The Akonadi Foundation in Oakland has announced the launch of a five-year, $12.5 million initiative aimed at ending the criminalization of African-American youth and youth of color in the Bay Area.
The All In for Oakland initiative will partner with movement organizations led by people of color as well as base-building, organizing, and policy advocacy groups to dismantle systems of punishment and criminalization that are harming youth of color in Oakland, and reinvest the freed-up resources in community-based alternatives, including youth development initiatives. Initial grant partners include the Black Organizing Project, East Bay Community Law Center, Flourish Agenda, Haywood Burns Institute, Forward Change, Urban Peace Movement, Young Women’s Freedom Center, Youth Law Center, Dignity in Schools Campaign California, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, and Justice Reinvestment Coalition.
According to the foundation, African-American youth made up 26 percent of the Oakland Unified School District's enrollment in 2016 but represented 73 percent of arrests in the city, while the vast majority of the young people detained at Alameda County's two youth confinement facilities in 2020 are young people of color.
"Our job as funders is to support the movement leaders who have the courage and vision to radically imagine what safety looks like for our young people," said Akonadi Foundation president Lateefah Simon. "This movement is vibrant and ready. We must invest for the long haul in the leaders and organizations that are making Oakland a racially just city where Black youth and youth of color can live healthy, free, and full lives."
(Photo credit: Amir Aziz)