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,
etc.

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

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