On February 14, 2018, one of the largest school shootings in the US occurred in Florida, leaving 17 High School students and teachers dead at the hands of a 19 year-old white male shooter. We mourn for the lives lost, we hold the community of Parkland, Fl in our thoughts, and we stand in solidarity as the brave survivors fighting for safer schools. We support these students’ efforts in advocating for better gun control and putting an end to gun violence in schools.

We also believe it is important to broaden the conversation around what violence in schools looks like.

When a faculty member verbally abuses a student of color for not standing up for the national anthem, it is an act of violence. When a curriculum does not include the history of the Chicanx people in the US, it is an act of violence. When a school decides to ban Muslim prayer, it is an act of violence. When a young Black girl gets reprimanded for “having an attitude”, it is an act of violence. When a trans or gender non-conforming student is not allowed to use the bathroom of their chosen gender, it is an act of violence.

While these occurrences have become normalized in our schools, they are not normal. They are rooted in systems of racism, Islamophobia, sexism, and transphobia. Violence is our young people feeling unsafe in their classrooms because they are oppressed based on their race, perceived gender or sexual orientation, religion, disability, or more.

As the gun and school safety debate continues, our school systems are grappling with what is necessary to prevent future mass shootings. Some elected officials in North Carolina have even stated their support for arming teachers. We know that this cannot be a solution to gun violence. Others have discussed increasing the presence of police officers (also known as “School Resource Officers” or SROs). We know that this is cannot be a solution to gun violence.  

Continuing to escalate our classrooms toward more surveillance, toward a military state, and toward the normalization of youth of color and oppressed youth being brutalized by police officers is not the solution to gun violence or any other violence impacting our schools. We need to invest in funding our teachers, our school counselors and nurses; we need more money for restorative justice programs, not arresting youth and funneling them into prison cells; we need funding for extracurricular programs and to ensure that young people see themselves reflected in their classrooms.

We do not have all of the solutions to ending violence in our schools. But we do know that when students and youth, teachers, and parents organize together we can name, confront, and undo the physical, spiritual, and emotional violence of injustices. And that what we do together can be more powerful than what lawmakers and law enforcers, what politicians and cops can put in place.

We commend the students in Parkland, FL who have boldly proclaimed “never again” — in solidarity we echo their sentiments and say never again to white supremacy, homophobia and transphobia, anti-immigrant bigotry, islamophobia, or any other injustice harming and killing our young people.

In Solidarity,
Youth Organizing Institute

Post-HJonK Youth Gathering: Success!


After a successful HKonJ, YOI hosted a space for youth to come together and connect with other youth and their movements. YOI believes that Youth Centered spaces are crucial for youth to be able to voice their concerns, issues, and ideas without the judgement or, at times, overpowering voice of older movements and organizers. As YOI, we strive to develop youth leaders, and develop spaces for them to feel comfortable in their organizing experience.

We held space at Sitti Restaurant after marching with NAACP and dozens of Organizations at the annual HKonJ March in downtown Raleigh. Youth from across NC, from Asheville, to Charlotte, Winston Salem and the Triangle, joined us. During the Youth Gathering, students were able to mingle and relax, while connecting with other active youth in NC. Youth and students from 9 different organizations and 14 schools, came together and voiced their concerns in their communities and campuses.

Post-HKonJ Youth Gathering!


LOCATION: Sitti (137 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, North Carolina 27601)

RVSP on Facebook here!

NOTE: If you want to march with us, meet us at Nash Square (200 S McDowell St, Raleigh, NC 27601) at 8am.
After The HKonJ People’s Assembly, join a youth-only space to connect and organize! Tens of thousands of people attend the #MoralMarch every year, so it’s up to us to keep the momentum alive.
We’ll have food from Sitti, music, and drinks! Get warmed up after a long march and earn how to take action in your schools and in the streets.
Are you apart of a youth organization or organize as a youth or want to learn how? Share your work, strategize across movements, and learn new skills to take into 2018!
Get involved in youth-led movements! The people united will never be defeated!
This is a free event organized by the Youth Organizing Institute.
This space centers the voices and experiences of young people; we welcome all high school and college students and youth under the age of 30. Adult allies can come and caucus with one another.
Email with any questions or concerns.
¡Después de la Asamblea Popular de HKonJ, únanse a un espacio dirigido por los jóvenes para enlazar y organizar! Miles de personas atienden la #marchamoral cada año, así que es nuestro deber mantener el movimiento juvenil vivo!
¡Habrá comida de Sitti, música, y bebidas! Caliéntense después de una marcha larga y aprendan como tomar acción en sus escuelas y en su comunidad.
¿Eres parte de una organización juvenil? ¿Eres un organizador juvenil? ¿O quieres aprender a organizar? ¡Comparte tu trabajo, crea estrategias a través de movimientos, y aprende nuevas habilidades para el 2018!
¡Involúcrate en movimientos juveniles! ¡La gente unida, jamás será vencida!
Este es un evento gratuito organizado por el Youth Organizing Institute.
Este espacio está centrado en las voces y experiencias de la gente joven. Todxs lxs jóvenes de edad de secundaria/preparatoria y universidad, y jóvenes bajo la edad de 30 años son bienvenidxs. Adultxs aliadxs son bienvenidxs y pueden reunirse entre sí.
Si tienen preguntas o comentarios, pueden mandar mensaje a


