In the midst of a new wave of activism calling for transformative, systemic change that affirms Black lives and radically reimagines community-centered public safety, People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network (YEO), recently released its latest online resource, “Black Lives & American Policing,” to advance solutions to police violence against Black Americans.
The online resource includes links to policies introduced and/or passed by YEOs around the country, links to partner resources, readings on anti-racism, examples of community action, a list of upcoming events, as well as tips for self-care.
The “Black Lives & American Policing” features the outstanding work of YEOs including St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Minneapolis Councilman Jeremiah Ellison, and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth of Hyattsville, Maryland, who recently outlined 35 racial-equity policy goals for her city that funds healing circles for Black people and includes provisions to explicitly address the effects of systemic racism for Black people.
“YEO Network stands in solidarity with the movement for Black lives and has long supported our members — including the members of our YEO Black Caucus — to advance solutions to police violence in Black communities,” said Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York, and Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Youth Leadership Program. “At such an important moment in our history and an equally critical moment for change, our members are telling their stories to support their work on behalf of all the people in their communities for whom justice is long overdue.”
The YEO Network includes more than 1,300 members and alumni across the country, serving their communities and fighting for progressive values in offices ranging from local school boards to the United States Congress. Its membership is 39 percent women, 78 percent people of color, and 14 percent LGBTQ. Program members and alumni include Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, former HUD secretary Julián Castro and Congressman Joaquin Castro, and former Georgia state legislator and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.
YEO is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Because of the coronavirus, the Network has postponed its 15th Annual National Convening, which was scheduled in Atlanta for late April. Throughout this anniversary year, YEO is creating virtual, social distance-friendly ways for members to share information, learn and engage, while also planning contingencies for other 2020 programming, including Regional YEO Mixers, a 2020 Women’s Fellowship, a special Policy Academy, and its Front Line Leaders Academy, a six-month training program for aspiring community leaders. In June, YEO announced the recipients of theYEO Network’s “35 Under 35” award to honor passionate progressives currently holding office who are dedicated to building freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.