What we mean by “pro-liberation”: To get free we acknowledge that white supremacy, patriarchy and other systems of oppression and violence exist. We know that shared liberation requires us all to participate in our collective healing, and for our part, we strive to mitigate their oppressive effects while promoting and supporting each student we work with through our culturally appropriate, trauma-informed program. To learn more about our commitment, goals and outcomes towards equity, and how we’re holding ourselves accountable, click here to read our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy.
Why health equity is important to us
Systems of oppression jeopardize young people’s health. Young people of color, queer and trans young people, genderqueer young people and young women, young people from low-income socio-economic backgrounds or with different abilities, and especially those at the intersection of these identities often don’t get to access the health knowledge and resources that they need and deserve.
- Because of this, they experience worse health and life outcomes in many different ways.
- This isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. It endangers young people and threatens their futures, damages families and communities, and makes all of us less healthy and prosperous overall.
What we believe
Racial identity, socio-economic status/class, gender identity/genderqueer, or sexual orientation should not determine whether young people can make the choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life.
- We must engage partners (schools and health systems) to address persistent health disparities for the most vulnerable young people.
- Together, we must dismantle the systems of oppression that threaten young people’s health. As a part of that work, we support young people to empower themselves by making active, informed choices about their health.
- To change the system we have to mobilize people that mirror and show up for the young people and communities we serve who are most affected by this oppression.
- We unapologetically start with race because we know that the majority of the young people we serve are Black and/or Latinx. We also focus on a broader definition of Equity because we know that young people at the intersection of marginalized identities are most affected by oppression,
- We are committed to prioritizing the delivery of our program in under-resourced school districts over well-resourced ones.
- We strive to address the access gaps that these young people face through responsive, innovative, youth-informed health education and quality programming that confronts systemic oppression and incorporates social issues relevant to young people and their health.
- We strive to maintain an inclusive workplace and organizational culture where all staff feel supported.
- Internally, we are committed to addressing the ways that we perpetuate oppression. We do this by ensuring each staff member sets individual goals focused on promoting equity and/or health equity; through team dialogues/discussions and internal working groups; and a commitment to challenging ourselves to be more inclusive in our decision-making processes.
- We surround ourselves with partners who understand how systems of oppression impact the work we do – through education and understanding and/or through their lived experiences – and help to push our work forward. In this, we seek to redress injustice by putting resources (funding and staff capacity) towards it.
- We push ourselves to build stronger methods for listening to young people in various forms (including surveys, focus groups, and a youth advisory board). We know we need to better understand barriers and facilitators to health equity from the perspective of the youth we serve, particularly in our current socio-political climate.