Happy New Year!

Dear Community,

At the beginning of this year, we could only guess what new challenges and struggles a new presidency would give us. It would’ve been more daunting to prepare if it weren’t for your support. This was a year for rapid-response organizing, and for every call, youth activists and their allies showed up in solidarity. In North Carolina alone, youth activists rose up when DADCumented students were under attack, when a cop assaulted a Wake County student, and when white supremacists held rallies in our streets.

This year bought us our 5th Annual Teen Convening, 8th Annual Freedom School in Raleigh and Durham, National Week of Action 2017, 5th Annual Ella Baker Fundraiser, and the return of Queernival. We spent countless hours training, connecting, and building with young people locally and statewide. In order to support youth organizing year-round, we launched a brand-new program: the New Organizers Training Fellowship. This 6-month intensive for high school students cultivates their growing leadership development, political analysis, and mobilizing strategies to use as leaders in their schools.

The more we’ve grown, so has our community. We’re endless grateful to our indispensable supporters, volunteers, and community partners who provide the energy and resources to make this work sustainable. This year, we were lucky to welcome two new staff members, our Co-Director, Raul and Program Coordinator, Femi. As a small team of six staff, we want to thank everyone who continuously shows up to support youth liberation and freedom. 

In Solidarity,


P.S. We want to keep in touch! Ask a friend to sign up for our emails, donate to our end-of-the-year fundraising campaign, or message us on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you.

2017 Highlights:

Ella Baker Dance Party & Fundraiser 2017

Ella Baker Dance Party & Fundraiser 2017

Freedom School Field Trip 2017

Freedom School Field Trip 2017

Queernival 2017

Queernival 2017

SAVE THE DATE: Ella Baker End of Year Dance Party + Fundraiser!

Girls (2)

The Youth Organizing Institute is excited to host our 5TH ANNUAL ELLA BAKER FUNDRAISER! After the whirlwind we’ve had organizing in NC this year, we want this to be a chance to reconnect amongst community.

RVSP to the event on Facebook! 

There will be food, lots of dancing, and stunning youth performances. Music by DJ Gemynii! (Location: The Carrack!)

Join us if you’ve ever organized or volunteered with us, participated in Freedom School, or want to learn more and dance with us! We’ll be giving out awards to a youth activist, an adult ally, and a community group that have truly showed out this year. This will be an intergenerational space, prioritizing youth.

Tickets are sliding scale $1-100 but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Donate here:

Our annual Ella event is part of our year-end grassroots fundraising to support year-round work to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and kick cops out of schools. Our goal this year is to raise $2,000! Will you fight with us? Whether it’s $20 or $100, we need your support for transformative youth organizing in 2018!

This year, we launched one of our most ambitious efforts yet: a year-round leadership development Fellowship for high school students. The Young Organizers Fellowships builds upon our Freedom School curriculum to support young people in their next step towards organizing. The fellows will commit 100 hours over the next six months to learn skills to build their own campaigns. They’ll have the opportunity create real-time goals to mobilize in their communities, study different strategies to organize, and nurture collaborative relationships between youth. To support their efforts and trainings, donate today:

If you’d rather be more hands-on with us, we also really appreciate non-monetary support and in-kind donations. Sign up for our newsletter and/or volunteer opportunites here,

If you have any questions or would like to perform (poetry, music, dance, etc!) at this event, please contact



National Week of Action Against School Pushout
is an annual event in October for
communities to create national attention to issues like the School-To-Prison Pipeline, ICE/Cops in schools, accessibility, and more.

