Register for Spring Training Now!

Saturday, April 7 | 10am-4pm
in Raleigh, NC (specific location shared once you register!)
Light breakfast and lunch provided
Open to high school students
Must register to attend:

Join the Youth Organizing Institute for our spring training! This is an opportunity for high school students to connect and build with each other, while developing shared political analysis and organizing skills.

This training’s theme is: What is Violence? What is Safety?

With the recent national conversations highlighting the impact of mass shootings in our schools and communities, we have seen thousands of high school students take action to address violence in our schools. We have also seen a lot of students raise concerns around other forms of violence in schools: unjust disciplinary policies (like out of school suspensions), sexist dress code policies, harassment or intimidation from police on campus and/or school resource officers, lack of support for trans and gender non-conforming students, and more.

In this training we hope to create space for students to talk more about the numerous forms of violence they face in their schools. We also hope to talk about what safety actually means for our communities, especially youth of color, LGBTQ youth, undocumented youth, disabled youth, and others who often feel unsafe in schools.

Come join us for vibrant discussion and popular education styled activities to break down violence and create the kind of safety we know we need!

If you have questions please contact us at


Petition to the General Assembly: School Safety Starts with Us!

Dear House Select Committee on School Safety and the NC General Assembly:

We the undersigned are students, parents, teachers, community members, and organizers concerned with the state of schools when it comes to questions of violence and safety.

We call upon this committee as well as the entire NC General Assembly to fully consider what school safety means for the most vulnerable among our communities. There have been many conversations over the last several weeks that have made mention of increasing police presence on campus or arming teachers and volunteers as a solution to violence and mass shootings.

It is imperative that our lawmakers seriously consider a definition of safety that does not invite more police or more punitive discipline policies onto our campuses or armed teachers.

In conversation with students across the state of North Carolina who have been tirelessly organizing to demand safer schools, these are the key words we’ve found that define safe schools for students and their communities: “trust”, “secure”, “free from fear”, “comfort”, and “peace.” Students we’ve talked to have also expressed how important it is for them to feel like they can exist as their whole selves in schools, without being scared that they are being judged because of their race, religion, or sexuality.

We believe that the solutions to safety concerns in our school communities are:

  • increased funding to teachers
  • more resources for school nurses, social workers, and counselors
  • support for culturally relevant curriculum
  • sustained funding for restorative justice programs and peer to peer mediation

These are just some examples among many other options to address school safety that are centered in student well-being, student experience, and the necessity that students learn, work, and play in an environment where they are not intimidated by police, school resource officers, or other figures of authority who are not trained to work with young people.

We look forward to the outcomes of the Wednesday, March 21 convening of this body. And will continue to organize our communities for the safe schools we deserve.

The House Select Committee on School Safety is composed of over 40 legislators. Your petition signature will be sent directly to these lawmakers.

Press Conference: End Violence in Our Schools!

* En Español abajo*

We invite students, parents and community members to come exercise their right and speak out against violence in schools. We will be holding a press conference outside the NC General Assembly on March 21, 2018 at 12pm.

On March 21, 2018, the House Select Committee on School Safety will be meeting to discuss School Safety in NC.

After the mass school shooting in Parkland, FL, everybody from individuals, to organizations, to legislators around the country have been advocating for better gun control, increasing school resource officer presence, and arming teachers. We do not believe that these are solutions to keeping our schools safe.

We believe that the solutions to safety concerns in our school communities are:
-increased funding to teachers
-more resources for school nurses, social workers, and counselors
-support for culturally relevant curriculum
-sustained funding for restorative justice programs and peer to peer mediation

Invitamos a estudiantes, padres y miembros comunitarios que vengan y ejerzan su derecho y hablen en contra de la violencia en nuestras escuelas. Tendremos una conferencia de prensa afuera de la Asamblea General el 21 de Marzo del 2018 a las 12pm.

El 21 de Marzo de 2018, el Comité Selecto de la Casa de Representante dedicado a Seguridad en las Escuelas se reunirá para discutir Seguridad en las Escuelas de Carolina del Norte.

Después del tiroteo escolar en Parkland, FL, individuos, organizaciones y legisladores en todo el país han abogado por mejor control de armas de fuego, incrementar policías en las escuelas y armar a lxs maestrxs. Nosotros no creemos que estas son soluciones para mantener nuestras escuelas seguras.

Creemos que las soluciones a nuestros problemas de seguridad en las escuelas son:

-Incrementar fondos educativos
-Mas recursos para enfermerxs escolares, trabajadorxs sociales, y consejerxs.
-Apoyo para currículo culturalmente relevante
-Fondos continuos para programas de justicia restaurativa y mediación entre iguales

National Walkout Day

Countless high schools and middle school students left their classroom, teachers, and work behind to stand in solidarity with the Parkland High shooting victims and activists on March 14th.

After the Walkout Planning Call, we gave out $100 gift cards to Triangle and Triad high school students planning walkouts.

On March 14th, YOI staff came to Martin Middle School’s walkout, organized by one of our Freedom School graduates, Cece.

Several of our NC Heat Fellows organized walkouts at their schools as well, including Eden at School of Science and Math in Durham and Jayla at Leesville High in Raleigh. You can read more about the latter here on the  school’s newspaper.

A few of the high school students who attended our Walkout Planning Call and received gift cards us sent us updates on their walkouts! Here’s what they had to say about their powerful, student-led actions.

Alex from East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte: “The East Meck walk out was certainly a day to be remembered on our campus. To our surprise, our entire cafeteria patio was filled with activists making their voices heard, to the point where it was difficult to move through the crowd. The energy present that day was indescribable- from the signs people were waving (sponsored by the YOI), to the fiery chants, to the impromptu speakers who touched everyone’s hearts with their passionate words. Our walk out made the front page of our school newspaper this quarter, continuing out message of standing up for what you believe in. I left the East Meck walk out feeling inspired. Inspired by my peers, my school district, and every other student in the United States that took a stand.

These photos were taken by East Meck yearbook photographer, Emily Robinson.”

Merel from Panther Creek High School in Cary: “Our school has about 2,700 kids and we had a large majority come in. We had teachers and school staff present to make sure everything ran smoothly. We had a moment of silence for the students in Parkland. Students from every grade level spoke about the issue of gun violence and what we as students can do to enforce change. It was very powerful seeing everyone in the school wearing orange and coming out to this event.”




Walkout Planning Call + Speakout at the School Board

Are you a middle or high school student planning a walk out at your school on March 14? Join us on this planning call! Hear from other students who have planned actions at their schools, get helpful tips regarding your rights, and learn how you or your student club can get $100 to support your efforts.

You can participate in the call via your phone or your computer.

Join from your computer:

Or Telephone: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
When prompted, enter the meeting ID: 569 741 917

Questions? Contact us!

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.

Read more from our solidarity statement: ‎

Join youth, students, and their families for a speak out at the Wake County Public Schools Board Meeting on Tuesday, March 6 against violence in our schools — from mass shootings to armed School Resource officers, exclusionary curriculum to underfunded counselors, and more.

Sign-up for public comment happens at NOON the day of the board meeting. Follow here:


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