MLK Freedom Center Receives State Funding

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Participants in the statewide Youth and Civic Engagement Initiative learn how to organize community and encourage voter engagement. Photo courtesy of MLK Freedom Center.

The California statewide Youth And Family Civic En­gagement Initiative, a joint program of the Dolores Huerta Foundation in Bakersfield and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland, has received a three-year al­location in the California State budget, approved by both houses of the California Leg­islature and Governor Gavin Newsom.

The Initiative and its pro­grams are designed to in­crease civic engagement, par­ticipation and civics education among youth, their families and communities in 12 Califor­nia counties–Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Los An­geles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Tulare and Yolo. The organizations will receive $2 million per year over three years.

The Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative increases understanding of govern­ment and civic institutions and increases civic participation among low-income, disenfran­chised youth and their families in targeted regions throughout the state for the purpose of re­ducing racial and socio-eco­nomic disparities.

“We are grateful that the leg­islature and the Governor have made it possible to expand the Dolores Huerta Founda­tion and Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center’s Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative to reach more under­served youth throughout Cali­fornia, with a focus on youth engagement, youth empower­ment and leadership develop­ment using the philosophies of active non-violent movement building,” said Dolores Huerta. “The leadership training that the youth receive will be mag­nified tenfold as the youth take the lessons learned to address and resolve the many issues that they are confronted with in their respective communities”. Said Dr. Roy D.

Wilson, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center, “Thousands of young people throughout the state are searching for path­ways that will lead them into meaningful public service.

They know they have some­thing to learn, and they know they have much to contribute. The Initiative provides the skills and knowledge by which young people can navigate themselves onto the road of civic engagement where they can play an important role in developing programs of social uplift, and a stronger democ­racy.”

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