This year, we’re partnering with several other organizations to facilitate protests, screenings, and workshops right here in the Triangle. Read more about 2017 National Week of Action here.

The Class Divide Documentary Screening/Panel

  • Where: Vital Link Private Schools – 608 Royal St, Raleigh, NC, 27607
  • When: Thurs, Oct 26th, 2017 from 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Facebook Event Page

    Join Education Justice Alliance, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the NC Justice center for a screening of The Class Divide a part of the America Divided documentary series. A community conversation about racial disparity, addressing school pushout and common sense solutions to help parents and students will immediately follow the screening.

    Childcare, Food and Spanish Interpretation will be provided.

    Please contact Letha Muhammad at or Fernando Martinez at for any questions.

    Únase a nosotros en una conversación comunitaria sobre la disparidad racial, el abandono escolar forzado y soluciones de sentido común para ayudar a los estudiantes.

    Vamos a hacer una proyección de un documental, como parte de la Semana Nacional de Acción en Contra del Abandono Escolar Forzado, de Dignidad en Las Escuelas.

    – Proveeremos comida, cuidado de niños e Interpretación.

    Tiene pregunats? …por favor contacte a Letha Muhammad al email or a Fernando Martinez al email”

    Jail Demonstration

    • Where: Durham County Jail – 108 City Hall Plz, Durham, NC 27701
    • When: Fri, Oct 27th, 2017 at 6pm

    The Youth Organizing Institute is excited to co-sponsor a demonstration in front of the Durham County Jail with Inside-Outside Alliance, a local organization working to amplify the voices of Durham’s incarcerated population and their loved ones.

    The pervasiveness of the school-to-prison pipeline has led to the silencing, exploitation, and abuse of many young students of color who are moved through the “justice” system. North Carolina is the very last state to change the law that charges 16 and 17 years olds as adults, no matter the offense. But this change won’t go into effect for another two years. Many young people are still at risk, especially as they are being pushed out of schools by out-of-school suspensions, police officers, and a lack of resources.

    Most recently, the Durham County Jail has announced it’s replacing in-person visitation with video visitation, one of the few connections the prisoners have to the world outside.

    This National Week of Action Against School Pushout, we will be gathering outside the Durham County Jail to FIGHT THE LINK BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND PRISONS, BRING LIGHT TO ABUSE IN PRISONS, AND SHOW OUR SUPPORT FOR INCARCERATED YOUTH.

    School to Prison Pipeline Teach-in

    • Where: 304 E Trinity, Durham, NC 27701
    • When: Sat, Oct 28th, 2017 at 12-5pm
    • Facebook Event Page

    Join YOI at Queernival for a teach-in on the school to prison pipeline! Queernival is a free outdoor street fair that serves as a resource and safe celebration space for queer youth. There’ll be food trucks, booths, games, open mic, bouncy castle, and more! Join us at our booth to learn more the school-to-prison pipeline: what you can do at your school, how to educate others, and play a few games with us.

    Meet YOI’s New Co-Director!

    The Youth Organizing Institute is excited to announce that we have brought on Raul Jimenez as a co-director of the organization. Loan and Raul’s co-directorship comes after a process of deep reflection and evaluation to assess what kind of contributions are needed from YOI in this period to continue to build a movement for youth power and justice.

    In the past year, YOI has had the honor of supporting youth organizing for change in their schools and communities across a variety of issues. With each new repressive attack on our people, we gain a deeper understanding of precisely what is meant by the “new political moment.” From issues of school push out to police brutality, gentrification and targeted attacks on undocumented students, Muslim youth, LGBTQ young people, and all of our communities, we know that now more than ever, young people need to know that we’ve got their back. We must build strong organizations in order to do this.

    YOI is committed to practicing a culture of consultation and horizontal leadership development across our organization – all of which allow us to increase our ability to be nimble and responsive to the constant changes in the landscape. We see our transition into a co-directorship model as strengthening this dedication.

    YOI is excited to continue to explore what this co-directorship means for YOI’s work in consultation with our community, fellow staff, and young people we work with. Please read below some words from Raul and what he hopes to support as he enters the organization.

    RJ Bio Pic YOI 2017

    I am excited to join the Youth Organizing Institute as their new Co-Director. With YOI I’ll be working collaboratively with Loan (Co-Director) and organizers to fight against injustices in the NC Public School system, and injustice and oppression that affects youth across the Triangle.

