brown youth leadership and work to transform public schools into the places of belonging, healing, joy, and political education we know they must be.

Contact us at for more resources and ways to support school transformation and liberation work with Californians for Justice. 

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