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.”