    About me: I was born in Mexico, the child of migrant farmworkers, I moved to the US at the age of 6, and after living here 3 years, moved back to Mexico. I came back at the age of 12 and resided in Eastern NC until 2010. In 2010, I began working with the Youth Organizing Institute as a field organizer in Raleigh, NC and helped organize students into NC Heroes Emerging Among Teens (HEAT). While working for the YOI we fought against school “Re-Segregation” in Wake County, school push out and budget cuts to education. After working with the YOI, I began working with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO (FLOC). As a FLOC organizer I reached out to farm workers across North Carolina, working together to build union membership, improve living and working conditions, educate workers on labor rights, and ensure all farm workers a voice on the job. As a longtime activist, I have organized with several groups on different issues such as immigrant rights, worker’s rights, anti-racism, etc.

    As Co-Director of YOI I hope to achieve the following goals:

    + Strengthen current Base and grow our base by engaging schools and communities across
    the Triangle.
    + Engage in direct in school organizing, with the YOI Staff, in the Triangle and potentially
    expand this organizing to other communities and schools across NC.
    + Strengthen current Organizational relationships and partnerships and create new
    partnerships that will benefit and strengthen the programs run out of the YOI as well as
    the community and in school organizing.

    + Use existing organizing trainings and create new ones (if needed) to train staff and
    students and prepare them to organize their schools and communities.
    + Work with YOI Staff and community to create events that engage students and
    community and encourage them to participate in our programs as well as in the
    organizing being carried out in schools and communities across the triangle.
    + Work with staff, students and community to engage in solidarity actions across
    Movements of Liberation, i.e. Worker/Labor Organizing, BLM, Defend Durham, LGBTQ liberation,

    If you have any ideas, feedback, or just want to say congratulations to Raul, please send him an email at:


    The Young Organizers training fellowship is a mentorship program that emerged from Hero Emerging Amongst Teens (HEAT) which was founded in 2010. NC HEAT was a youth-led organization which utilized peer education and organizing campaigns to advocate for organize towards youth liberation. The training fellowship aims to continue nurturing that mission by investing in the leadership development of high school aged youth.

    The training fellowship is committed to providing approximately 100 hours of leadership development over the course of approximately six months through a popular education model entailing interactive workshops, luncheons, enrichment field trips, book readings, cinema, somatics, “artivism” etc.

    The curriculum is broken into seven sessions with the fellows spending about one month on each session with the last session entailing reflection and application in order to cultivate everything they have learned into a framework to continue their organizing and activist goals after the fellowship has ended. For the first six sessions, the curriculum is split between enrichment and self-study. That is, each session focuses on a specific organizing method paired with a theme revolving around self-evaluation to work on being the best forms of ourselves we can be. The fellows will participate in two or three engagements that compliment the topic of each session(readings, movies, trainings, art etc.)






    WoA 2017 Banner Yellow.preview

    Education is a Human Right!

    National Week of Action (Oct 21-29) is almost here!

    The Youth Organizing Institute is a member of the national coalition,
    Dignity In Schools Campaign. The DCS is made up of many organizations all over the
    country that working towards school safety for students of color, LGBTQ students, immigrant students, disabled students, and low-income and homeless students. National Week of Action is an annual event in October for
    communities to create national attention to issues like the School-To-Prison Pipeline, ICE/Cops in schools, accessibility, and more.

    We Will Not Give Up the Fight!

    YOI always want to support the work of young people
    and make their voices heard! We want to start a planning team to start
    planning events to happen during the week. In the past, as a partner with Dignity in Schools Campaign, we’ve held protests, forums, screenings, workshops, actions, and more! This year, we want to hear what YOU want to plan for your school and our community.


    Our 2017 National Week of Action Demands! DSC members and allies call on the federal government, states, districts, and schools to:

    Shift funding from school police to counselors, peace builders, and positive discipline.
    Fund and use transformative and restorative justice, mediation, and positive interventions.
    Stop arresting and pushing out students of color, LGBTQ youth, students that are homeless,
    and students with disabilities at higher rates. *Black students are pushed out at the highest
    rates nationally.)
    Make sure states and districts focus on school climate under the new federal law —
    the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
    End paddling and physical punishment in all schools.
    Invest in public education, not privatization and charter schools.

    Read more about 2017 National Week of Action.
    2017 National Week of Action Banner

    (Pay) Labor(ers) Day!


    Today, we honor unpaid and unprotected workers, teachers and childcare workers, farm workers and garment workers, blue and pink collars alike. We fight for safe work environments, union rights, $15/hr living wage, and universal healthcare. Whether or not you striked on May Day, whether or not you’re working today, resistance is not a one-time event or pre-designated holiday. Workers’ rights are people’s rights, immigrant rights, queer rights, women’s rights, and student rights. It is our individual resistance that fuels collective power and that makes a group of people into a community. This Labor Day, take some time for yourself so you can win again tomorrow. As we approach the new school year, we will offer many opportunities to stand with workers, teachers, students, and caregivers because #ItIsOurDutyToFight!



    On August 14th, following Charlottesville, Durham activists took back the city and tore down the confederate statue in front of the old courthouse. Days later, the KKK infiltrated our city to terrorize and immobilize those who are resisting white supremacy. But Durham showed up regardless with a thousand counter-protesters that kept the Klan at bay. These actions inspired countless other acts of resistance. To double the impact, keep up with #DefendDurham on Facebook.


    Thank you to TWF for hosting this eye-opening, imaginative conference for grant recipients! Third Wave Fund is an activist fund supporting “youth-led gender justice” and has consistently funded ground-breaking work in North Carolina. One of our organizers was able to connect with other grantees to talk about funding, and had this to say, “Third wave is a feminist, activist fund led by women of color and queer and trans people. Folks had time to talk and hear about what kind of work folks are doing, along with their wins and challenges. We were able to build with one another and get deep about the funding world!”

    S E P T E M B E R E V E N T S:

    September 5th, 2017. Documenting Movements: a Conversation on Walking the Line. “North Carolina activists are making history. We see the demonstrations go viral. The world is watching. Who’s holding the camera? What are the concerns for the safety of people in front of the lens and for those behind the camera? How do we tell different stories than the in-and-out mainstream media that descend for their soundbite? Can we show the backstory behind bold actions – the history, context and organizing that led to this moment? Is this journalism, alliance or something else altogether? How do storytellers build trust in these times?” 7pm at Beyu Cafe in Durham.

    September 6th, 2017. Pack the Court in Solidarity with Dwayne: #DefendDurham. “Dwayne’s first trial appearance is Wednesday, September 6 at 9am. Let’s keep the pressure on and deliver a strong show of love and solidarity.

    In a cascade of arrests of anti-racist organizers in Durham, North Carolina since the Confederate statue in Durham was toppled, Dwayne is the latest to be targeted. Please try to arrive by 8:45 so we can be present in the courtroom when his trial begins at 9am.” 8:45am at Durham County Courthouse on Dillard.

    September 9th, 2017. Outdoor Documentary: The Rise and The Fall of Liberty. “*Food and drink begin at 7PM, screening begins at 8:15PM when the sun goes down! When developers in Durham, NC, demolish an iconic tobacco auction house in the name of revitalization, they not only displace a community of artists, they also threaten the soul of the community. “The Rise and Fall of Liberty” examines the ebb and flow of Liberty Warehouse’s 80-year lifespan, draws parallels with the evolution of downtown Durham, and reveals the often touching, interdependent relationship between the two. It also raises key questions about the tension between the drive for progress and the character of the city. RT: 52 minutes.” 7pm at Durham Athletic Park.

    September 15th, 2017. NC Trans Pride. “This year’s theme is “Centering Care and Unlearning Oppression”. Trans organizers from across the state are teaming up with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the LGBTQ Faculty/Staff Caucus at UNCC to bring you this year’s NC Trans Pride!

    We invite you to join us for a day of amazing vendors, speakers, workshops and skillshares centering trans resiliency and resistance!” UNC Charlotte Center City.

    September 21st, 2017. Tejana Por Vida (supporting Durham Prison Books). “Mamis & the Papis is a collective of womxn, femmes and tender hearted folx who are excited to share with you the music of our hearts and people. We welcome everyone–queer, trans, gnc folx– to come revel in the music and sip on some delicious beverages.

    $5 door fee goes to a rotating community, grass roots organization. This month’s door proceeds will go toward Durham Prison Books.” 8pm in Arcana in Durham.

    September 29th, 2017. Rainbow Bull Bash (a party for queer youth ages 13-19). “A party for queer youth ages 13-19. Come join us in dancing the night away to live music, crafting, snacking, and playing board games.” 6pm at the LGBTQ Center of Durham.